English Toffee

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter, sugar, salt, water, and almond extract. Insert candy thermometer and bring candy to boil. Continue until candy reaches color of brown paper bag or 260°.

Remove from heat and pour onto prepared baking sheet to an even thickness. This will not cover entire pan.

Melt half of chocolate and spread evenly over toffee. Sprinkle with half of walnuts. Let cool and set up. Place another parchment on top of toffee. Carefully flip over. Repeat chocolate procedure. Let set overnight or for at least 4 hours. Break into pieces.

Caramel Pecan Turtles

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a bowl, add pecan halves, butter, and salt and toss. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Arrange 4 pecans into an X-shaped cluster on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pecans.

To make caramel, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add sugars, and corn syrup and whisk until combined. Bring mixture to a boil.

Do not stir after it boils. If necessary, dip a pastry brush in water and brush down sides of pan to dissolve any sugar stuck to sides. Boil mixture until it reaches 250° on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully whisk in cream, butter, and vanilla.

Transfer caramel to a small bowl. Working quickly, spoon a generous teaspoon over each cluster of pecans. Allow clusters to set, uncovered, for 2 hours up to overnight.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1” of water to a simmer. Transfer half of chocolate to a heatproof bowl and place on top of pan. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted, about 3 minutes. Add remaining half of chocolate, remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes. Stir gently until smooth.

Drizzle chocolate over turtles. Set aside in a cool place to set, about 1 hour.

Mom’s Caramels

Lightly spray 2 glass baking pans with cooking spray.

In a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add condensed milk, corn syrup, and brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved, 18-24 minutes. Using a candy thermometer, test mixture until it reaches 235°. Remove from the heat and let sit, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt and stir to combine. Pour caramel into prepared pans and let sit overnight.

The next day, scrape caramels out onto a cutting board and cut into pieces with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Wrap caramels in wax paper squares. 

Recipe by Sherri Limon

Candied Popcorn

Pop popcorn in an air popper. Place popcorn in a large bowl or a large paper bag and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan with a lid over medium-low heat, melt butter, sugar, salt, vinegar and water. Do not stir. When butter has melted and edges begin to bubble, remove lid, raise heat to medium and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until mixture becomes golden yellow, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, add the baking soda and stir vigorously.

Pour hot butter-sugar mixture over popcorn and either stir to combine in bowl or fold over paper bag to seal and shake vigorously until combined. Spread candied popcorn over sheets of waxed paper on a work surface and let cool completely.

From Lois Hammond and LaVon Morgan

Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bark

Line bottom and sides of an 8” or 9” square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.

Bring a saucepan filled ¼ full of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer so only small bubbles are visible. Place a medium bowl over saucepan. The bottom of bowl cannot touch water. Add 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and ½ teaspoon oil in bowl and melt, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour into prepared pan, spreading with an offset spatula until smooth. Place in refrigerator, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, add white chocolate and ½ teaspoon oil and place over simmering water. Pour over semi-sweet chocolate. Spread until smooth. Place baking pan back in refrigerator, about 10 minutes.

Add more water, as needed, to saucepan. Place remaining 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon oil in first medium bowl and melt, about 5 minutes. Spread into a smooth layer. Sprinkle over peppermint candies, chocolate wafers and cranberries, if using.

Refrigerate until completely hardened. Once hardened, remove from pan, peel off parchment and break into pieces.

Caramel Apples

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add sugar and slowly stir until sugar dissolves. Add corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk, return heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 235° on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately dip apples.

Remove stem from each apple. Skewer each apple through each stem end. To dip apples, hold each skewered apple at a 45° angle as you dip it into caramel. Rotate apple until it is coated completely. Allow excess caramel to drip off back into saucepan, then place dipped apples on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Adapted from bakingdom.com

Homemade Salted Caramel

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, and salt. Stir slowly until mixture comes to a boil, about 4 minutes. Stop stirring and cook until mixture is honey-colored, slowly swirling pan as needed to ensure even caramelization, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, 1 minute more.

Remove pan from heat. Using a whisk, carefully add cream, whisking constantly. Return pan to low heat, continue to stir until caramel has dissolved off of whisk. Continue to cook, using a silicone spatula, until caramel registers 220° on a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heat-resistant container, stir in vanilla (if using) and salt, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate up to 1 month in an airtight container.

Candy Cane Fudge

Grease a 9”x9” pan with butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add marshmallows, white chocolate chips, and butter and mix to combine.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Let boil, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Add in extract and stir to combine. Carefully drizzle hot mixture into marshmallows and chocolate on low speed. Mix until combined and smooth, scraping sides of bowl. Remove ½ of fudge from mixer. Drop a few drops of food coloring into fudge in mixer and turn on low. Mix until color is distributed evenly, adding color as you go until you like it.

Pour 1/2 of red fudge batter into pan, spread smooth and evenly. Next pour ½ of white batter, spreading evenly and not mixing with red. Repeat with remainder of red and white to make 4 layers. Set pan in fridge and let chill until cool and set. Once fudge is set, cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if using.

Halloween Popcorn Balls

Pop popcorn. Lightly grease a large bowl or roasting pan with butter and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan with a lid over low heat, melt butter, sugar, salt, vinegar, water, and food coloring, if using. Do not stir.

When butter has melted and edges begin to bubble, remove lid. Raise heat to medium and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until mixture becomes golden yellow and reaches 240,° 12-14 minutes.

Remove from heat, add baking soda and stir vigorously. Pour hot mixture over popcorn and stir to combine. Grease hands with butter and when popcorn is cool enough to handle, form into equal-sized balls. Let cool completely.

Candy Corn

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk powder, and salt, set aside.

In a heavy, small saucepan over high heat, add sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter and slowly stir until sugar has dissolved. Using a candy thermometer, boil corn syrup mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 240° (soft ball stage), 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully add vanilla. Pour syrup into powdered sugar-milk powder mixture and stir until mixture forms into a ball. Pour candy corn dough onto prepared baking sheet and let sit until cool enough to handle, 5-10 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Color 1 dough orange by adding a few drops of orange food color. Color another dough yellow, and leave 1 dough white. Knead food color into the candy corn dough until it is thoroughly mixed in.

Remove about 2 tablespoons of each color candy corn and roll into thin strands about width of a pencil. Wrap remaining pieces of dough in plastic wrap and set aside. Stack strips on top of one another starting with white and followed by orange and then yellow. Press them together so they make one tri-colored strip. Heat dough in microwave for a few seconds if it becomes too cool to shape.

Using a small paring knife, cut triangles out of strip to form candy corn. Continue with remaining mixture. Leave candy corn pieces on the baking sheet until dry, about 2 hours. Keep in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.