Monday, December 09, 2013

12 Days of Home for the Holidays Welcomes Catherine Scanlon!

 Catherine Scanlon

Traditions: They Just Sort of Happen!

It’s funny how traditions get started. When I was a kid my Mom always made a special cookie (Cherry Winks) only at Christmas time. In my 46 years she has NEVER made them at any other time of the year. Even when my brother was sick with pneumonia and they were his favorite cookies she didn't make them. But, come December she makes 3 or 4 batches and we all go crazy over them. That was a tradition she started for our family. I’m sure if I asked her she could tell me stories of traditions her Mother started when she was a kid. Honestly, I’ve never really thought about starting traditions but I really think they just happen.

A few years ago when my brother’s and I started having kids we decided to exchange gifts just for the kids. While that was not something I advocated for, it just made sense since we were all raising our families on limited budgets and we lived away and shipping large boxes got to be pretty expensive.

To “get” around that new “rule” one year I made 10 batches of nut brittle and gave everyone in my family and all my close friends a fancy tin I decorated and filled with the brittle. It was a HUGE hit, and the next year I made brittle AND walnut syrup to put on ice cream. The year after that it was brittle, syrup and some chocolates.

Well you know how that goes – before I knew it I was in full candy making mode every December. It really makes me happy to spend my time making custom confections for my family. My brother especially appreciates the candy as he has everything he could ever want and the time that I spend making exactly what he loves means more to him than a store bought gift that he probably already has.

Fast forward 10 or so years and I’ve roped a friend into "Catherine + Kelley's Annual December Candy Frenzy” where we meet and make 5 or 6 different types of candy in ONE day. (You can see the recipes we pinned to choose from last year on my Pinterest board here: Candy Love.

This year, I thought it would be fun to share one of my truffle recipes with you – they are super easy to make and taste delicious and get you on the road to starting a new tradition!


Bailey’s Irish Cream Truffles

1 pkg. Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
½ cup Whipping or Whole Cream
1 tablespoons Butter
1 Package Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee – about 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream (substitute Vanilla if you prefer not to use alcohol)
  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a double boiler and let melt together. When melted, stir to combine and remove from the heat.
  • Mix in the Bailey’s Irish Cream (or vanilla) and pour in a glass pan to cool. It’s usually cold here in Maine so I put the pan outside on the porch. I don’t like to cover it with foil or plastic because that retains heat and causes condensation so I open the cover to the grill and put it inside with the cover down for a couple of hours. You can also use the freezer but I have a tendency to forget it there and it’s too hard when I need it.
  • When the chocolate mixture is cool, form the mixture into small 1” or so balls. It’s a good idea to use plastic gloves so your hands don’t get covered in chocolate. The smaller the balls the more you get, but if they are too small it's a pain to dip them in melted chocolate. I recommend you experiment and also this is a good opportunity to sample the goods.
  • Place the balls back outside (or in the refrigerator) to cool.
  • At this point, you can roll the balls in cocoa, confectionary sugar, fancy sugar, coconut, chopped nuts or anything you want to coat them with. I usually dip them in melted chocolate and add a fancy decoration to the top. I have the best luck using Wilton Candy Melts for the chocolate coating.
  • When the chocolate are cool, package them in fancy metal tins and create a fancy tag and you’ve got a beautiful, hand-made gift that any chocolate lover will go crazy over.
 A couple of notes:
 ·      I usually do NOT double or triple the batch. Chocolate is finicky and can bolt pretty easy. Making individual batches give you the opportunity to have a TON of flavoring choices that look super cool when you put 2 or 3 of each flavor in the tin.

·      When thinking about the flavors I use a different decoration on the top of each flavor to tell them apart. White nonpareils for mint, a candy snowflake for another flavor, a nut for peanut butter -- you get the picture. I like to have a little helper to add the decoration so I can dip all the truffles before the chocolate melt gets to cool to work with. Plus, my son feels like he has contributed to the Annual Truffle Extravaganza and earns a few licks of the dipping spoon when we're done.

·      If the cooled balls are too cold when you dip them in the melted chocolate the cooled coating has a tendency to have a big crack. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as I'm sorting and rating (perfect ones go my Dad and husband, imperfect and ugly ones go to work with my husband) but something to keep in mind if you like them to look perfect.

·      If using Candy Melts to coat the cooled truffles, DO NOT CONTAMINATE the melted chocolate with water. Make sure to dry the double boiler COMPLETELY before you start melting because even a few drops will ruin the batch! You will end up with a double boiler full of messed up separated chocolate that isn’t suitable for coating your fancy candies with. White and colored Candy Melts are HARD to work with. I try to stick with the milk or dark chocolate – and sometimes venture into white melts. The dyes in the colored (red, pink, green, blue etc.) melts kind of gross me out so I never ever use any of the colored Candy Melts.

Thanks for following along with my Christmas tradition – I hope that you are inspired to make candies or fancy chocolates and add them to your Holidays…the chocolate lovers in your life will be happy you did!

You can also find me here:

http://tabithasafdi.com/blog/

Photo Tip of the Day
I love this tips. Sometimes when I get flustered or depressed that I’m not getting any good photos I always switch it up and change my angle. For photos of children try getting down on a their level. The more creative you get with this tip the better photos for sure!

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Happy Holidays!

59 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful post. thanks for sharing that recipe!

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  2. Those look and sound delicious!!

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  3. I follow Cahterine on Instagram

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  4. I follow Catherine on Twitter

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  5. I follow Catherine on Pinterest

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  6. What a wonderful tradition homemade chocolate! I never done candy but this recipe look like one I may try. Thank you and happy Christmas!

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  7. Those truffles look delicious! We always make Hershey Kiss pretzel treats. Made our first batches just yesterday. :)

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  8. your truffle recipe looks delicious. fun holiday memories... i agree i think at least in our house many of the traditions just happen

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  9. following on pinterest

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  10. Such pretty truffles! And I've enjoyed the photo tip - was a good reminder today!

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  11. This recipe sounds DELICIOUS! I will be making these this year for my family! It is so nice to read a little bit about these designers! Having fun on this journey! TFS!

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  12. I am now following Catherine's blog so I can get more of her yummy recipes!

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  13. I am following Catherine on FB!

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  14. I commented on Tabitha's 11-18 blog post thanking her for all of her helpful tips!

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  15. I am following Catherine on Pinterest!

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  16. I am following Catherine on Twitter!

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  17. I am following Catherine on Instagram!

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  18. I like Buttons Galore and More on Facebook and left them some love!

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  19. I like Stampington & Company on FB and left them some love!

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  20. I follow Hydrangea Hippo on FB and left them some love!

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  21. I follow X-acto/Elmers on Fb and left them some love!

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  22. I am a long time follower of Core'dinations on FB and left them some love!

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  23. I like Darkroom Door on FB and left them some love!

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  24. I follow Blue Fern Studios on FB and left them some love!

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  25. I follow May Arts on Fb and left them some love!

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  26. I have followed Graphic 45 on Facebook forever and I left them some love!

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  27. Anonymous9:55 AM

    :) I have grown up on Cherry Winks, too! Merry Christmas... :) Becky J abcjones@comcast.net

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  28. Becky J -- you are the first person I have ever "met" outside of my family that knows that a Cherry Wink is :-D

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  29. What a yummy tradition, TFS

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  30. you do it once and it becomes a tradition, right!! sounds wonderful!!!

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  31. Mmmmmm, this recipe sounds delicious. I think that I will try it this year. I will follow Catherine on facebook.

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  32. Love the recipe, going to try that one this year!!

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  33. For many years my daughter and I would make batches and batches of cookies at Christmas. We seldom made cookies at any other time of the year. We looked forward to the sour cream cookies the most. My husband wanted the peanut butter ones. Times change and we don't do that any more. Really miss it. Glad you are carrying on the tradition.

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  34. I left a comment on Tabitha's blog. It is an older posting so I hope it will count. thanks.

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  35. Gloria L.12:18 PM

    A chocolate holiday - what a neat sentiment!

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  36. I "liked" Catherine's page on FB.

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  37. I love to bake at Christmas. I have always loved making cookies and fudge. I missed doing it for a couple years and vow to keep it going every year cause it brings so much happiness

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  38. I bookmarked her website / blog

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  39. sent friend request on Facebook

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  40. these look so yummy I love anything chocolate. Thanks for sharing.

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  41. Hello Catherine....Thank you so much for the recipe...It sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing today..I also love your work.

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  42. I am following Catherine on Pinterest.

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  43. I am following Catherine on Twitter.

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  44. I left Catherine a message from me!

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  45. I thanked Tabitha for the photography tips!

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  46. Love all the holiday inspiring tips. tFS

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  47. Wonderful! Love making goodies for the holidays. It is fun watching family take a big bite of treats that they love and only get once a year. :) Wonderful how you have pulled a friend to make goodies with you.

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  48. I have enormous respect for people who can make candy-and evidently Catherine is a candy diva!

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  49. I'm following Catherine on Twitter,Pinterest, and asked he to be my friend on FB.

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  50. I left a comment on Tabitha's blog!

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  51. Even though I am vowing to try to eat more healthy, it just isn't Christmas to me unless I get in the kitchen and make yumminess. This truffle recipe sounds delicious!

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  52. I haven't done that many candies in a day (candy takes a while to make), but I used to have the tradition of taking a day of vacation and baking "all day" (until I crashed - usually around 3pm)

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  53. Oh my gosh those truffles look SO yummy! Thank you for the fun post

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  54. following on twitter

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  55. commented on Tabitha's blog!

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  56. following on pinterest!

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