Whilst you sift your dry ingredients, you can preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; and line a baking sheet (9×9) with parchment paper. In a saucepan, heat the butter, 1 cup brown sugar (manna), and heavy cream (yaassss) over medium heat until it reaches the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (Yup, ya need one, they’re cool!). Don’t forget a squirt of vanilla, for good measure. At this time, your abode already smells like Christmas and Heaven; but just wait, it gets better!
For this next, (crucial) step, you should be watching (both eyes) it very carefully and stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Best to have eyes in the back of your head, like your mom has, or so she said. Once it has reached the soft ball stage, take the pan off the heat and add the 1/2 cup reserved brown sugar. Can you believe it; more? Pour your mixture into the greased sheet or pan and let it cool thoroughly for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Once cooled, melt the chocolate chips. The best way would be to temper the chocolate.
How to temper chocolate, you ask? Ah, very good and important question; one needs to know! Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate for coating or dipping with chocolate. Done well, the creations are as magnificent to taste as they are to admire. “Proper tempering results in chocolate that has a smooth and glossy finish”.
“The tempered chocolate will have a crisp snap and won’t melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate”. Try and not lick your fingers! Get ready for an audience; all humans cannot resist the aromatic senses and smells associated with butter, sugar, and chocolate. Almost every form and shape possible, under the sun and especially in the Bordeaux regions.
Avoid doing this during a storm, weather permitting, keep stirring until the temperature falls to 82°F (28°C) for dark chocolate; 80°F (27°C) for milk chocolate; and 78°F (26°C) for white chocolate. The aromas intoxicating and sure-fire applause is the intended outcome for your success. Like an advanced alchemist for the culinary delights, stir till your heart desires, light fire!
Be as artful and creative, as a masterful wizard of the culinary arts extraordinaire. You can do no wrong, and everyone becomes your new best-friend. Don’t give your furry babies any chocolate, ever! They, really rather a protein source and chocolate is poison to them. I know! It’s easy to get distracted at their big eyes, imploring for a treat. Back to the sweets!
Take approximately 1 heaping teaspoon of the butterscotch candy and roll it into a ball (not quite a “jaw-breaker” size, but a skoosh bigger than a marble or any size you prefer or intended purpose). Dip the ball in the melted chocolate and place on a plate, parchment, or wax paper. Let the chocolate cool and harden. Result: “It is brown-sugary and melt-in-your-mouth candy perfection”.
Might as well stop at your local See’s Candies (West Coast) for these decadent morsels of extreme goodness. If you see a spark-fire red head with an afro, you’ve meet one of See’s fabulous volunteers at the holidays (she’ll hang out with you in line) and one of my favorite humans on the planet.
Her name Dolores, but that’s not important. It’s what she’s serving on her silver platter of home-made extravagance; that you really don’t care how long the line extends out in the parking lot. Bordeaux dark chocolate truffles (is a “heavenly blend of creamy brown sugar covered in rich, dark chocolate and decorated with chocolate sprinkles (SPRINKLES!)”), blissfully created peanut butter clusters, and my favorite divinely, exquisitely mastered, butterscotch squares.
Probably my favorite job ever, and most definitely my friends and family’s favorite employer. The perfect atmosphere, 68 degrees, and smells of chocolate and candy 24-7. I was always invited to everything, then; now I know why. I brought candy too every event and function, I had to attend. Made the perfect gift and as a bonus, kept me in good with Mrs. See’s. Her gaze always looking down on me.
“See’s Candies is an American manufacturer and distributor of candy, particularly chocolates” and I worked the marketing and fundraising departments. “The company is now headquartered in South San Francisco, California and I got to go there. Most of my jobs are actually on people’s “bucket-list’s” to visit. This being one of mine, also.
My Gram looked exactly like Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy, and I stood right where, she and Ethel jammed candies into their mouths, smocks, and pockets, while the famous conveyor belt sped along. Actually, filmed at the LA kitchen. It was a hysterical episode and a classic example of Lucy’s humorous antics. The similarities between her and my grandmother, so uncanny and heartwarming. That’s the cool thing about See’s; timeless.
“Guided by the values his mother Mary had instilled in him and using her candy recipes as the cornerstone of his business, Charles founded See’s Candies in Los Angeles in 1921”. “His vision came to life with that first See’s shop, a place where employees were treated like family and customers were warmly greeted with a free sample”. “Only the finest and freshest ingredients were accepted in their candy kitchen, causing suppliers to coin the phrase “See’s quality” – higher than “top quality.”
“They settled in Pasadena, CA in a post-Victorian bungalow”. “Mary made candy in the bungalow’s black-and-white kitchen”. “When Charles opened the first See’s Candies shop in Los Angeles, he chose the now-iconic checkerboard theme inspired by this kitchen”. FYI and a nougat of a nibble: “See’s makes over 26 million pounds of candy every year”! “See’s giant chocolate lollypop, weighing 7,000 pounds, was recognized by Guinness as the world’s largest”!
Now, not my immediate supervisor then; but, none-the-less, my (“old” previous employer) boss (signed my checks). “Considered one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net worth of over $105.2 billion as of November 2021, making him the world’s tenth-wealthiest person”. Warren Buffett in a “June 2021 interview with CNBC, said that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased economic inequality and bemoaned that most people are unaware that “hundreds of thousands or millions” of small businesses have been negatively impacted”.
With the Holidays upon us, we’ll see much of that fly out the window or the 20 browsers, you have left opened. We are a resilient species, and our collective souls need a tasty refreshment. Bring us back to what really matters, family, love, and togetherness. Cheers! Let’s clink our mugs in a toast; this year’s almost over and sneak a well-deserved morsel for the next year’s hopes!
Crème tangerine and montelimar, a ginger sling with a pineapple heart, a coffee dessert, yes, you know it’s good news …. “Savoy Truffle” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”).” “The song was written by George Harrison and inspired by his friend Eric Clapton’s fondness for chocolate”. “The lyrics list the various flavors offered in Mackintosh’s Good News chocolates and serve as a warning to Clapton about the detrimental effect that his gorging would have on his teeth”.
To “tease” Eric; “He’s got this real sweet tooth and he’d just had his mouth worked on”. “His dentist said he was through with candy”. “So, as a tribute I wrote, ‘You’ll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle’.” “Many of the lines came directly from the varieties of chocolate in the boxes, although Cherry Cream and Coconut Fudge were Harrison’s own inventions”. I’ve sold these scrumptious confections and just like the song, catchy and irresistible. I won’t mention the calories or what an extraction costs, these days. Dentists, some of my best customers!
“Chocolate’s 4,000-year history began in ancient Mesoamerica, present day Mexico”. “It’s here that the first cacao plants were found”. “The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate”. “They drank their chocolate during rituals and used it as medicine”.
“The word “chocolate” comes from the Classical Nahuatl word chocolātl, of uncertain etymology, and entered the English language from the Spanish language.” “The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica”. “Fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 450 BC”. “The Mexica believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency”.
“Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree”. “It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to give the drinker strength”. “Today, such drinks are also known as “Chilate” and are made by locals in the south of Mexico and the north triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras)”. “After its arrival to Europe in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it (Yum) and it became popular throughout society, first among the ruling classes and then among the common people”. “In the 20th century, chocolate was considered essential (Agreed) in the rations of United States soldiers during war”. ~ Wikipedia
“By 1400, the Aztec Empire took over a sizable part of Mesoamerica”. “The Aztecs had not cultivated cacao themselves, so were forced to import it”. “All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.” “The cacao bean became a form of currency”. “The Spanish conquistadors left records of the value of the cacao bean, noting for instance that 100 beans could purchase a canoe filled with freshwater or a turkey hen”.
“The Aztecs associated cacao with the god Quetzalcoatl, who they believed had been condemned by the other gods for sharing chocolate with humans”. Sounds familiar? “Unlike the Maya of Yucatán, the Aztecs drank chocolate cold”. “It was consumed for a variety of purposes, as an aphrodisiac or as a treat for men after banquets, and it was also included in the rations of Aztec soldiers.” ~ Wikipedia
“The desire for chocolate created a thriving (Gross) slave market, as between the early 17th and late 19th centuries the laborious and slow processing of the cacao bean was manual”. “Cacao plantations spread, as the English, Dutch, and French colonized and planted”. “With the depletion of Mesoamerican workers, largely to disease, cocoa beans production was often the work of poor wage laborers and enslaved Africans”. ~ Wikipedia
“Roughly two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced in Western Africa, with Ivory Coast being the largest source, producing a total crop of 1,448,992 tonnes”. “Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are other West African countries among the top 5 cocoa-producing countries in the world”. “Like many food industry producers, individual cocoa farmers are at the mercy of volatile world markets”.
“The price can vary from between £500 ($945) and £3,000 ($5,672) per ton in the space of just a few years”. “While investors trading in cocoa can dump shares at will, individual cocoa farmers cannot ramp up production and abandon trees at anywhere near that pace”. ~ Wikipedia
“Only three to four percent of “cocoa futures” contracts traded in the cocoa markets ever end up in the physical delivery of cocoa”. “Every year seven to nine times more cocoa is bought and sold on the exchange than exists”. How that is possible, is beyond me. Defies mathematical logic.
“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”, stated Charles Schulz. “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” I agree with Linda Grayson. “Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” ~ Joanne Harris, Chocolat “What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” And we’ll depart this tasty story of chocolate decadence with Katharine Hepburn’s quote.
Thank you for reading and spending a little time in my kitchen of delicacies and nuggets of history. Totally caloric free! Hope your Holidays are sweet and chocked full of limitless ingredients of love, laughter, nostalgia, and heaps full of joy and bliss. This is a disclaimer for anyone who needs a quick bite. All references to people and places are fictional and for entertainment purposes only.