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Put Your Heart Into Making a Valentine Sweet Treat : Homemade Candies That Send a Special Greeting May Be Easier Than You Think

February 13, 1986

Try your hand at candy making to say "Happy Valentine" this year.

Brandied nuts in a butter cream center in a chocolate coating will be easier to make if you use a candy thermometer so that the syrup may be removed from the heat at exactly the right temperature.

Covered With Chocolate

To dip chocolates, stir the chocolate between each dip. Drop the butter cream center chunk in the middle of the chocolate and cover completely with chocolate. Lift the candy out with a fork and tap the fork on the rim of a saucer, then draw the fork carefully across the rim to remove excess chocolate. Place each piece on wax paper on a rack.

Chantilly Fudge, using white fudge with bits of red cherries, is surprisingly easy to make and foolproof, if you use a candy thermometer. It's as easy as mixing and cooling it in one saucepan. Then spread the candy in a small pan to cut into squares.

BRANDY-PECAN BUTTER CREAMS

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

3 tablespoons brandy

4 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter or margarine

12 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, grated

Marinate nuts in brandy 2 hours or overnight. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in large, heavy saucepan. Bring to boil. Cook until candy thermometer reaches 220 degrees. Add butter and stir. Cover 2 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking to 242 degrees on candy thermometer, or soft ball stage.

Pour mixture onto marble slab or baking sheet. Cool to 98 degrees. Fold sides to middle with spatula until candy changes color. Mix in brandied nuts. Continue creaming with spatula until candy sets up. Divide candy into 6 parts. Roll each into 1-inch thick logs. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks.

Melt grated chocolate in top of double boiler. Dipping chocolate should maintain temperature of about 86 degrees. Dip each chunk in melted chocolate. Cool on rack. Makes 8 to 9 dozen candies.

CHANTILLY FUDGE

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups half and half

1/4 cup brandy

2 tablespoons corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained

Pecan halves

Combine sugar, half and half, brandy, corn syrup, butter and salt in heavy saucepan. Stir to blend well. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture boils. Cover and boil 2 minutes. Uncover and continue boiling, without stirring, until temperature reaches soft ball stage or 238 degrees on candy thermometer.

Cool to lukewarm, about 110 degrees, without stirring. Beat until fudge is thick and loses shiny appearance. Quickly blend in cherries and spread in greased 8-inch square pan. Place pecan halves on each inch. Cool completely before cutting into 1-inch squares. Makes 5 dozen.

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