Chocolate Dreams

May brings us Mother's Day and it can be a challenge at times to find ways to celebrate it that Mom will enjoy and that will give you the chance to show her how much you care. So this month, we're offering a selection of homemade chocolate candies and desserts for you to make and share with Mom. Sure, you can buy a box from the store, but how impressed will she be when you pamper her with treats made by your own hand? Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day!

Cashew Macadamia Crunch

  • 2 cups (11.5 ounce package) milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted or unsalted cashews
  • 3/4 cup chopped salted or unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil. Cover the bottom of the prepared pan with chocolate chips.

Combine the cashews, macadamia nuts, butter, sugar and corn syrup in a large heavy skillet; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to cling together and turns golden brown.

Pour the mixture over the chocolate chips in the pan, spreading evenly. Cool. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm. Remove the candy from the pan; peel off the foil. Break into pieces and store tightly covered in a cool, dry place.

  • Yields: 1 1/2 pounds
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
  • Chocolate Nut Clusters

    • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
    • 1 teaspoon shortening ( do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
    • 1 cup broken pecans or walnuts

    Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at High ( 100%) for 1 minute, stir . If necessary, microwave at HIGH for an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth when stirring. Stir in the nuts. Spoon heaping teaspoons into 1 inch Paper candy cups or paper-lined small muffin cups, filling each cup about half full.

    Refrigerate until firm. Peel off the paper cups and store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

  • Yields: 14-16 Candies
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Fudgey Cocoa No-Bake Treats

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup cocoa
    • 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
    • 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Place a piece of wax paper or foil on a tray or cookie sheet. Combine the sugar, butter, milk and cocoa in a medium saucepan.

    Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a rolling boil.

    Remove from the heat and cool for one minute.

    Add the peanut butter, oats, peanuts, and vanilla; stir to mix well. Quickly drop the mixture by heaping teaspoons onto the wax paper or foil. Cool completely. Store in a cool, dry place.

  • Yields: 4 dozen pieces
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes