Candided Jalapenos (and strawberries)

For some reason, the jalapenos turned out much prettier than the strawberries. Both tasted good, it’s just that it’s weird when your fruit looks like beached jellyfish. That’s not to say that the strawberries were a complete failure, though; they made a great filling for a candy that I’m going to talk about later on. But the weirdest thing about then wasn’t how they looked but how they tasted. Once you make candied fruit you understand why fruit candies don’t taste like fruit–they’re the concentrated super sweet version of fruit.

To candy fruit all you need is
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 hours

To start, slice the fruit. No so thin that they fall apart, but nice and bite-sized thin.

Then combine the water and sugar in a saucepan then heat and stir until the sugar’s dissolved. Once that’s ready, toss in the fruit and let it simmer for two hours.

They syrup would be good to use for other candies or for pancakes, so if you have the means, strain the fruit and keep the syrup in an old pasta sauce jar or something.

When the fruit’s strained, let it sit in the open air to dry a little.

(See I told you they look like jellyfish. But they taste super good.)

You also want to stop them from touching, if possible, that way they don’t make clumps.

Once they’ve dried for a while, you’re done!

Personally, I like candied jalapenos, but they are super spicy. We boiled them along side habaneros which only made things hotter. But if you like spicy treats or Mexican candies you might really like this. But if you’re afraid, this is the same technique to make other candied fruits. Lemons and oranges taste really good when made this way, and you can even eat the peel!

Heart-shaped Chicken Breast

This is something really simple you can do that looks like you put in a lot of effort. And if you’re in to cute food, hearts are pretty much a must. This works really well for things like birthdays, anniversaries, or random cuteness days.

Basically, just take a chicken breast

and start to slice it in half. Note I said “start to;” you don’t want to cut all the way through the meat, otherwise you don’t end up with a heart, but with two half chicken breasts–and those are nowhere near as festive.

Once you’ve got it sliced, open it up.

Depending on the original shape of the breast, you may have to slice off a chunk. But don’t fret, it’s very simple.

And there you go, heart-shaped food.

You can cook it however you like, and an added plus from doing this is that they cook faster because they’re not as thick.

Ganache Truffles

Candy is pretty much a must on this holy of holy days, so here’s something fun to try out. I’ve also got a couple previous candy recipes that could be customized for Valentines Day–heart shaped toffee, candy roses, and some yummy hot chocolate–especially since this year’s V Day seems like it will be a cold one.

And presents always mean more when you make them yourself, so have fun with it!

For this, all you need is:
Chocolate (2 parts)
Heavy whipping cream (1 part)
Sweetened coco powder

I was taught to make this by a candy snob, so he insisted we use the expensive chocolate.

We used a mix of bittersweet chocolate and semisweet, but you can play around with this if you have more of a sweet tooth.

First you need to start off by chopping it up finely so that it melts nicely.

And set it aside. It would work best for later if you have it in a big, freezer-safe container. (You have to let it cool later, so the more spread out it is, the faster it cools–we used a 2 quart sauce pan and it took 3 hours.)

In a sauce pan, heat your cream until it boils. When it’s there, pour it into the chocolate and stir until it’s all melted and smooth.

Now it’s time to cool it. Like I mentioned earlier, the container for the chocolate matters. The thinner the layer of chocolate you have the better. For what we made–two bars of chocolate, I think a standard 9 x 13 baking pan would do the trick. The more spread out the chocolate is, the faster it will cool.

Once it’s solid enough that you can hold the container upside down, but still soft enough to be malleable, take it out and start rolling. You can scoop some out with a spoon or just use your hands. Be sure to wash your hands before this step, and make sure you don’t have anything else going on for the next few minutes because you will get covered in chocolate.

When they’re the proper shape, roll them around the coco powder.

And them let them sit. We happened to have a bunch of mini cupcake papers, so we put them in there. If you don’t have any, don’t worry; the coco powder will stop them from recombining, as long as they don’t get hot.