Magazine article Sunset

Candy-Clad Whimsies

Magazine article Sunset

Candy-Clad Whimsies

Article excerpt

At Napa Valley Chocolates in St. Helena, California, Candy Dreyer delights in creating special holiday sweets, often with a touch of humor that brings out the smiles. Favorites with her customers are these marshmallow snowmen, and chocolate-dipped peppermint canes.

Top hatted snowmen

PREP AND COOK TIME: 30 minutes NOTES: Buy candy designed to melt for coating or dipping; it's usually found beside cooking chocolates at the supermarket. For easy dipping, melt more than needed to coat the marshmallows; save the extra for other uses. Candies suited for decorations (whole or cut in pieces) include orange, green, or red gumdrops, black licorice sticks or thin black licorice whips (or strings), small colored candies, miniature chocolate chips, and colored sugars.

To make a drying rack for snowmen, cut top flaps from a corrugated cardboard box, leaving a neat edge. Make holes in the corrugated edge by pushing a craft or lollipop stick into the edge at 4-inch intervals. Place a couple of food cans (3 to 4 lb. total) in the box so it will sit steady. Push snowman-filled sticks into prepared holes to hold confections vertically while candy firms.

MAKES: 6 marshmallow snowmen Candies for decorating (see notes) or dried currants

1 cup (6 oz.) chopped red, green, or brown candy chips or chunks made for melted coatings (see notes)

18 marshmallows (1 in. wide)

6 wood craft sticks (3/z in.) or cardboard lollipop sticks (8 in.)

2 cups (12 oz.) chopped white candy chips or chunks made for melted coatings (see notes)

1 to 2 teaspoons solid shortening (optional)

6 cellophane bags (4 by 8 in.)

Red or green ribbons (% in. wide)

1. Assemble candies for decorating by colors. If desired, cut orange gumdrops into slender wedges for carrot-shaped noses, green gumdrops into leaves, red gumdrops into berries, licorice sticks into twiglike arms.

2. To make bats, heat chopped red (or green or brown) candy chips in a 1-cup glass measure or small, deep microwavesafe bowl in a microwave oven at 50% power until chips are soft, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir candy until smooth; if lumpy, heat in a microwave oven for 20-second intervals, stirring frequently.

3. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking paper, cooking parchment, or waxed paper. Set 6 marshmallows, flat side down, at least 2 inches apart on paper. Spoon about 1 tablespoon melted red (or color of choice) candy onto the center of I marshmallow top and quickly, using a small metal spatula or dinner knife, spread candy over top and around side of marshmallow; spread excess that flows onto paper into a 1/2.inch-wide rim for the hat. Add more melted candy, as needed, to make brim even. If desired, while candy is still soft, decorate hat with gumdrops cut to resemble leaves and berries (see notes). Repeat to make remaining hats. Chill hats, uncovered, until firm to touch, about 10 minutes.

4. To make snowmen. line another 12by 15-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking paper, baking parchment, or waxed paper. Dip 1 craft stick about 3 inches into water. Slide through the center of a flat end of 1 marshmallow, then into, but not through, a second marshmallow, pushing them together. Repeat to make remaining snowmen; lay on the baking sheet.

5. In a 2-cup glass measure or small, deep microwave-safe bowl, heat chopped white candy chips in a microwave oven at 50% power until chips are soft, about 2 minutes. …

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