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Opera Creams

Opera Cream Candy These cream-filled chocolates are so smooth and rich you won’t be able to stop at just one!

I work in a genetics lab.  Every year at Christmas my co-worker Gail brings in the most wonderful candy I’ve ever eaten.  Every year I ask for the recipe and she smiles and says that she can give me the recipe but that I’d need to visit and learn the recipe from her.  Now that I’ve made it, I understand.  This is not a typical Easybaked recipe, it’s very involved.  It’s fun and challenging and oh- soooo worth the effort though!

Gail recently retired and about a week ago I visited her in her kitchen to learn how to make opera creams.

This is a recipe passed down to her from her mom, who had all kinds of thoughts about the making of this candy.  My favorite was that the recipe works best on sunny days and if it’s raining you might as well just wait to make it another day.  We had a beautiful sunny December day to make our candy on, so I’m sure she would have approved.

Lets start with the recipe– that’s the easy part.  I’m going to post it twice– once with pictures and videos and once just straight so you can read it easier.

Gail's moms recipe card

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Chocolate (of your choice) for dipping- we used tempered dark chocolate bits

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put sugar, cream, cream of tartar and corn syrup into a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Use a pastry brush and a little water to brush all of mixture down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar stuck to the sides.

Use a pastry brush to brush water down sides of panGail and her moms candy thermometer

  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, uncover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Bring mixture to 240F degrees
  • (While you are waiting for this to come to temp, butter the bottom and sides of a shallow glass or ceramic dish.)

Bring to 240F degreesDon't stir!!!

  • Remove from stove and add salt, butter and vanilla– do not stir!
  • Pour mixture into buttered dish (don’t use plastic!) and allow this to cool completely (we put it on the back porch where it was cool and this took 2 hours)
  • Spoon cooled mixture onto clean countertop (it will be like a very sticky caramel)

Pour into a non-plastic dishCooled mixtureKnead into a soft cream

  • Work with hands until firm and creamy- it takes 20-30 minutes and this is pure craziness….here are the stages to expect:
  1. sticky caramel- fairly firm
  2. slimy/ buttery texture– almost like its falling apart
  3. sticky but workable
  4. so sticky that you literally cannot move your fingers and you are sure you will have to get the mixture surgically removed.
  5. no longer sticky- but like playdough with little crumbs falling off at the edges…keep kneading!
  6. Finally creamy and smooth- kneads together in one beautiful dough- like ball.

I filmed Gail as she went through this process.  Click HERE to see the near-miraculous transformation from sticky to creamy smooth!

  • Place this ball of filling in a dish, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2 days….yes. TWO DAYS.
  • Bring cream filling back to room temp and roll into balls.

Roll into ballsDip into chocolate...

  • Dip into melted chocolate and cool.
  • You can mix nuts or coconut into the cream if you like, or just leave them plain.


Opera Cream CandyMy thoughts: amazingly yummy.  The cream is just like no other candy I’ve tried.  It is worth every bit if the effort it took us to make these.  I found myself cringing as people popped them whole into their mouths though…I kept thinking, “SAVOR those!!!  You’ve no idea how hard I worked on them!!!”  So hard, in fact that I took a two hour nap when I got home!

Opera cream CandyNow for the recipe in an easy-to-read format:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t butter
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Chocolate (of your choice) for dipping- we used dark tempered chocolate bits

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put sugar, cream, cream of tartar and corn syrup to a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Use a pastry brush and a little water to brush all of mixture down the sides of the pan to remove any sugar stuck to the sides.
  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, uncover and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
  • Bring mixture to 240F degrees
  • (While you are waiting for this to come to temp, butter the bottom and sides of a shallow glass or ceramic dish.)
  • Remove from stove and add butter and vanilla– do not stir!
  • Pour mixture into buttered dish (don’t use plastic!) and allow this to cool completely (we put it on the back porch where it was cool and this took 2 hours)
  • Spoon cooled mixture onto clean countertop (it will be like a very sticky caramel)
  • Work with hands until firm and creamy.
  • Place this ball of filling in a dish, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2 days.
  • Bring cream filling to room temp and roll into balls.
  • Dip into melted chocolate and cool.
  • You can mix nuts or coconut into the cream if you like, or just leave them plain.

Opera Cream Candy

A huge “thank-you” to Gail for spending so much time teaching me her family recipe!  We had such a fun day together cooking AND trying lime phosphates while we waited for candy to cool!

Having fun while the candy cools!

Enjoy!!!!!  ~r

Other (easier!) Christmas recipe ideas from Easybaked~ Click on the image to be taken to the recipe:

Chocolate molten lava cupcakesCake balls filled with cream cheese frostingChocolate bonbonsHot Chocolate Pops!

DIY Caramel Corn and other great gift ideas from Easybaked!

I love making and getting creative edible gifts. I’m not talking just a plate of Christmas cookies here…I’m talking unique and different.  Take Caramel Corn, for example.  It is my grandmother’s favorite and I remember spending long evenings watching my parents try various caramel corn recipes in search of the perfect (yet not too messy!) one.  There was the giant brown sack method (where you shake the caramel in) and the cookie sheet one where you pour the caramel on and try to mix it on the sheet (my dog liked that method– lots of popcorn on the floor!)

A few years ago a friend handed me an adorable little Christmas package with mysterious items inside (all tied up with a cute tag and bow) and when I opened it I found ingredients for caramel corn.  All I needed was butter….. I promptly made it and YUM!!!  Quick, easy, delicious and SUCH a creative gift.  This post is dedicated to the recipes you can use this Christmas to make creative and memorable gifts for your friends and families.

CARAMEL CORN:

  • Place  1/2c. packed brown sugar in a small bag and zip or tie it tightly.
  • Place 8 large marshmallows in a small bag and zip or tie it tightly.
  • Place both of the above ingredients in a larger bag or gift box with one packet of microwave popcorn.


Close the bag or box with the following directions:

  • Pop corn in microwave according to package
  • Place brown sugar, marshmallows and 1/2 stick (4T) butter into a 2 qt. bowl
  • Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring well at 1 and 1/2 minutes.  Syrup should be smooth and bubbly.
  • Pour over popped corn and enjoy!

Click on the photo below to get free printable tags to use with this gift:

OREO POPS:

These fun chocolate-covered Oreos on a stick are great for any season.  I made them for the 1st time last spring for a baby shower.  Change up the sprinkles and tie some cute Christmas tags on and you have a great stocking stuffer- or even a holiday centerpiece bouquet!  All the how-to tips, including pictures are available if you just click HERE.  I also made up some free tags for you to tie on your pops~   Click on the picture below to get the free printable file:

HOT CHOCOLATE POPS:

I made these as gifts for SO many people last year.  I made extra for myself.  These are so easy and SO delicious~ everyone will LOVE them.  What are they?  Chocolate (in a variety of flavors and colors) hardened over a marshmallow on a stick.  You stir them into hot milk and make the most creamy, delicious hot chocolate ever.  The best part?  You can make them WAY ahead.  I made some in December and used them in March…still wonderful.  The recipe and directions can be found by clicking HERE.  If you want to print some free tags to tie on your pops click on the image below:

SPICED MOCHA MIX:

My cousin Eden made little jars of this wonderful mix for us several years ago at Christmas and I’ve used the recipe ever since.  It’s just wonderful, easy to make, keeps for months in a sealed bag or jar and makes a great gift.  Want the recipe and easy directions?  Click HERE.  Free printable tags?  Click on the picture below to get them: (I actually printed these on full-sheet labels, cut them apart and made stickers for my jars…just another idea…)

I hope that these ideas have inspired you to create your own fun and unique Christmas gifts!!!  Enjoy!  ~r

Want to try some other fun Christmas recipes by Easybaked?  Click on an image below to be taken to the recipe:

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