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December 27, 2009
I created these candies a little while ago for 1-2-3 Bake!, my column in Parade Magazine, and I've been making them regularly and in several different versions ever since. While candymaking is something I love, it's not something I do very often. A few truffles now and then, some caramels here and there and, of course, some marshmallows from time to time (I put a bunch of marshmallow recipes in my last book and had the feeling that I probably could have written an entire chapter on them -- they're really fun to make and easy to play around with), but really, that's about it.
And then along came these little chocolate treats. They're almost embarrassingly simple to make and, while you could complicate them, I'd suggest you restrain yourself.
For me, it's the crunch that makes these candies so good, crunch that comes from chopped nuts and corn flakes. Truly. In these candies, corn flakes stand in for the paper-thin pastry called feuilletine (about which more in an instant). I wish I could take full credit for making this inspired substitution, but it's one I learned from French pastry chefs working in America.
Feuilletine -- the word feuille means paper in French -- is a super-crackly pastry most popularly made into crepes that are often served alongside ice cream in France and are sold under the name Gavottes. You can buy Gavottes in specialty stores in America -- you can buy them already crushed here or (or in smaller quantities here) or you can buy them as pretty rolled cookies here -- or you can do what I did and grab a box of corn flakes. The cereal is not as sweet as the crepes, but you'll get great crunch -- and that's really what you're after here.
In the version I made for Parade, I used toasted walnuts, raisins, Corn Flakes and chocolate chips. But you can, of course, use your favorite semi- or bittersweet chocolate instead of the chips -- you'll need 6 ounces of chocolate. In subsequent versions, I used Valrhona Extra-Bitter Chocolate. You can also temper the chocolate (Mark Bittman recently did a Minimalist column in The NY Times on tempering), but I never bother. If the fact that the chocolate turns dull bothers you, but you don't want to temper it, you can dust the tops of the candies with cocoa powder (or powdered sugar) before serving.
Here's the recipe from Parade. I've included some Playing Around options at the end. If you come up with something you like, please, please tell me.
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup soft raisins
1 cup corn flakes
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 6 ounces finely chopped semi- or bittersweet chocolate
Fleur de sel, optional (see PS below)
1) Finely chop the nuts and toss them into a bowl along with the raisins and corn flakes.
2) Gently melt the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave oven on low power. Pour the chocolate into the bowl and stir until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.
3) Drop mounds of the candy mixture into paper petit-four cups or onto a sheet of wax paper. (I use a 2-teaspoon cookie scoop to do this, but you can divide the candy by heaping teaspoonfuls.) Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Playing Around: Not surprisingly, when you've got chocolate and fruit, adding a little alcohol is never a bad idea. If you want to flame the fruit with a spirit, here's how to do it:
Put the fruit and a couple of spoonfuls of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the water boils and almost evaporates, add 1 to 2 (I prefer 2) tablespoons of whatever alcohol you're using. Get the liquid hot, remove the pan from the heat and, standing away, set the alcohol aflame. When the flames die out, most of the liquid should be gone, if not, return the pan to the heat and boil away almost all of the liquid. Having a little liquid left to stir into the candies is nice.
Here are some combinations to play around with:
Raisins + Rum or Brandy
Prunes + Armagnac (I made prune/Armagnac/pecan crunchies as soon as I got to Paris)
Dried Apricots + Amaretto or Grand Marnier
Dried Cranberries + Vodka (use just a little) or Chambord
Dried Strawberries + Framboise, Creme de Cassis or Kirsch
PS:Important Addition: Sally just commented that fleur de sel might be a good addition and she's so right. In fact,after my first few batches I started putting a little fleur de sel into the mix. I'm sorry I forgot to mention it and I'm glad to have been reminded. Thanks, Sally.
Have fun and let me know what combinations you create.
Tags: 1-2-3 Bake!
, Baking From My Home to Yours
, Chocolate Crunchies
, Mark Bittman
, Oxo Cookie Scoop
, Parade magazine
, The New York Times
| December 27, 2009 6:54 PM
Yum! I just did something similar to use up some melted chocolate, a little caramel, some pecans and toffee bits! So good. I'll have to try throwing in some cornflakes, especially since I have a big box of them!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
| December 27, 2009 8:35 PM
I'm always intimidated by anything that sounds like candy, though I've finally mastered chocolate truffles. These crunchies look like something even a candy-phobe like me could do. I'm bookmarking.
| December 27, 2009 8:49 PM
Nice article, The combo that I have found works well is coating slivered almonds, Pepitas, rice Krispies with Grand Marnier or (triple Sec) a lot cheaper, brunnoise candied orange rind, light brown sugar and egg white
Baking small spoonful drops in 350 oven for 7 min till light brown and then dipping these little bunches in chocolate.
Hope you had a good Holiday and a Happy New Year.
| December 27, 2009 9:08 PM
Dorie, I wanted something chocolate to add to New Year's Eve dessert; already have some of your World Peace cookies waiting in the freezer to be baked--which makes me think....maybe a little fleur de sel would go a long way in these? Just can't get enough of that chocolate/salt thing. I'm gonna try it!!
| December 27, 2009 9:51 PM
I love candies like this! I've made something similar with rice krispies. These would be fun to make with kids! That's funny about the marshmallows, I've just gotten in to making them at home.
| December 27, 2009 11:10 PM
Looks super easy and delicious. Love the cornflake idea. I'll be making these soon!
| December 28, 2009 2:55 AM
Mmmm... I imagine dried sour cherries + chopped (salted!) pistachios + minced candied ginger might be lovely (and festive, to boot.) Corn flakes? Brilliant.
Happy New Year! *Molly
T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types
| December 28, 2009 8:06 AM
This recipe brings back some memories. When my brothers and I were young, we would make something called "Ting-a-lings" at the holidays which involved melted chocolate and "Wheaties" cereal. Very easy for children to make, and we still talk about them every year!
| December 28, 2009 1:05 PM
mmm -- these look good...they remind me of some cornflake cookies that someone gave me at work and I've never forgotten them and always wondered how to make them! Interesting that French chefs endorse cornflakes for baking....
Have you checked David Lebovitz's site lately? His birthday was yesterday and he said he had been waiting 10 years for someone to bake him a coconut cake for his birthday and it still hasn't happened....
| December 29, 2009 9:42 AM
So yummy and fun - and a great treat to make with kids!
My aunt actually has been making something similar for Passover for decades and I stole her recipe years ago. I make them a few times a year, not just at Passover, because they are SO good. We use toasted matzoh farfel in place of the corn flakes. But I bet corn flakes are lighter and crunchier so I'll have to give them a try!
| December 29, 2009 10:32 AM
Thank you for the article about these delicious candies. I have made mine using peanuts as the nut; the peanuts add a distinct flavor--excellent!
| December 29, 2009 6:39 PM
How simple yet delicious sounding. Thanks so much for sharing!
| December 30, 2009 4:20 AM
This is a new candy! I also made something like this last Christmas for the children! They loved it@
| December 30, 2009 10:20 AM
Incredible chruncies! Just made them for after-dinner New Year's Eve treats...using gently crushed Crispix corn and rice cereal. And they didn't even elevate a diabetic's blood sugar! Thanks, Dorie, for creating and sharing another delectable delight. Happy New Year to you and the Greenspans Three.
Antonin@Frogs And Men
| December 31, 2009 5:39 AM
I tried the apricots with amaretto....it was delicious (but of course, amaretto with anything is delicious....). Do you have any suggestions for remplacements for the cornflakes perhaps?
Thank you for the recipe!
| December 31, 2009 12:17 PM
These reminded me of something I used to make as a kid (in middle school, right up there with Ellio's frozen pizza and Nacho cheese Doritos): melted semisweet chocolate chips melted, and a can of crispy chow mein noodles! Your version sounds wonderful to my grown-up palate!!!
Erika - In Erika's Kitchen
| December 31, 2009 2:22 PM
I make candies like this quite often, either in clumps like yours or as bark. My standard combination: chopped dried cherries (usually Bing, tart Montmorency, and Rainier, mixed), salted roasted Marcona almonds, and crumbled amaretti cookies. It's the favorite of both my mother and my father-in-law, so I make some whenever either is visiting. Oh, and I never temper my chocolate, either. Just too darn lazy. ;)
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| January 5, 2010 3:14 AM
i love making candy - so i am all over this! nothing wrong with real simple and fast, right?
for breakfast just yesterday, i made homemade granola and added shaved dark chocolate and fleur de sel. and a typical afternoon snack of mine is medjool dates stuffed with dark chocolate, again sprinkled with fleur de sel. so my chocolate crunchies will follow that theme for sure - your recipe above, playing around, dates + fleur de sel.
ooooh, wait, perhaps another version using espresso powder. chocolate crunchies for breakfast, it makes perfect sense - coffee AND cornflakes !! :)
thanks for the recipe, this one's going to be repeated here often i think...
| January 5, 2010 8:58 AM
What cereal can I substitute for the corn flakes? Will granola work?
Thanks and happy new year!
| January 5, 2010 10:08 AM
I love your ideas for crunchy variations and am so happy that so many of you have tried them. You've proved what I thought -- these candies are just about infinitely play-aroundable.
For those of you who asked what you could use instead of cornflakes, the answer is almost anything or nothing. I like cornflakes because they give a lot of crunch and almost no chew. They're very light and, as I wrote, they resemble the feuilletine that I like so much. But you could use rice krispies, for sure, or any of the other cereals that readers have mentioned.
My own preference would be for something less solid than granola, but there are no rules here.
| January 6, 2010 6:09 PM
I make a version of this for Passover with crushed matzo, nuts and raisins--everyone loves it! I'm going to try it with cornflakes, thanks.
| January 7, 2010 1:36 PM
I ate chocolate covered corn flakes when I lived in Israel. I've never seen them anywhere else, and they were SUCH A GOOD SNACK. We were all like....look, the corn flakes have chocolate on them!
I can't wait to find an occassion to make these
| January 9, 2010 12:06 AM
I think its nothing new at all. It has been so long ago when I saw people making these.
| January 11, 2010 9:50 PM
I just finished making these, and I didn't even get to try one. My kids ate them before they were finished chilling. I guess they are officially a family favorite!
Karen replied to comment from Lalaland
| January 17, 2010 9:01 PM
Lalaland, my grandmother made things like this all the time when we visited: Cashews and chow mein noodles were two of her favorite inclusions. This was back in the 1960's. :)
Everything is cyclical!
| January 18, 2010 10:21 PM
YUM, dorie. i think i will LOVE these. if you use rice krispies, would they soften too much? we've got huge boxes from a sale. ugh i am tired of rice krispy treats!!
| January 20, 2010 10:58 AM
Delicious and yummy breakfastâ€¦.I am readyâ€¦Thanks for sharing..
martha in princeton
| January 22, 2010 7:12 PM
Not to steal your thunder Dorie but my grandmother made these cookies in the 1930's. In fact its in several editions of her church cookbook up through the 1970s! She used dates instead of raisins sometimes and that made them all the richer.
| February 4, 2010 3:48 PM
I absolutely love this recipe! I just made my own version using cashews, dried cranberries, coconut, and substituting crispy rice cereal for the corn flakes for the crunch. I just posted about it on my blog. THANK YOU!
| March 14, 2010 7:29 PM
Rose Berenbaum Levy's Neo Classic Buttercream with pistachio and dark chocolate.
| May 9, 2010 12:19 AM
These are so delicious! I love the no bake desserts. Can't wait to try this more dark chocolatey recipe than what I hate. I think the one I have for corn flakes is with butter pecan.. it's really good too, just can't wait to do the chocolate!
| November 25, 2010 5:48 PM
I made something like this, too. I only used cornflakes and caramel though. It took like 10 minutes to do.
Would like to try your recipe though.
Christmas Decorating Ideas
| November 29, 2010 4:35 AM
I am very happy to say that I tried this recipe and it came out great so I think everyone should try it.
| March 4, 2011 9:04 PM
This reminded me of spider treats. I substitute taught while working my way through college. Teachers often left the poor sub with terrible classes. My worse was the Spider Treats class! Following the instructions, I melted chocolate bits and poured them over ChowMein Noodles and peanuts and tossed until cool enough to handle. The children were then supposed to take small handfuls and arrange them on a platter. Sadly, after watching the 5 and 6 yr olds putting their fingers into every body orifice, I refused to eat anything they touched. They were very disappointed, I lied and said I was diabetic... I learned that one can make a child wash their hands but given enough time, they undo the clean very effectively. I later tried the recipe at home and they were rather tasty! I am definitely going to try corn flakes though!
| May 14, 2012 9:43 AM
This looks so YUMMY! I am going to try it as soon as I get home. Possibly without the rasins and with an extra 1/2 cup of peanuts. Fingers Crossed!
replied to comment from Desirae
| May 16, 2012 10:23 AM
Desirae- I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Please let me know how how it turns out with your substitutions.
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