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Hallie A. Baker does something most of us do not. She makes candy at home. Good candy. Terrific candy. Candy so good her friends told her to open up a business.

With two Massachusetts stores, Hallie has been in the press and on television almost from the day she opened her doors in 1999. Her turtles are her trademark, and there are sixteen recipes for them here including:

Milk Chocolate Pecan

Maple Walnut

Dark Chocolate Pistachio

Black and White

Milk Chocolate Brazil Nut

We can find truffles in many of the candy stores around us, but Hallie’s truffle chapter suggests combinations you probably have not encountered:

Milk Chocolate, Nutmeg and Clove

Milk Chocolate Coconut Curry

Chinese five-Spice

Spiced Pumpkin

Cardamom Cinnamon

The opening chapter in the book, Barks, is my favorite. It seems that candy stores only do barks for Christmas but Hallie has a year’s supply of ideas like:

White Chocolate Oreo

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy

Cranberry Orange

White Chocolate Cashew Bark with Cranberries

Dark and White Peppermint, yes, just in time for Christmas!

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cherry, see the picture below

Hallie’s book is clever for two reasons. First, with years of experience, these recipes are honed. They work and are easily followed. Second, because she starting learning candy making from her grandmother, these recipes have a home-based accent. No fancy equipment or techniques. These are practical recipes for the home cook and they are written with great precision to take you from ingredients to chocolate success.

These are one-page recipes with 3, 4, or maybe 5 ingredients. A few times a thermometer is needed, but mostly the cooking is controlled by time or feel. There are tips and headnotes to make even the most nervous novice candy maker relax. Crafting candy at home is something that was common generations ago. The big candy companies will happily sell you their paper-wrapped products. And, nobody can say a fresh Snickers bar is anything but good. A stale one? Ah, there’s the rub.

Great candy, sublime candy, well, that comes only from craftsman like Hallie. Or from you. In your home kitchen. Just following Hallie along one pound of chocolate at a time.

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