Sunday, December 29, 2013

Misadventures in chocolate

Okanagan winter scenes-chocolate colored fence
What to give those who really don’t want anything for Christmas that takes up space, needs to be fed, watered or looked after.  I gave this a lot of thought, and decided that chocolate pretty much fit the bill for all the prerequisites.  I’ve been a big believer in usable gifts for a long time, use it up, eat it up, or pass it on.  Just think, perfectly decorated packages of sweets, wrapped up with sugar plums, and sparkles..I can see it now.
Thus began the first of my misadventures in chocolate land.
5 days to Christmas….
Step one: Research.  Time spent on Pinterest was no longer me languishing between chores, and outings, it was research, thus totally justifiable.  I’m looking for recipes for handmade chocolates, I stated to anyone who dared to question my massive amounts of computer time.
Step two: Supplies. Chocolate, and lots of it.  Candy canes, sprinkles, pretzel rods, dried fruit, marshmallows…the list could be endless.
Step 3: Wait.  You can’t make homemade chocolates too far before the magical day…they won’t remain uneaten, or perfectly formed.  No one wants to eat a box of chocolates that have bloomed before their time.
4 days to Christmas, starting to sweat a little at the thought.
Carpe diem, seize the day: 
It should be rewritten as Carpe socolatum.  Or seize the chocolate.
Did you know that when melting chocolate even the tiniest, miniscule amount of moisture…I read even a drop on your freshly washed hands mixed in with the chocolate will make it seize up…and it’s not a pretty sight.
Ask me how I know?
Mmhmm, yes, 4 times in a row.
Okanagan winter scenes chocolate colored trees
3 days to Christmas, dreaming of chocolate.
Google why won’t my chocolate melt, and find out that it’s not only not melted, it’s seized up like a cranky old lawnmower engine…and it’s not moving anymore.  Yes, apparently you can save it, but is it worth it?
Reindeer balls:  A new concoction invented to use up seized chocolate that can no longer be used for dipping, or creating anything lovely and desirous.  Fudgy balls, dipped in cocoa.
2 days to Christmas: Whew…this is harder then I thought.
It’s a rocky road: really it was a rocky, rocky road.
You know that childhood favourite, Rocky Road fudge, it comes in two flavours, chocolate, and some other kind that’s not important.  Has chocolate and mini marshmallows, peanuts, and other overly sweet ingredients…?  Super easy, even kids can make it?
I renamed it A very rocky road fudge, and yes it was hard to cut into little pieces, but doesn’t everyone loves a great big chunk of crunchy, chocolate fudgy chewy mess for Christmas?
Okanagan winter scenes red barn chocolate colored bushes
1 day to Christmas: I’m thinking a nice commercial box of chocolates sounds pretty good right about now. 
Dip pretzel rods into caramel sauce, watch it drip all over the parchment paper, and see chocolate coating run off into hot little rivulets.  Boil mixture till the cows come home.
Christmas day: 
Pull it all together, it’s amazing what a few ounces of sprinkles can hide, layer reindeer balls, mint melties, a very rocky road fudge, and other delights in the cutest little jars, pack them with a good jar of caramel sauce, and hope that no one breaks a sweet tooth. 
Sit back and watch their eyes light up when they open the gifts…misadventures in chocolate forgotten for another year.
Photos?  Of chocolates you ask?  Sorry they were all eaten before I could take any.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams


  1. Oh you make me laugh. "Who wouldn't want a great big chunk of crunchy, chocolate fudgy chewy mess for Christmas?" No one no one. Yummy. I am glad your misadventure at least tasted wonderful I am sure of that. Happy New Year Jen. Hug B

  2. Jen, you make me laugh. At least you got it all finished and I bet it was delicious, even worth losing a tooth over. I have misadventures in coking all the time, as for chocolate, well I won't even attempt it.

  3. LOL ! Sounds like quite the chocolate adventure you had . Guess they worked out after all that as the were all eaten up before you could get photos , that's a good thing though . Lovely photos ! Happy New Year !

  4. *giggle* Oh the road to good intentions is paved in chocolate I think. LOL! Well, it's the thought that counts yes? But yup, a nice box of Turtles purchased from the local grocery store is always a hit although it never comes with the same warm feeling of receiving a homemade treat.
    Enjoy the rest of your year Jen and all the best for 2014!
    xo Catherine

  5. Thanks for the grins and giggles . . . Everyone must have been on a similar chocolate giving mania . . . Never have we received so many treats and never have I ever made so many! The waistline and the "zit" on my chin tell it all.

    My goal is to thank everyone profusely and pack up the treats we have tempting and share them on Monday where I volunteer!

    Fun post Jen! I loved the Red Barn and the Greenish Blue Boards in the foreground, love your photography!

  6. oh my gosh what an adventure! Thats so funny, I'm sure it all tasted good though,

  7. Glad to read that the problems "melted" away and everything turned out deliciously:) More power to you for the attempt and success for a chocolate maker I am not. All the best to you in the new year, Jen ~

  8. LOL love it ! : ) Fun post. The only homemade chocolate that I have ever made is fudge at Christmas, and not every year, but when I did, it was just the basic fudge using the canned marshmallow and semi sweet chocolate chips ...same recipe that my grandma and mom used. I think that my sister ventured out a bit farther...dipping pretzels in chocolate one year. We have a local gourmet chocolate factory in our area called Sarris Candies and it's too easy to just get their chocolate...though i did not this year; their prices have gone so high I passed. Now you have me wanting some though.
    Your packaging for your chocolate treasures sounds pretty ...but not as pretty as your pictures the red barn :) Have a Happy New Year! :)

  9. You bring smiles with every write Jen. Love the pics ...
    Happy Nw Year my friend.
    TTFN ~

  10. Excellent. Although, technically, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a mistake when it comes to chocolate. Unless it's "Oops! Sorry, I ate that piece by mistake!" *grin*

  11. I had to stop reading your post the urge for some chocolate was too strong, must go and get some.

  12. Since the chocolates disappeared so quickly, they must have been fabulous. The lucky recipients are probably still licking their sweet teeth! I would be tempted to buy some good commercial chocolates next time, but I doubt they would be so well appreciated. I also loved your last post. I hope that you received all that you wished for this Christmas, and I wish you the very best in 2014.

  13. I bet everything was delicious! I had the last of our fudge today. :o)

  14. Handmade chocolate is never regifted! It sounds like a rocky road getting there but the final result makes me wish I were a recipient of one of those jars. :)

  15. Sounds like my kind of adventure! Of course the taste is what matters--sounds like it was yummy. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Jen.

  16. A chocolate adventure is one of the very best kind. Even a misadventure in chocolate is delicious, as witnessed by the lack of photos and quick disappearance of your efforts.

    Lovely, lovely photos of chilly weather.

  17. I commented on this post this morning and I don't see it. I laughed at your misadventure in chocolate making, but all sounded so yummy. Love you shots!

  18. I never try candy. Afraid I guess. You should frame your gorgeous prints as gifts.

  19. Chocolate is hard to work with. I used to make the candy and fudge, but not anymore. I eat too much of it and I don't need it. But who doesn't like receiving home made chocolates?

  20. Love your story!! I'm carrying on the tradition of making my mom-in-law's Rum Balls. The only problem is now everyone expects them, ha ha! This year my son offered to pick up the rum. 1/4 c. per recipe. Tell me why he got a gallon?!

  21. You can never go wrong with chocolate! Lovely shots too. Wishing you all a wonderful 2014.

  22. Well, I have to hand it to you for keeping at it! Chocolate is always a good idea!
    Your photos are stunning, my friend.


  23. You need some Chocolatier lessons for sure! I am with you on the use or reuse gifts:)

  24. LOL You need a book called How To Make Chocolate candies For Dummies! One of my friends has a recipe for making Microwave fudge, It is great and easy!!
    This I am told, is an easy one:

    Aunt Teen's Creamy Chocolate Fudge
    Original recipe makes 3 pounds
    1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    2/3 cup evaporated milk
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 cups milk chocolate chips
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
    In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
    Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.

  25. Thank god I'm not the only one to have experienced the giant cement chocolate ball. Thought I was alone in my ignorance of chocolate. Sounds like yours turned out good enough to eat and that's the important part :)

  26. Thanks for the chuckle. I have never even attempted to make chocolates, and even though you may have had misadventures with your chocolate making, your photos are gorgeous as always. Happy New Year, my friend. xo Laura

  27. What a great topic for this chocoholic, Jen! Yummy. I used to make those Rocky Road Bars (that's what we call them back east) every Christmas but haven't in a quite a few years now. They are good though. I just opened a box of Lindt chocolates. MMMMM….delicious.

  28. What an adventure! We like giving consumable gifts too. Everyone loves a treat.

  29. I'm not very good with chocolate either. Mine doesn't just seize up, it goes into paralysis. I took all the bits and bobs of leftover baking, and threw them into a pot, and accidentally made the best candy ever! Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pecans, raisins and coconut. Roll it into balls and dunk twice in powdered sugar. It tasted so good, but it was mostly definitely seized chocolate. I just hid it well!


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