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Santa Hats

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Santa Hats
(c) 2010 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Santa Hats are a peppermint-chocolate Christmas candy shaped to resemble Santa's familiar hat. Crushed candy canes give these rich chocolatey treats extra mint flavor. You can substitute Starlight mints for the candy canes, or even omit the candy entirely and use a dash of mint extract instead.

Yield: 24-30 candies

Ingredients:

  • 3 large (or 6 small) candy canes
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb red candy coating
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 4 oz white candy coating or white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup round white sprinkles

Preparation:

1. Place the candy canes in a large Ziploc plastic bag and use a heavy rolling pin to crush them until they're in very fine shards. Alternately, you can use a food processor to pulverize the candy canes.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, butter, milk, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix the ingredients on low speed using a stand mixer or a hand mixer until they start to come together.

3. The candy will look very dry at first, but as you continue mixing it should form a clump around the mixing paddle. If it seems very crumbly, add a little milk, and if it is very sticky add some powdered sugar until it is a consistency similar to modeling clay--supple enough to roll out, but not sticky. Once the candy has a workable texture, add the candy cane pieces and stir them in until they're well-mixed.

4. Use a candy scoop or a teaspoon to scoop up a small ball of candy. Pinch and roll it between your hands until it is in a triangular shape similar to that of a peaked hat. Place the formed candy on a baking sheet lined with foil or waxed paper, and repeat until all of the hats have been formed. If you scoop about 1 tablespoon of candy per hat, you should end up with 24-30 Santa Hats. Put the tray of chocolate hats in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes, so that they will be easier to dip.

5. When you are ready to dip the candies, melt the red candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl. Use a fork or dipping tools to dip a hat all the way in the coating, until it is completely submerged. Remove it from the coating and gently tap the fork against the lip of the bowl so that excess coating drips off. Replace the dipped hat back on the baking sheet, and while the coating is still wet, press a white chocolate chip on top of the hat's peak. Repeat this process with the remaining hats and coating, until all are dipped and have a white chocolate chip stuck on top.

6. Let the red coating set completely, either at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. Once the red coating is set, place the round white sprinkles in a small shallow bowl. Melt the white coating (or white chocolate) and place it in a plastic bag.

7. Cut off a small corner of the bag and pipe a thin line of white coating all around the base of one of the red hats. Dip the base of the hat in the bowl of sprinkles, so that the sprinkles stick to the wet white chocolate. Pipe a little white chocolate on top of the white chocolate chip on top, and dip that in the white sprinkles as well. The end result will be a red hat with fuzzy white "fur" around the base and a "furry pompom" on top. Repeat until all of the red hats have white trim. Allow the white chocolate to set completely.

8. Your Santa Hat candies are now finished! They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or in the refrigerator for several weeks. Bring the Santa Hats to room temperature before serving.

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