Showing posts with label crafters companion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafters companion. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Awesome Honeycomb / Puff Candy Recipe - Fast and Easy !

Ah - so who was it wanted this recipe again ?
Let me see...... I think it was almost all of out on our Facebook Page !

Sorry it's taken me so long. Time to get this little blog back up to date.

In the UK, we call this stuff honeycomb, hokey pokey and even puff candy. You'll know the stuff - it's like the inside of a Crunchie Candy Bar. However, if you have ever made it at home, you'll find it's never quite like the inside of a Crunchie bar.

The biggest differences are that the air bubbles in the home made stuff are normally much bigger.
It really sinks in the middle of the pan.
Impossible to score into chunks and shatters into crumbs or millions of pieces.
Sticks to your teeth and your jaws lock together.

Well - this recipe sorts out almost all of the problems. I say ALMOST as it's still a devil to cut.... but as long as you score and then snap, it's an awful lot better than the way most people make it.

I made the pretty Bird house gift box using the Crafters Companion Sweet Treats boards  - which lets you make loads of cute gift boxes in various shapes such as milk cartons and takeout boxes very simply with A4 card stock. Even better - currently comes as a bundle with a DVD.

You should be able to see from the photos that the air bubbles are tight and close together than when golden syrup is used. For this recipe, you DO need corn syrup - otherwise the texture and bite is very different. Most larger Tesco's now stock it in the American section - or you can buy it on

This honeycomb candy will store for a few days only in an airtight jar - but if you dip (totally) in tempered chocolate, it stores well for a couple of months... if you can resist it that long.

1/2 tsp gelatin granules 
1 tsp of water
1.1/2 cups (375mls total measure in a jug) of white, granulated sugar
1/2 cup / 125mls corn syrup
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 cup / 125mls water
1.1/2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda (sifted)

Preparation is key here. Get everything ready before you start and have it all to hand.

Mix the gelatine granules and 1 tsp of water together and set aside.

Sift the bicarbonate of soda and set aside.

Keep both of these very close by you - along with a whisk !

Put the corn syrup, honey, sugar and water in a large heavy based pan. Give a little stir to combine and then put on heat and bring to the boil. DON'T STIR !

Brush the sides of the pan down on the inside with a wet pastry brush to make sure no sugar is crystallizing in the pan.

Using a candy thermometer, take the temperature up to around 146 > 148deg C. The syrup should be a mid honey colour.

Remove from the heat and let it sit until it stops bubbling. Whisk in the soaked gelatine granules until they melt - it's going to bubble up..... and put back on a medium heat.

The mix will start to loosen up again very quickly. Dump in the bicarbonate of soda and give it a good whisk. It will foam like a volcano. You need to mix in all the white powder - but it's critical to only just mix it in and no more. Whisk too much and the whole lot will go flat ! It only takes about 20 seconds.

Tip the whole lot out in one swift move into the 8" pan. It will rise a bit - probably above the pan - then fall back some.

Set aside (don't move it) for 3 or 4 hours to cool and harden.

Score with a serrated knife and snap into strips. You can then score again and snap into chunks.

Any left over rubble like chunks are awesome sprinkled over ice cream.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - February 2014

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Raspberry, Vanilla and Black Pepper Chocolates - RECIPE and TUTORIAL - Union Jack Flag

These beautiful chocolates were made using our unique, registered design chocolate mould depicting the British Union Jack Flag. This 12 cell silicone mold is available from, currently priced at £4.49

In this blog post, I'm going to tell you how to make these chocolates and the pretty handmade chocolate box shown above. For those of you that are avid blog and Facebook followers, we're introducing PROJECT PACKS so you can join in many of our forthcoming creations.

This first project pack will include the BOXER board with scoring tool, double sided tape pen, 9 sheets of pretty Kanban card (two each of the British patterns shown, plus 1 each of 5 colours in polka dot), a sheet of acetate for making aperture windows in chocolate boxes, 100 mini paper cases and union jack silicone chocolate mould.

The goods in this pack would normally cost over £30.00 with UK shipping, but the project pack will be just £23.99 including UK delivery. International shipping options are also available.

Lets get started !

First of all, you will need some tempered chocolate. I chose to use milk couveture chocolate. Most supermarket chocolate has had most of the cocoa butter content removed and replaced with vegetable oil. It's really not suitable for tempering. Tempering is what gives you that beautiful sheen and snap.

If buying couveture chocolate, two brands I would recommend are Callebaut and Belcolade. If you are just starting out however, you'll find that Lidl's dark chocolate is pretty good and is generally suitable for microwave tempering. Just be sure to chop it up into small pieces.

There is a short video guide to microwave chocolate tempering here (see part 1). I also wrote a blog post about tempering a few months ago.

First of all, take a chocolate mould of your choice (at least 2cm deep). Place it on top of a baking tray and fill all the cells FULL of chocolate. Give the mould (on the tray) a good rap on the counter to help get rid of any air bubbles. Then, pour all of the chocolate back out into the bowl.

You really need both hands to do this ! I was trying to tip it out with one hand and photograph with the other. This made rather a lot of mess !

Using a bench scraper, wall paper scraper or flat spatula, scrape all the excess chocolate off the top surface of the mould. Leave the mould for about 5 mins until the chocolate begins to set, then pop in the fridge for a further 5 minutes to fully harden.

Now, make the chocolate filling. This mix will make enough to fill approx 48 chocolates. You may prefer to scale down the volume. It's a versatile recipe and easily adapted by changing the alcohol to some other liqueur or flavouring


50g butter
12g glucose
350g tempered white chocolate
1 tablespoon Chambord (raspberry liquer)
1/4tsp black pepper
seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod

First of all, put the room temperature unsalted butter, glucose, pepper and vanilla pod seeds in a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Change to a wooden spoon and gradually mix in the tempered white chocolate. Once combined, mix in the liquer.

Put this mix into a disposable piping bag. Tie a knot at the top.

Get your moulds back out the fridge, and pipe filling into the chocolate shells. It's very important that the shells are not over full. You need at least 3mm of space above the filling to be able to cap them off with chocolate after filling !

After capping with chocolate, pop into the fridge for 10 mins to fully set up. Remove (wearing gloves - so not to put fingerprints on your chocolates.


Take your boxing board. One side has metric measurements and the other side is inches. For this box, I used the metric side.

Turn the board so the end that says BOX LID is facing the top.

Take a sheet of A4 stock card and score it  using your scoring tool (with the card portrait and on the reverse) at 11cm. 

You need to do this twice and cut two pieces of card to 215mm x 110mm. Note - these pieces of card need to be IDENTICAL in size although they do not have to be the same pattern. 

Choose which piece you are going to use for the lid, and which piece for the base. That needs to be decided now !

Score the lid at the 2.5cm marking on all four sides (right round) - then ROTATE the board and do the same for the base. If you don't turn the board round, you'll end up with two lids that will not fit together.

Where the folds cross over, cut some small V's out. These will create the box flaps. Do this on both top and base pieces.

If you want an aperture / window in the box, measure 1cm down from the fold at the narrow end of the box and cut out a piece 40mm wide x 45mm deep.

If using a coloured card (ie not cream or white), take a felt marker and run this over the cut edge for the aperture. This is not essential, but does really neaten up the finished box.

Cut a piece of acetate a little bigger than the window in the box. 

Use the mouse pen on the card, and put a line of double sided sticky tape close around the window. Press on the acetate.

Fold the sides for the box. Use the mouse glue pen on the front side corners of the box to apply the sticky tape and then press to hold the corners in place

That's it ! Place 5 chocolates in mini paper cases into each box and it's done :-)

Quick, simple and easy ....

Happy Box Making !

Sarah-Jane Nash - - April 2013

PLEASE Mummy - just one more !

Monday, 14 January 2013

Double Vanilla Fudge - Fabulously Easy Recipe !

 This is a new REGISTERED DESIGN silicone bakeware mould (available from mid March) which we have designed, specially for making bars of fudge, toffee, and Scottish tablet. Each cell will make a bar weighing approx 100g. Pre-sectioned markings makes these bars pretty to package and easy to portion.

Simply pour in your hot fudge /  toffee / candy. Allow to set and then pop out with ease.

By basic fudge recipe is very versatile and quick to make. Do however take extreme care. Hot sugar is ridiculously hot and can cause serious burns.

2 cups (250mls) of caster sugar
125g salted butter
3/4 cup of evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 marshmallows / 100g (Sainsbury's pink and whites)
150g white chocolate

Put all the ingredients apart from the chocolate into a large heavy based pan.

Bring to a rolling boil on a medium heat, stirring continuously. Boil for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Pour into your moulds. Leave to cool and then transfer to a fridge for a few hours.

This recipe is very versatile. You can additionally add a cup of dry ingredients such as broken oreos, smarties.... Try swapping out the white chocolate for dark, omit the vanilla and add some dried cherries and a tablespoon of kirch when it reached boiling point. Bailey works well as does Malibu. Various flavouring extracts and fruit and nut combos. It's simply as versatile as you are.

This recipe makes 8 x 100g bars using this style of mould. However, if you additionally choose to add a cup of dry ingredients such as candies, biscuits, dried fruit or nuts - then expect to get 10 (possibly 11) bars from your batch.

The packaging shown above was very simple to make. I used THE BOXER which is a tool from Crafter's Companion and available to buy on our website for £9.99 along with a selection of stock cards. The Boxer can be used on it's own - but is also compatible with THE ULTIMATE PRO. Just be careful to make sure the card does not slip when using The Boxer on it's own - when used in conjunction with Ultimate Pro, it backs up to a hard straight edge....

Take one sheet of A4 stock card. An A4 sheet is generally 8" / 200mm wide.

Cut a strip of card 200mm long x 90mm wide.

Here, I'm using THE BOXER in conjunction with ULTIMATE PRO. The Boxer can be used to make boxes of many shapes and sizes, but today we're just doing a really easy project to make simple card sleeves for fudge and toffee bars.

Use the scoring tool to score a line across your card strip at 6.5cm

Fold the first crease and then score the next line 2cm down from the first crease.

Repeat with another crease at 6.5cm and a following crease at 2cm. You will be left with some excess card. That's ok - we're going to put some double sided tape on that flap to complete our box sleeve.

Wrap your fudge bar in some cellophane. If you don't have any, clingfilm / saran wrap will do...

As you can see, the sleeve just needs a little strip of double sided tape. Perhaps if you have some nice labels with your name on, you may prefer to use those. Finish off with some pretty ribbon. You can make three of these pretty sleeves from one sheet of A4 card in just a couple of minutes.

Make your gift extra-special - after all, presentation is everything !

Sarah-Jane Nash - - 15th January 2013

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Handmade Chocolate Truffles Galore - Christmas Hamper Bake Off

Keeping up my tradition of making Christmas hampers for family and friends, this past week has been rather chaotic in our kitchen !

Kathryn (my cousin) moved to Norfolk at the beginning of this month and has joined us as a full time staff member. Unaware of how much work needed to be done to create the hampers, she was quite keen on me roping her in for some extra assistance.

Home made and hand rolled fresh cream truffles are a real luxury. They are very different to store bought chocolates and generally have a much shorter shelf life - although they'll store 1 to 2 weeks if refrigerated, longer if you use long life cream.

As you can see - we made a LOT of truffles and unfortunately it turned out there were not even any left overs. I'm guessing there were around 180 truffles in total.

Truffles are actually quite easy to make - but this is time consuming and messy. If you can't bear getting sticky and messy, then making these may not be a project you will enjoy. However, if you can ignore that bit and prepared that chocolate WILL get everywhere, then the resulting chocolates look really good indeed.

A bit of pretty packaging really sets them off !

We'll be stocking the chocolate box inners, stock card to create them and Crafters Companion Boxer Tool, boards and Ultimate Companion Pro at from January 2013.

The actual box is made using A4 card stock and a simple box making tool  - both of which we will also be offering for sale (including many card designs). The boxes are simple and easy to make and will really make the difference by giving the end product a very professional finish.

I'm currently in the process of noting down some sizes for boxes I'm making to fit around the various sizes of chocolate box inners. Hopefully I'll be able to do a pdf or tutorial post very soon showing both the finished boxes with the dimensions which will make it simple for blog followers to re-create these at  home.

In this finished box of 24 truffles, there are 4 different types : 

Whisky and honey in a milk chocolate shell
Sour cherry and dark chocolate rolled in cocoa powder
Malibu and toasted coconut in white chocolate
Coffee cream in a double thick white chocolate shell

To make the ganache fillings, you will need to scald some double cream by bringing it to the boil I like to add a tablespoon of corn syrup or  glucose to the cream. This helps extend the lifespan a little and but without affecting taste and helps the cream and chocolate emulsify for a smoother feel in your mouth.

Pour the scaled cream over some good quality Belgian chocolate. Allow the cream to melt the chocolate and then stir to combine. If the chocolate has not fully melted, carefully zap for a few seconds in the microwave if required.

Add any flavourings or add ins at this point and then allow to set. Setting can take several hours in the fridge (preferably over night) or an hour in the freezer.

Some ganaches will be softer than others, and the ratio that you use of chocolate to cream may depend on the chocolate brand and type. Dark chocolate is generally a 1 : 1 ratio of chocolate to cream. Use less cream for milk chocolate and less again for white. 


Whisky and Honey - 300g of milk chocolate, 200g of double cream, 1 tablespoon of whisky, 1 tablespoon of honey

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate - 300g of dark chocolate, 300g of double cream, 1 teaspoon of liquid glucose, 4 tablespoons (about 100g) of sour cherry jam

Malibu and Toasted Coconut - 350g white chocolate, 120g double cream, 1 tablespoon of Malibu, 3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut ( plus an extra tablespoon or two for sprinkling later ), 1 teaspoon of liquid glucose

Coffee Cream - 300g milk chocolate, 250g double cream, 1 x sachet of  Starbucks Vie instant ground coffee, 1 teaspoon liquid glucose

To make the ganache fillings, put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer (stirring constantly) to scald.  Add the liquid glucose and then pour over the chocolate. 

Leave for a minute or so - the heat of the cream will start to melt the chocolate and then stir from the centre outward until all combined. When the chocolate has melted, add in the alcohol if using and any other extras (such as coconut or jam)

Allow to cool and then refrigerate until chilled until firm.

Take about 1/2 to 3/4 size teaspoon amounts of the ganache and roll into balls. NOTE - your hands need to be as cold as possible. This stuff is sticky and melts fast !

Dust your hands in either icing sugar (for dipping in any chocolate) or cocoa powder before rolling in milk / dark chocolate.

Refrigerate the balls until firm before dipping in tempered chocolate of your choice. 

After dipping, drizzle with contrasting melted chocolate, sprinkle nuts / coconut etc on top, or roll in cocoa powder for an intense chocolatey hit.

To make the tartan chocolate box shown, I used one sheet of A4 Tartan card stock and one sheet of A4 gold card stock. Trim the card to 21cm wide x 27cm long.

Use your Crafters Companion Boxing Tool and score the card for the box lid at 2.5cm all the way round. Turn the Boxing tool round and 2.5cm for the base on the gold card. The tool is specially designed for the box tops and bottoms to be a slightly different size so the two slot neatly together.

Fold the edges on the score lines and cut the corners as shown in the instructions for the Boxer tool. You will need to glue these or use double sided sticky tape. See my chocolate packaging video on Youtube for a demonstration of a box being made.

I used 2 x 12 cell chocolate blister packs inside this box. I cut out the front and put acetate behind.