Easy Chocolates & New Years Dessert

I learned how to make fantastic chocolates from my Grandma. She made over 500 lb. boxes every holiday. Unfortunately, with a lot of kids, it's pretty hard to make a good batch of fondant. So, here are my favorite "cheating" recipes that still taste great. My favorite chocolate for dipping candies is 1 part Guittard Signature Chocolate mixed with 1 part Guittard Burgundy chocolate. Wilbur Chocolate is also good. Just don't use candy melts--they're great for molded candies because they harden well but terrible for chocolates. The caramels and jellies you don't have to dip, you can wrap in wax paper or roll in powdered sugar. Have fun!

Here's the chocoalte extravaganza that the girls and I made for our New Year's dinner tonight. (we used the recipe for Icicle Candy and wrapped it around wooden spoon handles to look like confetti, drew some white chocolate 2008 decorations, and added chocolates on top).

BJ Caramels
2 C sugar
1 1/3 C corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Mix 2 C. cream and 1/2 C. milk
Add 1 c. of cream mix to sugar and bring to boil. Simmer on medium low for 25 min. Add 1/2 of remaining mixture and simmer on medium low for 25 min. Add remaining cream mix and bring to 237degrees or soft ball. Pour into greased pan and cool. When adding cream turn heat up so mixture is always boiling.

2 c. jam
2 c. sugar
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/3 c. water
Dissolve gelatin in water. Blend jam and sugar. Mix and boil 2-3 minutes. Pour in greased pan. Cut into squares or other shapes. Roll in powdered sugar or dip in chocolate.

1 ½ lbs. high quality chocolate (any kind)
1 c. cream
Scald cream. Let cool to at least 130 degrees. Melt chocolate and place in bowl with whisk attachment. Add cream and beat. Add flavoring oil if desired (a couple drops). Pour in prepared pan and cool. Roll into balls and dip with desired chocolate. (This Christmas, I made peppermint truffles and dipped them in white chocolate w/ red and green candy pieces on top).

Almond Dreams Recipe--my husband's all-time favorite
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. softened butter
4 1/3 c. powdered sugar
chopped roasted almonds as desired (at least 1 cup)

Warm condensed milk can in hot water for a few minutes. Mix all, freeze in greased 9 x 13 pan. cut into squares and dip in chocolate while frozen. (they become very soft and gooey when thawed). Make sure the entire square is covered in chocolate or it will ooze out.