It’s February ~ that means the Valentine’s Day parade of sweets is about to begin! It’s also the time when you may find yourself perplexed by the age old question: “What kind of candy will I give?” For me, it goes without saying that Valentine’s gifts must involve chocolate. Of course, you can purchase your candy gifts – the National Retail Federation reports that Americans spent around $1.7 billion on candy for their Valentines in the last couple of years. It’s so much more fun, and easier than you think to make your own, and I’m sharing a great recipe with you in this month’s The Recipe Box in Direct magazine.
The key to this recipe is that you let your slow cooker do the melting instead of standing over a hot stove! Simply chop the chocolates and break up the pretzels.
Layer the ingredients in your slow cooker, and warm for an hour or so.
It’s important to check after about an hour, because the larger pieces of chocolate may not look melted…
…but will be very soft and stir smoothly in with a spatula.
Mix it up thoroughly, then scoop into mini-muffin papers. You can use full size cupcake papers for larger candies (you’ll end up with less candies, of course).
You can also make a large piece of chocolate bark –
in essence a giant candy bar – an impressive gift for the chocoholic in your life, or use a heart-shaped parchment lined pan for the perfect love note.
The recipe is delicious with or without nuts, and makes more than 50 just-the-right-sized candies (in the mini-papers) for kids – so it’s a great class party treat too. Try it with your favorite snack treats and different flavored chips – be sure to double check the ingredients if you’re making a nut-free variation – you’re sure to find flavor combinations for all your special occasions! Enjoy, y’all, and may your Valentine’s Day be the sweetest ever!
“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
- Without nuts:
- 1 ½ cups coarsely broken pretzel crisps (thin, flat pretzels)
- 1 ½ cups crispy rice cereal
- 1 – 12 oz. package dark chocolate chips
- 1-cup raisins
- ½ of a 1 lb. package chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
- ½ of a 1 lb. package vanilla candy coating, coarsely chopped
- Sparkling sugar crystals
- With nuts:
- Omit the pretzel chips and use 2 cups roasted salted peanuts
- Use 1-cup crispy rice cereal
- Omit the dark chocolate chips and use one 12 oz. bag butterscotch chips
- Layer in slow cooker per recipe directions below
- Heat a 3-4 quart slow cooker on low setting.
- Mix the pretzels and cereal together and pour into the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the package of chocolate chips evenly over the pretzel-cereal mixture.
- Sprinkle the raisins over the chocolate chips.
- Place the chopped candy coating pieces over the raisins, then cover the slow cooker and cook for 1 hour.
- Check the mixture after an hour by stirring with a spatula. The larger chocolate pieces may not look melted but will soften upon stirring.
- If the chocolate isn’t completely melted, let the mixture cook for another 15-30 minutes, checking after 15 minutes so the chocolate doesn’t scorch.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and mini muffin cups.
- Use 2 teaspoons to scoop the chocolate mixture into the cups.
- Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes until solid, then store in airtight containers away from heat.