At Napa Valley Chocolates in St. Helena, California, Candy Dreyer delights in
creating special holiday sweets, often with a touch of humor that brings out the
smiles. Favorites with her customers are these marshmallow snowmen.
Candies for decorating or dried currants
1 cup (6 ounces) chopped red, green,
or brown candy chips or chunks made for melted coatings
2 cups (12 ounces) chopped white candy chips
or chunks made for melted coatings
1 to 2 teaspoons solid shortening (optional)
6 (4 x 8-inch) cellophane bags
Red or green ribbons (1/4-inch wide)
Assemble candies for decorating by colors. If desired, cut orange gumdrops
into slender wedges for carrot-shaped noses, green gumdrops into leaves, red
gumdrops into berries, licorice sticks into twig-like arms.
To make hats, heat chopped red (or green or brown) candy chips in a 1-cup
glass measure or small, deep microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven at 50%
power until chips are soft, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir candy until smooth; if
lumpy, heat in a microwave oven for 20-second intervals, stirring frequently.
Line a 12 x 15-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking paper, cooking parchment
or wax paper.
Set 6 marshmallows, flat side down, at least 2 inches apart on paper. Spoon
about 1 tablespoon melted red (or color of choice) candy onto the center of
1 marshmallow top and quickly, using a small metal spatula or dinner knife,
spread candy over top and around side of marshmallow; spread excess that flows
onto paper into a 1/2-inch-wide rim for the hat. Add more melted candy, as needed,
to make brim even. If desired, while candy is still soft, decorate hat with
gumdrops cut to resemble leaves and berries (see notes).
Repeat to make remaining hats. Chill hats, uncovered, until firm to touch,
about 10 minutes.
To make snowmen, line another 12- x 15-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking
paper, baking parchment or wax paper.
Dip 1 craft stick about 3 inches into water. Slide through the center of
a flat end of 1 marshmallow, then into, but not through, a second marshmallow,
pushing them together.
Repeat to make remaining snowmen; lay on the baking sheet.
In a 2-cup glass measure or small, deep microwave-safe bowl, heat chopped
white candy chips in a microwave oven at 50% power until chips are soft, about
2 minutes. Stir candy until smooth; if lumpy, return to the microwave oven and
heat for 20-second intervals, stirring frequently. If mixture is too thick for
dipping (it varies with brands), stir in solid shortening; heat at 20-second
intervals and stir often.
One stick at a time, quickly dip marshmallows into white candy to coat,
using a spoon to pour candy over uncovered spots. Lift stick, letting excess
candy drip back into cup. Lay marshmallow men at least 3 inches apart on paper-lined
While candy coating is still soft, but not runny, make a face on the side
of the top marshmallow of each stick. Use gumdrop wedge (see notes) for the
nose, and chocolate chips, currants, or other small candies for eyes. On bottom
marshmallow, press tiny candies down center for buttons; use thin licorice strips
for twiggy arms or scarves. Pick up a stick and set hat on the snowman's
head. If marshmallow coating firms before decorating is complete, glue with
more melted candy (reheat in microwave, as needed). Stand snowman upright (see
notes for rack). Repeat to make other snowmen.
When coating is firm to touch, 5 to 10 minutes, slip a cellophane bag over
each snowman. Tie ribbons around bottom to close bag.
Yield: 6 marshmallow snowmen
Buy candy designed to melt for coating or dipping; it's usually found
beside cooking chocolates at the supermarket. For easy dipping, melt more than needed
to coat the marshmallows; save the extra for other uses. Candies suited for decorations
(whole or cut in pieces) include orange, green, or red gumdrops, black licorice
sticks or thin black licorice whips (or strings), small colored miniature chocolate
chips, and colored sugars.
To make a drying rack for snowmen, cut top flaps from a corrugated cardboard
box, leaving a neat edge. Make holes in the corrugated edge by pushing a craft or
lollipop stick into the edge at 4-inch intervals. Place a couple of food cans (3
to 4 pounds total) in the box so it will sit steady. Push snowman-filled sticks
into prepared holes to hold confections vertically while candy firms.
Per snowman: 431 cal., 40% (171 cal.) from fat; 0.4 g protein; 19 g fat (17
g sat.); 65 g carbo (0 g fiber); 81 mg sodium; 0 mg chol