When we visit family in western Colorado, a favorite outing is a trip to Ouray, a quaint town in the mountains. We go to Buen Tiempo restaurant for Mexican food, Mouse’s Chocolates for a truffle, and then the hot springs for a luxurious, steamy soak. At Mouse’s, my favorite truffle is the chipotle-dark chocolate.
The memory of my recent visit there, the chocolate-and-pepper combination in that truffle, and the gift-giving season inspired this week’s recipe for a grown-up version of a Tootsie Roll. Unlike that treat, this one has no refined sugar. In addition, these candies can be made ahead and will hold up during shipping, so they can be part of a homemade holiday gift package.
For the kick of hot pepper, you can grind a dried chipotle pepper or other hot pepper in a clean coffee grinder, or use ground cayenne pepper. For a milder version that children will enjoy, leave out the spice.
Since people on my gift list can tolerate butter, that’s what I used, but you can use coconut oil for a non-dairy version.
Note: Please don’t be intimidated by how straight the cuts are in the photo. I normally can’t manage uniform, straight lines to save my life, but for some reason they came out perfect this time. If yours are uneven, be aware that the candy is pliable and you can reshape the pieces when you’re wrapping them.
|Honey-Chipotle 'Tootsie Rolls'|| || |
- Candy thermometer
- A small dish of ice water
- 56 to 60 squares of waxed paper cut into 2-inch by 5-inch pieces
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) or coconut oil
- 1/8 cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (grind dried pepper in clean coffee grinder) or other ground hot pepper OR 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- Spray an 8-inch square pan with oil. Tear off an 8-inch by approximately 16-inch piece of parchment and use it to line the pan. This will create a “sling” that will allow you to easily lift out the sheet of candy once it’s cool.
- Place some water and a couple of ice cubes in a small bowl and keep next to the stove for checking the consistency of the syrup and to prevent burns in case you get any hot syrup on your skin.
- In a deep heavy-bottomed pot, combine honey, butter, water, cocoa powder, and optional ground hot pepper. Over medium heat melt butter, stirring until well-combined.
- Clip candy thermometer to side of pot, making sure tip is not touching the bottom. Cook, stirring occasionally, and begin testing when temperature reaches 250°F. This might take about 20 minutes. If you’re not sure your candy thermometer is accurate or you don’t have one, confirm the stage by dropping a little of the syrup into the ice water. It’s ready at 250°F to 265°F or when the syrup dropped into ice water forms a hard ball that can still be flattened between your fingers.
- Stir in vanilla. It will bubble up. Immediately pour and scrape hot mixture into prepared pan. Cool completely in refrigerator at least an hour.
- When candy is cooled and firm, run a knife around the unlined edges of the candy. Lift out the parchment paper holding the candy and place on a cutting board. With a large knife or pizza cutter, mark and then cut long rectangles, about 1/4 inch by 2 inches each (about 14 by 4 pieces). The sheet of candy is soft, so as you’re wrapping the candies you’ll need to separate the individual pieces from the sheet with a paring knife. If the sheet of candy becomes too soft, place in refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes. Wrap each piece in a waxed paper rectangle and gently twist the ends.
- Store in refrigerator or freezer.
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