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The Tyranny Of The See’s

So, after meeting up with some sewing bloggers and consuming wonderful See’s chocolates with them, I got to thinking about the horror and deprivation of being too far from Mary See’s main stomping grounds.  Why, I asked myself, should those of us unfortunate enough to be stranded 3,000 miles away from Nirvana, be forced to suffer so?

Ah, sweet mystery of life.

Naturally, in spite of having read this article the very day of my search, I went online to find  a solution to this vexing problem.  And I found it, in several recipes allegedly replicateing my favorite-of-all-favorite See’s Candies, the Dark Chocolate Bordeaux.

I experimented, and fiddled, changed things up, and made a few pounds.  The first batch was messy:

But they still looked nice on a plate:

We ate them anyway.  The flavor?  Yuuuum, and very, very Bordeaux!  However, I’d crystallized the sugar a bit, so naturally I had to make more.

The second batch was neater, and dressed up nicely.  We ate it, too.  Mr. Noile thinks these are better than See’s, but Mr. Noile is a bit of a renegade.  I ate most of them, anyway, so perhaps his judgement is skewed.

It turns out that Michael’s, the ubiquitous craft store, sells candy boxes and foil cups:

Candy making, not unlike sewing, has its own set of tricks.  After the first batch, I realized that it was important to boil the brown sugar fondant at a relatively low temperature, and for a very short period of time.

A melon baller was perfect for scooping up uniformly sized centers, and a fondue fork — with snake-tongue prongs — was the right thing for dipping the centers into the chocolate.  The prongs held the fondant so that it didn’t slip off.  A common table fork was helpful to slide the dipped candies off the fondue fork.

Michael’s also has cute little gold elastics for closing the boxes (though you could probably buy any color by the yard at a fabric store):

Michael’s had seals, too, but I didn’t put one on this box.  (It wasn’t going to be long for this world.)  Any office supply store might offer a choice of those, too.

Tempering the chocolate in the microwave required some practice; it’s best to melt it in short bursts, not in longer sessions, which can make the chocolate lumpy.  I used Hershey’s Special Dark rather than a better European brand; it was just right with the Bordeaux-like centers, and, anyway, See’s is a quintessentially USA-American candy, so USA chocolate seemed appropriate.  The flavor was just right with the brown-sugar-coffee centers.

I used Wilton’s sprinkles — a travesty if ever there were one — but next time (that would be after we lose the weight we just gained), I’ll use these Dutch sprinkles.  They can’t be worse, and they sound a whole lot better than the rather waxy Wilton’s.  It’ll go better with the organic cream and butter.

Here’s another useful tip: Really good candies don’t have either corn syrup or sweetened evaporated milk in them; you might get sweets that way, but you won’t get anything like See’s.  And never, never use the candy-making pellets on sale in craft departments.  They aren’t really food.  Honest, they aren’t.

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  1. April 23rd, 2011 at 09:54 | #1

    I can’t believe you went home and made your own See’s!!!! Amazing!!!!

    • April 23rd, 2011 at 10:05 | #2

      Motivation, Carolyn! Motivation is *everything*! The Bordeaux, how it called to me . . .

      Actually, I’m a little surprised that it didn’t occur to me to try this a long time ago. Maybe that’s just as well, all things considered.

  2. Shams
    April 23rd, 2011 at 06:24 | #3

    LOLOLOLOL. Noile, you are TOO much!!!! You’ve been so quiet, I’d wondered what you had gotten up to, though I was imagining a plumbing or attic project of some kind.

    I am so glad I met you in person and I’m glad you have solved your Dark Chocolate Bordeaux Deficiency!!!!

    • April 23rd, 2011 at 09:30 | #4

      Shove stuff around in attic, make candy. Move furniture, make candy. Do Goodwill run, make candy. Crush trash, make candy. Empty closets, make candy. It’s been a long week.

      Yuuuum, “Dark Chocolate Bordeaux Defficiency”. This is going into my diet plan, STAT! (I put two pounds into the fridge downstairs so that I would have to hike to get them, but so far this plan has not proven to be at all discouraging as far as consumption goes.)

      It was wonderful to have met you in person, too, Shams! That was a great visit!

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