The Art of Darkness

Reindeer Poop and Angel Farts

December 8th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Angel FartsYou can hark to the herald angels, but that isn’t singing.

Homemade candy is a great holiday gift: People appreciate receiving something hand-made, it’s easy to make in large batches, and for relatively little money and effort you can turn out something that looks downright artisanal. Chocolate truffles and divinity are easy candies to master, and if you can give them names that will horrify elderly aunts, so much the better. I’ve even made spiffy downloadable labels for you.

Reindeer Poop

These are chocolate-peppermint truffles since it stands to reason that, just as unicorn poop tastes of cotton candy, the poop of Santa’s reindeer would taste Christmasy. Duh.

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
3 T unsalted butter
1/2 C heavy cream
1 T light corn syrup
1 tsp peppermint extract, or 1 T creme de menthe

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
Festive sprinkles (optional): I used these, but you could use these or these or any of the other zillion search results for “Christmas sprinkles.”
OR
1/2 C Dutch process cocoa powder

Place the 10 oz of chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and melt together over a double boiler full of simmering water. I sometimes live dangerously and melt directly over very low heat, stirring constantly, but you have to be careful not to let it scorch. Set aside.

Place the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate mixture and let stand for 2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir gently until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the mint extract or creme de menthe. Pour into an 8″x8″ glass dish and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a tablespoon, melon baller, or cookie scoop to scoop the truffle mixture onto the parchment. (If the mixture is too stiff to scoop easily, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.) Return the sheet to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

If finishing with cocoa powder, put it into a bowl or pie pan.

If finishing with a chocolate coating, you’ll need to melt and temper the remaining 8 oz of chocolate.* Finely chop it and place two-thirds of it in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely-simmering water. Place a candy thermometer in the chocolate and stir frequently as it melts. Be careful not to let the temperature exceed 120°F for dark chocolate or 105°F for milk or white chocolate.

As soon as the chocolate is fully melted, remove it from the heat and wipe the bottom of the bowl to remove any condensation (water will cause the chocolate to “seize,” so it’s important to not let any drip into the melted chocolate). Stir in the remaining third of the chocolate a little at a time, letting it melt before adding more.

Once the chocolate is at or below 82°F, place it back over simmering water. For dark chocolate, reheat to 88°F – 91°F. For milk and white chocolate, reheat to 85°F – 87°F.

Try to keep the chocolate at that temperature when working with it; if it begins to thicken too much but is still fairly liquid, it can be gently reheated; if it solidifies you’ll need to re-temper it.

There’s apparently an alternate method, which I haven’t tried, which involves putting a heating pad in a bowl, setting it to medium, and then putting a metal bowl holding the chocolate on top of that. Melt, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate reaches 88°F – 91°F (or 85°F – 87°F for milk/white). Adjust the setting of the heating pad to maintain that temperature.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape them into balls by rolling them between your palms. The cooler your hands are, the better; using latex gloves helps with that a bit, plus it keeps your hands cleaner. Return the rolled truffles to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm back up.

TrufflesIf finishing with cocoa powder, roll each truffle in the cocoa until coated. Return to the baking sheet.

If finishing with chocolate, dip each truffle into the chocolate using a fork. There’s a photo tutorial here that explains how to do that cleanly.

Place the dipped truffle back on the parchment paper. If decorating with sprinkles, sprinkle them over the chocolate before it hardens so they’ll stick.

Let the truffles sit in a cool, dry place for at least one hour. Store airtight in the refrigerator. The truffles taste best at room temperature.

For a different festive flavor, omit the mint extract in the recipe above and instead stir in 1 C chopped dried cranberries and 3 T thawed orange juice concentrate.

You could also vary the flavoring and decoration for these and pass them off as the droppings of other mythical animals. Instead of mint extract, try:

  • Nightmare Poop: Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp cayenne. Decorate with Halloween sprinkles or little edible bones.
  • Unicorn Poop: Add 2 T rose water and 1 T Amaretto. Instead of dipping in chocolate, finish them with a marbled rainbow coating. (Note: I know that I said up above that unicorn poop tastes of cotton candy, but the only cotton candy-flavored truffle recipe I could find are those misbegotten crushed-up-Oreo things and those can die in a fire. I’m sure you could argue convincingly that unicorn poop tastes of roses; if anybody challenges you, ask them exactly how they know.)


Angel Farts

Technically, you can make divinity without an electric mixer. Technically, you can also type with your elbows. The technique involves beating hot syrup into egg whites and then continuing to vigorously beat the mixture for at least ten minutes, possibly more if the weather is humid; I really don’t recommend trying to beat it by hand. (And the beefier the electric mixer, the better; the mixture gets pretty thick toward the end, so a stand mixer is preferable to a handheld one.)

2 2/3 C sugar
2/3 C light corn syrup
1/2 C water (use 1 T less if making this on a humid day)
2 lg egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

Note: Be very careful when separating the eggs, since if the yolk breaks and gets into the white it won’t whip up properly.

Angel FartPut sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 2-quart saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. If there are sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan, wash them back into the liquid with a pastry brush dipped in a little cold water. Place a candy thermometer in the liquid, raise the temperature to medium, and continue cooking without stirring until the temperature reaches 260°F.

When the syrup is a couple of degrees below the target temperature, start beating the egg whites in a medium bowl on high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form then, when the syrup is hot enough, beat at medium speed whilst pouring in a thin stream of the hot syrup. When all of the syrup is incorporated, add the vanilla. Continue beating constantly at medium speed until the mixture holds its shape and looks slightly dull.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Coat a spoon with butter or vegetable oil and drop the divinity mixture onto the parchment. Let stand at room temperature, turning over once, until the candy feels firm. Store in an airtight container.

Packaging

When ready to give as gifts, place the truffles and/or divinity in paper or foil bon bon cups (also called “candy cups” or just mini-muffin liners); there are loads of festive styles available, both online and at stores that sell cake-decorating supplies. Place in cardboard treat boxes (such as cake boxes) or cellophane bags, also available where cake-decorating supplies are sold.

I made festive labels, which you can download and print here:
Angel Farts – Full sheet
Angel Farts – Single
Reindeer Poop – Full Sheet
Reindeer Poop – Single

…however, if you’d rather not horrify your elderly aunt after all, you can make your own family-friendly ones using holiday clipart and just label them something boring like “peppermint truffles” and “divinity.”

Bonus recipe! If you make the divinity you’re going to have leftover egg yolks. Cured egg yolks are all the rage with foodies right now, and they are ridiculously easy to make. They can be grated or shaved like hard cheese and add a hit of umami to any dish.

1 3/4 C kosher salt
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
4 lg egg yolks
Vegetable oil or nonstick vegetable oil spray

Mix salt and sugar. Spread half of mixture evenly in an 8″x8″ glass baking dish. Use the back of a spoon to make 4 depressions in the mixture, spacing them evenly. Carefully place a yolk in each depression–if one breaks, scoop it out and replace it with a whole one–and then gently cover with the rest of the salt mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 days.

Preheat oven to 150°F. Gently brush the salt mixture off of each yolk (it might have hardened, so be careful), then rinse in cold water to remove any clinging salt. Pat dry carefully with paper towels.

Brush a wire rack generously with vegetable oil or spray it with nonstick spray. Set it in a rimmed baking sheet, place the yolks on it, and dry them in the oven for 1 1/2-2 hours or until they’re completely opaque and have a firm texture. Let cool. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


*Tempering chocolate sounds much more complicated than it actually is, but if you just can’t handle the idea use candy melts instead. They aren’t quite as good as real chocolate, but they’re less fussy to use and they taste fine.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. Mim Says:

    I have never heard of cured egg yolks. Interesting recipe.

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