Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Santa's Kitchen: Fudge and White Bark Balls

One of the things I did last week was make sweets for all the people I see at the holidays. I made peppermint bark and peanut brittle as I have in the past, but this year I realized that the time it takes to make chocolate truffles was a deal breaker. Plus Phineas had a cold, and it is a two man job.  So, I replaced the truffles with two much simpler sweets - Chocolate Fudge and White Bark Balls.

At this point, I need to come clean: these recipes are not the norm for me. I like things unprocessed and non-packaged. And my cooking/baking can be a bit fussy - it's a hobby and I love a challenge. So, I readily admit that I am a snob when it comes to what I make in my kitchen and what I put in my body. I definitely broke some rules with these two recipes. Anyway, here we go:

Chocolate Fudge and White Bark Balls

Chocolate fudge is definitely a relative of the chocolate truffle - rich and chocolaty, very very decadent. And yet, this recipe was maddeningly easy. If you've ever tried making fudge at home, you know that it usually involves a candy thermometer, waiting and lots of anxiety. Even when things seemingly go smoothly, sometimes the fudge doesn't set and you are left with a sludgy mess that - if you are lucky - you can pass off as fudge sauce. Not so with the aptly named "Absurdly Easy Chocolate Fudge" recipe that I ripped out of the NY Times last March.

The two keys to making a great fudge with this recipe are Sweetened Condensed Milk and good quality chocolate. Now, I realize that Sweetened Condensed Milk comes in a can. But I am not going to be judgy about it. It's the glue that holds this recipe together. And, I used really good quality chocolate, which makes all the difference. All you have to do is melt the chocolate (you can even do it in the microwave) with the other ingredients and dump it all into a lined pan. The fridge handles the rest.

Next, the White Bark Balls: these are basically a peanut butter Rice Krispy Treat. I used butter rather than margarine and opted for a "Natural" style peanut butter (see, total snob). But there is just no substitute for Rice Krispies - I'm not even sure what they are made of. So the only hope for using up the box of Rice Krispies that I now have in the kitchen is to make more of these - and I like this idea very much. Like the fudge, this recipe from the NY Times was ridiculously easy - just mix all the ingredients together and form balls. After a short chill, dip them in melted white chocolate. Voila!

Anyway, if you have ever wanted to dabble in homemade confections, these two recipes are winners and would be a great way to get you started. No candy thermometer necessary! I swear. But it could get you thinking about all the things you could make if you had one...


The Slapdash Sewist said...

Peanut butter rice crispie treats is something I can get behind (though I abhor white chocolate). I'm going to have to try those.

Clio said...

I was thinking that they would be equally good coated in dark chocolate...