Flavored Oils - For Candy Recipes And Much More
Flavored oils are mostly used for candy recipes, although they are delicious for many other dishes, as well. My recipes and favorite brands...
How to flavor candy and chocolates
Flavored oils are the perfect method!
When you cook up a batch of candy, you simply add a few drops of your desired flavoring oil or extract to the mix. Here is a basic recipe for hard candy. Simple enough.
With chocolate, however, it's a bit different. Add too much liquid - it seizes. That's where highly-concentrated oils come in handy. Although a few of them are not recommended for use with chocolate (if they're water-based) - I've used them anyway, and I've never had any problems.
What ingredients do we need for flavored chocolate candy?
- High-quality coating chocolate. Why coating (or dipping) chocolate? Because this type of chocolate has been designed for quick and easy melting without having to go through an elaborate tempering process. If you would throw a Hershey's milk chocolate bar in the microwave, it would melt down and seize into an ugly lump. Then you could neither pour it into molds, nor stir some luscious flavoring into it. Coating chocolate, however, has the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable oil. It will melt evenly and stay pourable for a while. Finally, it will set up hard in the freezer - with a nice shine to boot.
- Food-grade flavored oils. My favorite brand is LorAnn. They offer a huge selection of flavors that are so much fun to play with. Unlike extracts, these oils are strong, and often you don't need more than a drop or two for, let's say, 1/2 pound of chocolate.
In this picture you see about 2 cups of coating chocolate - ready to be nuked. Start with 30 seconds, then stir, and then heat some more, in 10-second increments. Once your chocolate is smooth, stir in 1 drop of flavoring oil; taste and add more if desired. You may also add nuts, candy pieces, dried fruit, or whatever you like. Spoon your chocolate mix into special chocolate candy molds, and then stick them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. They should pop out easily.
In the picture to the right you can see my candy creation "Inside Seth Godin's Head". It's made from colorized white chocolate, royal icing (eyes) and caramel filling.
What else can you do with flavored oils?
- Spiffy up your same old vanilla pudding with butterscotch, praline, English toffee, hazelnut, almond, or pistachio flavors. Try combinations such as toffee/praline/hazelnut!
- Puree fresh raspberries or strawberries with a few spoonfuls of honey or agave syrup, and add a couple drops of almond or other nut flavors, and perhaps a bit of orange oil. Serve as a sauce with cake, or over ice cream.
- Agave nectar is a wonderful, natural sweetener, now widely available even in regular grocery stores. Add any of the above flavors or other, more extravagant flavorings to a jar of agave nectar; 2 drops per 12 ozs is plenty. Sweeten and flavor your coffee, tea or hot chocolate, or pour it over cake or ice cream. Or fresh fruit. OMG!
- Add flavors to a cake mix or cheese cake before baking - pumpkin, coffee, peach, pecan, amaretto, piña colada, nutmeg, walnut, coconut...
- Flavor your punch or your cocktails - guava, crème de menthe, eggnog, tropical punch, licorice, brandy, ginger, butter rum, strawberry banana...
- I could even imagine some orange oil in the butter sauce for your fish fillet.
- Think salad dressings - citrus or nutty flavors go well with raw veggies.
The possibilities of incorporating flavored oils in your recipes are endless, don't you think?