Dec 3, 2015


Ginger Stuffed Lychee Dipped In Chocolate
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Holiday candy is enjoyed around the world, and especially here in Hawaii. We have so much to be thankful for, especially our local fruit. Candied fruit makes wonderful gifts and they are very easy to make. Try one of these recipes, and have a deliciously sweet Holiday season.

Crystallized Ginger
Crystalized Ginger
Click on photo to enlarge
A delicious way to enjoy ginger is to crystallize it. You can buy ginger already crystallized, or you can make it yourself. I like to make my own, it's very easy to do, here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra sugar for coating
1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

Combine water and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add ginger, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer ginger to a wire rack, set over a pan, and dehydrate in a very low 170˚F convection oven for 1 hour, or dehydrator until dry, and then cut into smaller 1/4 inch pieces. Roll the small pieces of ginger in additional sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to three months. Use in recipes, or just pop a couple of pieces in your mouth every day.

Liliko'i Chocolate Truffles
Purple and Yellow Liliko'i
The Hawaiian Passion Fruit. Click on photo to view larger

2 liliko'i
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good quality dark chocolate
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter
cocoa powder for dusting

Break chocolate into small chunks and place in a bowl. Set aside. Place a sieve on top of a saucepan, take the passion fruit pulp and mash it up to remove the juice. Discard the seeds. Add the cream and honey, stir and bring the mixture to a simmer. Pour mixture on chocolate, stir until smooth. Add butter. Leave to cool and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Shape the chocolate paste into small truffles with the help of a small slotted spoon and roll them in cocoa powder. Makes 18-20 truffles.

Candied Papaya
Candied papaya is a delicious and refreshing Hawaiian treat. The best papayas on Moloka'i is found at Kumu Farms, but papaya is also found at most grocery stores and organic stores.

Sunrise Strawberry Papayas
from Kumu Farms on Moloka'i
1 whole papaya (use completely green papaya that are firm to the touch)
6 cups warm water
1/4 cup baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Start by peeling the papaya with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then cut the papaya into 1/4-inch thick wedges. The length of the wedges may be anywhere from 3-inches to the length of the papaya.

In a large bowl, dissolve the baking powder in the water. Let the papaya wedges soak in the water for about 10 minutes.

Remove the papaya from the water, and rinse under cold water for 1-2 minutes.

In a medium-sized pot, combine the sugar and the papaya. Cook, covered, under medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, but do not add water.

After 20 minutes, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon, and cook the papaya over low heat, uncovered, for another 25-30 minutes. The papaya is ready when a thick syrup forms. Cool slightly before eating.

Makes about 1 cup, depending on the size of the papaya.

Candied Starfruit Chips
Sliced Starfruit before they are candied.
Click on photo to view larger.
2 firm-ripe yellow starfruit, about 1/2 pound total
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Take a potato peeler and remove the hard ridge at the top of the fruit. With a sharp knife, slice starfruit into thin 1/16-inch-thick star slices. If you have an adjustable-blade slicer, use that. Remove any seeds that you see on the slices.

Combine the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Carefully add the thin starfruit slices, remove the pot from the heat and let stand, uncovered, 15 minutes. Pour starfruit into a sieve set over a bowl and drain 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200˚F. Put a Silpat liner on a large baking sheet. Arrange the starfruit slices in 1 layer on liner (discard broken slices). Bake until dry, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, then remove chips to a rack to cool. Store layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature. Chill starfruit syrup for another use. Makes about 32 chips.

Candied Pineapple
1 medium ripe pineapple
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Peel pineapple and slice into bite sized chunks. In a heavy saucepan bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil. Add pineapple chunks. Cook over low heat until fruit becomes transparent. Drain pineapple on rack and allow to dry. Store in airtight container. Makes 10 servings.

Adults Only... "Chocolate Bourbon Balls"
This is an easy, no-bake recipe. I make these during the holidays every year to give as gifts, they are delicious and very potent. They should not be served without checking the recipients ID.

Chocolate Bourbon Balls
To enlarge, click on photo

1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup Maker's Mark bourbon (you can use whatever brand you like, this is my favorite)
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (15.25 ounce package of Orios with cream centers removed, then crushed)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup finely chopped pecans to roll the bourbon balls in

In a small bowl, let 1/2 cup finely chopped cherries macerate in 1/4 cup of Makers Mark bourbon for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine well 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup each of firmly packed dark brown sugar and finely chopped pecans, the cherry mixture, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and firmly roll the balls in finely chopped pecans. Store the bourbon balls in an airtight container in your refrigerator for at least 1 week before serving. Makes about 30 servings.

Apricot Pecan Balls
1/2 pound dried apricots
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup small pecan pieces
1 cup flaked coconut (for rolling)

Mince apricots in a food processor. Place in a bowl and toss with brown sugar. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut, condensed milk and pecan pieces. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in coconut. Keep refrigerated.

Dark Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peels
1 large navel orange
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the orange part of the peel from the stem end of the orange down to the navel end, forming long 3/4 to 1-inch-wide strips. Bring a heavy small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the peels and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then rinse the peels under cold water. Repeat cooking the peels in the saucepan with fresh boiling water and rinsing under cold water.

Stir the sugar and 1/2 cup of fresh water in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add the orange peels and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the chocolate in a small bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Dip 1 1/2-inches of each candied orange peel into the chocolate then place them on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes. Makes 12 pieces.

Macadamia Nut Pralines
Being a Southern boy, I grew up with pecan pralines. Now that I've spent 13 years in Hawaii, it's time to change my nut allegiance to macadamia nuts. Macadamia nut trees grow all over Moloka'i and to my surprise, they are even good eaten raw. If you ever get to Moloka'i, be sure and visit Purdy's Natural Macadamia Nut Farm.

2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups crushed roasted macadamia nuts

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a 3-quart saucepan, mix together sugar and baking soda. Add cream and place over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until golden brown and mixture reaches 235˚F on a candy thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes. Add butter and crushed macadamia nuts and mix together until butter has melted and mixture is well combined, about 1 minute. Drop 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart; let cool completely. Makes 2 dozen pralines.

Tropical Fruit Jellies
Any flavor of jam you happen to have in your pantry will work to make these simple, delicious candies, however tropical jam works best here in Hawaii: Pineapple jam, lilikoi jam, mango jam, papaya jam, lime jam, whatever you like.

You will need:
8 x 8-inch baking pan
3-quart saucepan
Heatproof silicone spatula 
Candy thermometer 
Cutting board 
Parchment paper

Oil for the pan
11⁄2 cups jam
3⁄4 cup water 
3⁄4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (3envelopes) unflavored gelatin
1⁄4 teaspoon citric acid 
1⁄3 cup powdered sugar 
1⁄3 cup cornstarch

oil an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.

combine the jam, water, sugar, gelatin, and citric acid in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir constantly and slowly over medium-high heat with a heatproof spatula until the syrup reaches 220°F. Pour into the prepared pan, and skim off any foam with a spoon. let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. unmold the jelly onto a cutting board lined with parchment paper. cut into 1-inch squares and roll in the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container. Makes 64 pieces.

Sesame Coconut Bars
Ingredients for the cookie base:
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) raw brown sugar or organic sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole-wheat pastry flour, sifted

Ingredients for the sesame-coconut layer:
1 ounce (1/4 cup) whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup, firmly packed) unsweetened shredded coconut
1 to 2 ounces (1/4 to 1/2 cup) sesame seeds, coarsely ground

Make the cookie base. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.

Cream the butter with the salt and sugar. Add the sifted flour and blend together. Using your hands, press out the dough over the bottom of the parchment-lined pan in an even layer. Using a fork, make holes all over the surface of the dough (this is called docking). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Bake the cookie base for 20 minutes, until it is just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and cool for at least 5 minutes before topping.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer or whisk until light and thick. Add the honey and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the flour and baking powder and beat to blend. Add the coconut and sesame seeds and stir together. Spread in an even layer over the cookie base, scraping out every last bit with a rubber spatula. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes, until the surface is just beginning to color. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before cutting into squares. Makes 18 to 20 squares.

Hawaiian Fruit Squares
1 1/2 cups dried mango, diced
1 cup dried pineapple, diced
1/4 cup crystalized ginger, diced
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend for about 3 minutes. Remove the blended ingredients to an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Press the ingredients evenly across the pan to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to harden overnight, then cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for a week, or you can freeze them for up to a month.

Ginger Stuffed Lychee Dipped In Chocolate
Fresh Lychee from Moloka'i farmers market
Lychee are one of my favorite tropical fruits, especially when they are fresh and in season. Inside the bumpy red peeling is a beautiful white pearl of lychee fruit. Inside of the fruit is a big black seed, which is already removed when you buy whole lychees in a can. Lychee tastes like nothing else, sweet and tropical. You add candied ginger and semi-sweet chocolate and you're Tasting Hawaii.

2 cans (20 ounces each) whole peeled lychee in heavy syrup
4 ounces of preserved candied ginger
12 ounces of Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 limes or lemons, juiced

Note: All of these ingredients can be purchased at Friendly Market here on Moloka'i.
For more lychee recipes on this site, click here.

Drain the 2 cans of whole lychee. Put the lychee in a bowl and marinate with lime or lemon juice for about 20 minutes. Spread the lychee fruit between paper towels to dry for about 1 hour. I do this because canned lychee is very sweet and needs the acid of the limes or lemons to play against the sweetness of the chocolate.

Cut candied ginger into small slivers about 1/4-inch long, and carefully stuff the cavity of each lychee with as many of the ginger pieces that fit.

Combine chocolate and shortening in a large Pyrex measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute on high. Stir to combine, then let it sit for about 5 minutes to thicken the chocolate a little.

Carefully dip each ginger stuffed lychee in the melted chocolate with a teaspoon, one at a time, coating them completely. Carefully lift the lychee out of the chocolate and place the stuffed side down on wax paper. A little pool of chocolate will form around each lychee. When finished dipping the lychees, drizzle any remaining chocolate over them and make nice patterns.

Refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes. Makes about 30 servings.

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