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Monday, August 29, 2011

Ganduja & Caramel Candy Bars

Welcome to a new week everyone!  I hope that everyone is safe and sound from this weekends East Coast hurricane.  I am currently still in Buffalo, since my return flight to New York was cancelled yesterday.  That's okay though, it means I get to spend an extra day with my family and the puppies.  The crazy, lunatic puppies. 

They are currently running around the kitchen with me.  Busy romping around, playing with toys and biting each other.  Generally with one puppy you get used to keeping all of your precious things a few feet off of the ground.  This keeps them from geting little teeth marks all over them.  With two puppies, you have to keep up with the nibbling on things and a constant puppy fight.

These puppies are totally spoiled, with more toys than I had when I was little.  There are even doubles of all the toys, so that they can each have their own.  The problem?  You guessed it.  One puppy wants what the other one has.  They will even taunt each other with toys.  One puppy walking up to the other an waving her toy around until the second puppy leaps at it.  Then it's an all-out puppy war over the toy, then the toy is forgotten and they just bite each other.  Puppy war!

According to the vet, they're just like little kids.  Unless one of them comes to you bleeding, they're just fine.

Kitchen Sink Bars
Adapted from Chocolates and Confections

I had fun making these in my parents kitchen, searching around for everything that I needed.  It's so different cooking in someone elses kitchen, nothing is where you keep it!  I made these ove the course of two days, allowing the caramel to cool and set overnight.  These were called a "definite keeper" and compared to a Take 5 bar.  I found it easiest to weigh out to ingredients for the caramel, so I included weights for the ingredients.

Caramel layer
1 cup peanuts
2 1/2 cup thin pretzel sticks, broken up
2 oz (1/4 cup) water
8 oz (1 cup) sugar
7 oz (1/2 cup) sweetened condensed milk
6 oz (1/2 cup) light corn syrup
6 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Peanut butter layer
8 oz (3/4 cup) creamy peanut butter
1 lb (1 1/2 cups) milk chocolate chips

2 lb chocolate, for coating

Coat a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray, line it with plastic wrap, then coat again with cooking spray.  Add peanuts and pretzels to the pan, spreading out evenly over the bottom.

Combine water, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and butter in a pan.  Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 240.  Have a cup of ice water available.  Dip a spoon in the caramel pot and plunge into the ice water.  Once cooled, test the caramel for texture.  If you think it is too soft, cook caramel to 245.  The caramel should be firm, but not hard.

Pour caramel into the baking pan, over the pretzels and peanuts.  Allow this to harden for at least an hour (I left it overnight).

Measure peanut butter out into a bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water.  Stir until the peanut butter melts then add in chocolate chips.  Stir until the chips melt then pour over the caramel layer.  Place this in the fridge for 1 hour, or freezer for 15 minutes, to set up this layer.

Temper chocolate to be used for enrobing candy bars.  Take 2/3 of the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler (bowl over simmering pot of water), you want it to reach a temperature of 113.  Slowly add the remaining 1/3 cup of chocolate to the melted until the temperature reaches 80.  Put the chocolate back over the simmering water until it reaches a working temperature of 86.

Pour a bout 1/4 cup of chocolate over the slab of candy and smooth out.  Allow this to cool until the chocolate is set.  Remove the slab of candy from the baking pan and place caramel-side down.  Cut into 1-inch slices, then cut each in half.  You should come out with 26 candy bars.  Place the candy bars on a cooling rack, caramel-side up.  Pour tempered chocolate over the bars and allow to cool and set.  Enjoy your candy bars, they are crazy delicious!
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