Salted Caramel & Peppermint Hot Cocoa Snowflakes

snowflakes

Happy holidays!!

Just to be clear, I’m not the politically correct type to tell everyone happy holidays. No offense to anyone, but I’ll Merry Christmas your ears till the elves come home. But since we’re in the holiday season and it’s not Christmas yet, that’s how I’m greeting you. But anyway!

How’s it going?! Christmas shopping done? Holiday rush getting the best of you? How many elderly people have you pushed out of your way to get a sale? It’s ok, you could tell me, this is a safe place.

There’s a TON of stuff going on around here lately. I miss the days when the only thing I worried about during Christmas time was how many presents are under the tree and how long before I could open them. I’ve talked about it on the podcast I co-host. That as a child, the month of December used to last like an entire year. But now that we’re adults, it flies by in an instant. To the point where I don’t have a problem putting Christmas decorations out in the beginning of November just so we could enjoy them longer. It’s really crazy how much it has changed, but we have to do what we can to enjoy it.

So this year, we tried something new… We got a real tree!

For the wife, this is nothing new. She has fond memories of getting a real tree almost every year growing up. Having that fresh scent filling the home and all that warm fuzzy stuff. But for me? I was a real-tree virgin – scared and cautious about all the things that could go wrong, wanting to take the chance, but fighting myself along the way. Yeah, everyone does it, but there’s always that “what if?”.. Increased chance of fire, rogue armies of ants invading the home, crazy chipmunks, rabid squirrels, the list goes on and on. I was totally fine continuing the tradition my parents instilled in me of having the same plastic tree for 25+ years. But I’ll tell you the truth, after the adventure of getting it and putting it up, it’s something I’m looking forward to doing from now on!

See, we didn’t just go to the corner lot and pick a tree. Nope, we plotted a course and traveled 2.5 hours to a tree farm in the mountains! If we were going to do this real tree thing, we were going to do it right. We were going to drive up this mountain, pick a tree, cut it down, and by golly it was going to be the most beautiful tree that nature created!

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So we get there and we see a little sign for the farm. “Follow the road to the top of the mountain.” O0o0o0ok. The road was normal at first, but then the pavement went away, and suddenly we found ourselves on a one lane, uneven gravel road going up a mountain. I’m not going to lie, I was freaking scared. Not of the road but… Ok, yeah, I was scared of the road…

Up a gravel road to the top of a mountain to get a tree. What could go wrong?!

A video posted by Los (@the1llusiveman) on

But I didn’t know where we were going. I don’t know this place, I’ve never heard of it. The website was like something straight from the 90’s, but it looked alright to me so I picked it. It didn’t dawn on me till we were escalating this eerie terrain that we could be going up to some crazy dude’s backyard where he lures people with the false hope of finding a perfect tree.

Alas, the road was daunting, I’ll admit that. But once we got to the top, it opened up to this big tree farm with a view of mountainscapes every way you look. It was pretty glorious.

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The last thing the wife said before we got out of the car was “It’s just a tree, we don’t need to be spending 2 hours finding the perfect one…” But you know me.

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So 2 hours later, we finally found it!!

We actually had found one earlier, but we walked away from it and even though I assured the wife I knew where it was, I seemed to have misplaced it among the dozens and dozens of other trees that looked amazingly similar.

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So we got it cut down, wrapped up, put on the car and away we went. We haven’t ran into any crazy bugs I found bugs living in it! I went to water the tree and had something crawling around my arm. I was ready to drag it out and light a freaking match but the wife looked it up and found that there’s a 99% chance it’s a bug that lives off of tree sap. So it’s harmless.

Aside from that, the vacuum found a new home right next to the tree. Damn pine needles. They act like the tree is dying or something. I haven’t really noticed the famous scent that’s supposed to send my subconscious into a forest full of Evergreens, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it. It was really something great to do as a family, and every time I walk by it I remember that’s not just our tree, it’s our tree. So what if it’s too big, has bugs, is leaking sap like a faucet, looks like there’s a pine needle carpet underneath it, or it’s drinking more water than I shower with. It’s ours.

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Anyway, enough about trees. Let’s talk chocolate!

Well, candy melts, if you want to get technical. There’s just something about candy melts that I’m drawn to. Especially with these special silicone molds. I think it’s because they’re so simple, yet come out awesomely, it’s hard to not appreciate them.

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This year, Wilton has their usual and amazing Candy Cane Candy Melts, as well as the Sugar Cookie ones. But they also have this new flavor… Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa…

If you read that and didn’t gasp out loud, then you obviously aren’t understanding the severity of the situation. Here, let me try it again.

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa… Candy Melts…

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And they taste just as good as they sound! You get that salted caramel right up front, then it finishes with a hot cocoa taste that lingers in your mouth. So, so good.

So I figured since they tasted so good, they could really just shine on their own. Which makes showing off the silicone snowflake pan a breeze. Absolutely perfect for making something simple and amazing stand out on a platter or something at a Christmas party. The snowflakes are small and easy to grab a few, unlike the equally awesome, yet bigger bark mold I did last year.

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But then I started to think… It’s Christmas. Here I have this awesome mold, I can’t just make something simple and call it a day. So I recalled the wife’s addiction to peppermint hot chocolate and the rest is history. Let’s check it out.

Salted Caramel and Peppermint Hot Cocoa Snowflakes

Candy Cane Candy Melts
Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Candy Melts
dash of hot chocolate mix

Notes:

  • You will kinda sorta need the Wilton Silicone Snowflake Mold.
  • There’s really nothing to this. If you know how to work the ultra hidden, super secret, never-been-pressed-before setting of your microwave called “power level”, then you’re golden, my friend.
  • If you have another combination of candy melts or chips you’d like to use, then by all means, go nuts.
  • The packaging states that each cavity should get 3 candy melts. If you’re doing what we’re doing here, which is melding two different flavors together, then the rule of 3 is fine. But… If you’re doing just straight up, one flavor of candy melts, then for certain cavities I suggest using 4 candy melts. The mold has 3 shapes and the 6-pointed star shape is fine with 3 pieces. But I found myself cracking the other shapes in my first few batches. The intricate design of the snowflakes is great, but doesn’t make it easy when the candy is on the thin side. Putting 4 candy melts in those shapes instead of 3 helped a lot, I think.
  • But again, this is if you are just melting one flavor of candy melts in there.

Ok, getting to it..

  • Get yourself a handful of candy melts (it doesn’t matter which kind), and start filling the cavities. As discussed in the notes, I broke up the 4th candy melt to make it fit in the crannies of the snowflakes.

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  • Next, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes on 50% power. When it’s done, let it sit in there for about another 30 seconds. When they come out, they should be fully melted. If they’re not, get a fork or something to break up and mix around any hard pieces still not melted. Pop it back in the micro for 30 seconds at 50% power again. They should be ready now and completely melted.
  • The trick to spreading it out? Lift it about a foot off the counter and drop it. Don’t worry, it’s silicone. An elephant could step on it and it’ll still be usable*. After it’s spread nice and even, it’s time for the second layer.

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  • Get whatever you’re using – candy melts, chocolate, whatever – and melt it in a bowl. Remember, I used the Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa Candy Melts here. General rule for melting chocolate in the microwave is about 1 minute at 50% power, then 30 second intervals at 50% power till melted. Once it’s ready, just take a spoon and spoon some into the cavities.

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  • When you have the second layer in all the cavities, you could shake it back and forth to spread it out a bit. I dropped it on the counter a few times, but I was afraid it was going to sink the top layer into the bottom layer, so I wouldn’t really advise that. Either way though, you’re going to need to get in there with something narrow to spread the top layer into all the edges. Might get a little tedious but it’s not terrible.

Once everything is spread out sprinkle it with some hot cocoa mix. I just used a pinch, but if you want to cover it more, or even use something else like sprinkles or crushed candy canes, then be my guest.

  • When done, pop it in the fridge for about an hour. If you’re in a rush you could put it in the freezer for about 40 minutes, as I did every time because I’m impatient.

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  • Now the scary part! I found, just to be safe, it was good to take the edges and spread them out first. Separate them from the candy so it’s easier to extract from the mold without cracking. I’m telling you.. I broke a lot of them. But this method saved every single one I used it on.

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  • When you separated the edges, just peel back the mold while pushing up on a cavity. The candy should come right out, though with the intricate designs of the snowflakes, you’ll have to peel them out a bit.

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And that’s that. Rinse, and repeat for as many as you want. The combination of salted caramel hot cocoa and peppermint made my wife a huuuuuuuuge fan of them. The added sprinkle of mint flavored hot cocoa mix was the topper and made them addicting.

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If you’re having a Christmas get together, and you’re looking for something festive and not looking to spend hours slaving over something in the kitchen, these are crazy simple to pump out!

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So enjoy!

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*Not proven or tested. I, nor Wilton, will reimburse your purchase if your mold is stepped on by an elephant and said mold cannot be used afterwards.

 

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