Beaches|Life
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Food Talk – The Perfect Holiday Gift – Friends, Teamwork & Choice

In today’s internet inspired world, most communication is done through email and text messaging – even talking on the phone has taken a back seat.But during the holiday season,the gathering of friends and family continues to be strong.Why not enjoy your time together making something that is fun and creative –a candy buffet.

If you are having a party, instead of having people give gifts, ask them to bring candies to add to the buffet, or even better, have a few close friends over to help make the candy. This is a four step process.

Step one: make the candy
Step two: decorate the boxes
Step three: set-up the buffet
Step four: enjoy all of the treats.

If you have never made candy before you will need three items: a double boiler, candy thermometer and parchment paper. Of course there are other things, but don’t even start without these three. It is easiest if your host agrees to provide the preparation items and then the participants bring the ingredients.Boiling sugar is not for children, but you can involve them with decorating the containers for your guests to fill with candy. A nice ‘quirky’ box is a Chinese take-out food container with the wire handle on top. By adding some ribbon, felt, and coloured beads make these into nice holiday candy boxes.Once you have your boxes and a variety of candies made, display them and let your guests fill their decorated boxes with their favourite treats. This will leave a lasting memory,as well as, give your guests a tasty treat to take home with them.

Chocolate Almond Bark

Makes 1½ pounds

Ingredients:

1 cup whole cooked almonds (or any nut)
16 ounces white chocolate pieces(substitute with dark or milk chocolate)

Method:

  • Heat chocolate over low heat in a double boiler until melted.
  • Do not overheat.
  • Stir in nuts.
  • Spread candy on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Refrigerate.

Cashew Brittle

Makes about 2 pounds

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
3 cups cashews (use salted cashews for a nice salty/sweet treat)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
  • Bring to a boil; blend in butter.
  • Begin to stir frequently when syrup reaches the thread stage, about 230°F.
  • When temperature is 280°F, or soft-crack stage, add cashews.
  • Stir constantly until hard-crack stage, 300°F, is reached.
  • Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda.
  • Mix well.
  • Pour onto two buttered baking sheets or jelly roll-size baking pans.
  • As the candy cools, stretch it out thinner by lifting and pulling at edges with forks.
  • Loosen from the pans as soon as possible and turn over.
  • Break hardened candy up.