December 27, 2010

sweets for the new year

As I watch the newly fallen foot of snow blow wildly across the yard, I'm packaging up a couple of different filled chocolates to help ring in the new year. This year's fare was kept simple: balsamic, fig & port wine conserves folded into a dark chocolate ganache dipped in bittersweet chocolate, & a blackstrap molasses caramel enrobed in dark chocolate with a smattering of French sea salt. The packaging was simple as well: deli style kraft paper boxes & chinese takeout containers, tied up with twine & wrapped in a simple white band.

May your year be sweet!

blackstrap molasses caramels
adapted from an 1881 (no kidding) recipe from the New York Times, enigmatically signed "Fanny"

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
5 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
1 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 tsp French sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

butter an 8x8 baking dish & set aside. combine the butter, chocolate, milk, molasses & sugar in a pan & cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 248º on a candy thermometer, stirring frequently so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. this took at least 40 minutes for me - slow is the way to go.

wearing an oven mitt so you don't get spattered with hot caramel, remove the pan from heat & add the vanilla to the hot mixture. give it a quick mix, then pour it into the buttered baking dish.

after they had cooled to room temperature, I cut it into small squares with a warm, sharp knife. since I planned to dip the caramels in chocolate, I put them back in an airtight container in a cool spot until ready to dunk, nicely separated on wax paper since they are extremely sticky little buggers that cement themselves to their neighbors given half a chance. after dipping in bittersweet chocolate, sprinkle  with a tad of sea salt - I find the saltiness to be a fantastic counterpoint to the sweet molasses, giving it a deep licorice-y character.


  1. So lovely and such good ingredients .....

    I used a pic from your blog on my "What Made You Happy Today" site !!!

  2. Oh, Mandy, thanks so much - that made ME happy today!!


  3. How sweet indeed :> Wishing you the best in 2011!!!

  4. Both photos look wonderful and inspiring.
    I wish I have one of those blackstrap molasses caramels:)
    Happy New Year!

  5. Tera, the very best & sweetest to you!

    Thanks much, Olga - they are so easy to make, & from what I see on your blog, you could make anything you set your mind to, & beautifully! Your paintings are wonderful - so glad you introduced yourself :)

    Happy 2011!


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