A Treat for Every Party
Looking for an exciting dessert, tasty treat or fun snack that will impress? Check out these delights from Melinda Norman, founder and confectioner of Burnt Sugar.
This old-fashioned treat screams nostalgia but is also so versatile! Try Seafoam Toffee crushed up and used as an ice cream topping or as a knock-out garnish for brownies!
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan with foil, then spray with nonstick spray and set aside. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar, and vanilla into a heavy-bottomed pot. (Use a bigger pot than you think you’ll need as it will foam up.) Heat over medium-high heat and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and insert a candy thermometer. Boil until it reaches 305 F. Once it reaches 305 F, add baking soda and stir to incorporate. The mixture should foam up vigorously. Once all the baking soda is incorporated, pour into the prepared pan and let cool completely. Once cool, break into bite-size pieces and store in airtight containers. Toffee can also be dipped in chocolate if desired.
This classic recipe is just waiting for your creative spin. My favorite is combining vanilla and root beer extracts to make a Root Beer Float Meringues. Also, being naturally gluten- and dairy-free, they’re the perfect treat for a crowd.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon flavoring extract of choice (mint, vanilla, lemon, root beer, cinnamon, strawberry, etc.)
- Food coloring as desired
Preheat oven to 200 F. Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk vigorously over a pot of boiling water until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch. (Continuous whisking is important because you don’t want to cook the egg whites.) Place the bowl in your mixer and fit with whisk attachment. Whisk on high for 5-7 minutes until you get stiff peaks. (This can also be done with a hand mixer.) With a spatula, fold in your flavoring and desired food coloring. Fit a piping bag with desired decorating tip and load in your meringue mixture. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe meringue into desired shapes. Bake for 2 hours. Then, leaving the trays in the oven, turn off the heat and leave meringues in the oven for at least an hour. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Buttercrunch Snack Mix
Perfectly sweet, buttery, and crunchy, this snack mix has everything you want in a holiday treat. It’s easily customizable to include your favorite munchies and just the right amount of saltiness. Just a warning though—this is highly addictive! You may want to make a double batch just in case.
- 4 cups rice Chex cereal
- 4 cups corn Chex cereal
- 2 cups bite-size pretzels
- 1 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cup corn syrup
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Up to 4 cups desired mix-ins (M&M’s, Peanut M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, chocolate Cheerios, candy corn, etc.)
Preheat oven to 250 F. Spray the largest baking dish you have with nonstick spray, then add the Chex, pretzels and peanuts. Put in oven to warm up while you make the caramel; this will make coating easier. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring and bring to a boil. Boil undisturbed for 8 minutes. Working quickly, take cereal mix out of the oven and have at the ready. Turn off the heat and add vanilla and baking soda, stir quickly to incorporate. Pour over cereal mixture and stir gently but quickly to coat. Careful—this is hot stuff. Return to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Line counter with foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray. When baking is complete, pour cereal mix onto the foil and carefully spread out on foil, separating any large clumps. When completely cool, break into bite-size pieces and put into a large bowl. Add desired mix-ins and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container.
Melinda’s Take on Hot Trends
If you’re looking for a cool twist on your hot cocoa, then look no further. Melinda incorporates artisan, flavored marshmallows as a specialty product of her business, Burnt Sugar.
“I took marshmallow and made them cool, not just for s’mores,” she says. Popular flavors are Raspberry Chocolate and Vanilla Seafoam. She sells “Cocoa Toppers,” large marshmallow disks that fit perfectly on a mug of hot cocoa!
Many of Melinda’s signature products are caramel-based. She offers a rotating selection of different caramels in popular flavors like Brown Butter, Raspberry Champagne and Apple Brandy, along with a few unconventional flavors such as Matcha Latte, Bollywood and Speculoos Cookie.
“I love bringing craftsmanship back into confection making,” Melinda says. Burnt Sugar has gluten-free items, dairy-free items and nut-free items for those with dietary restrictions.
Melinda says the sky is the limit on what she can create, and she lets her culinary experience and passion lead her.
“I love doing custom orders because it gives me a chance to do things that I have never done before. It’s fun to work with someone and make their vision come to light like a graphic designer does, but in my case, you get to eat the final product afterwards.”
Burnt Sugar is a local business serving Eden Prairie and surrounding areas and showcases Melinda’s confectionary and baking style, which is old-world confectionery with a modern twist. If you want a treat, try one of Malinda’s recipes or think about hiring her to create the ultimate holiday creation. Burnt Sugar offers direct-to-consumer custom sales, catering and fun treats for corporate gifts. Visit BurntSugarMN.com for more information.