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the urban baker: VALENTINE'S

the urban baker

The Urban Baker is deliciously photographed blog about nourishing your family's soul through life in the kitchen. The recipes for fabulous savories and sweets are easily replicated and will inspire you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Valentine's day is just another excuse to mess up the kitchen.  As I am always baking, this year, I wanted to do some candy.  A year ago, I got into candy.  I invested in a tempering machine, I have been collecting molds and buying the best ingredients I can find.  I love candy!  I can name every piece of candy, with my eyes closed, at Sees.  Anything with a caramel inside of it is the one for me!

My friend Lisa and I both share a lot of the same passions; photography, baking, creating beautiful things on the computer and she and I love to get together and do all the things that we love.  Lisa has been creating and selling these pretzels for the past year.  When I decided I wanted to make candy for valentine's gifts, she had to be a part of it.  It was a perfect rainy weekend for she and I to pawn our kids off on our husbands and get lost in my kitchen!

I know, I said candy.  But a holiday (or any day of the week) wouldn't be a holiday with out something festive made out of butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, etc!  I made these for the 5th grade bake sale.  Packaged them all separately and they looked real purrty!

I told you I love caramels.  We used Lisa's recipe for caramels.  OMG!  That's all I can say.  We made several batches of caramel and only chocolate covered a few.  Big mistake!  We couldn't part with these particular candies.  We divided them up amongst us and mine are hidden in a very safe place where my kids will not be able to find them.  I eat one a day.  May need to make some more.  

These are the scraps left over from the carmallows (see below).  Couldn't let the anything go to waste.  When you make something in a slab and then you cut it into shapes there is so much waste.  Got to come up with a good solution for this.  Will keep thinking...

Peppermint Patties.  I have made these before and they are super easy.  I used the recipe from Gourmet Magazine Dec 07.  They are really good, however next time I would cut them a little thicker.  

My kids love "Scotchmallows" from Sees.  They are kind of the perfect candy.  Caramel, marshmallow, dark chocolate.  What could be bad??!!  MS Magazine had these in the Decemeber 08 issue and I just needed an excuse to do it.  Valentine's was the perfect excuse.  I liked this caramel recipe however didn't love it.  I also didn't really like this particular marshmallow recipe.  Next time (sooner rather than later), I will use Lisa's caramel recipe and an old marshmallow recipe, that I always use, which is from epicurious. com.  I am not complaining about them( i ate at least 5), they were good, but I know they can be better.

I had some left over homemade marshmallows in the freezer.  I also had some marcona almonds (salted).  I had extra tempered bitter chocolate so decided to make some rocky road.  Another all time favorite treat.
Yet, forgot to photograph the final product.  Not surprising that I forgot.  I am amazed that I remember to pick Levi up from pre-school most days!

Here are those luxurios caramels I was speaking about.  These are made with honey.  Have perused some recipes on the internet and few caramel recipes have honey in them ( Carole Bloome uses honey in hers-I like her books).  Sprinkled a little fleur de sal on the top.  Mmm Mmm good!

Wrapped up and ready to package

The perils of tempering!

I gave out about 15 boxes to teachers, friends and the kids Nana's.  The rest went to the 5th grade bake sale.  They were sold before they left my house.  Got lots of emails asking what I was contributing to the bake sale...made a few enemies (those who didn't get their order in on time).  Next time I will plan better.

Have a great Valentine's day!



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