27 (3" to 5") white chocolate stars and snowflakes

With our explicit instructions, you'll find this tempting parcel as straightforward to make as it is dazzling to look at. Once you have the technique down pat, the freehand lacy stars are easy; hearts or circles would work well with the same approach.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place one package of candy drops in top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Heat until candy melts, stirring often. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

Step 2

For Lacy White Chocolate Stars, draw or trace stars of various sizes (3" to 5" work well) on several sheets of wax paper. Turn paper over, and place on baking sheets.

Step 3

Spoon about 1 cup melted candy into a heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag. (Keep remaining melted candy warm over hot water.) Seal plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of zip-top bag, using scissors.

Step 4

Drizzle melted candy over outline of stars on wax paper; then drizzle candy in a lacy design to fill in each star. Let harden slightly, and then drizzle another layer of the lacy design on each star. Chill lacy stars at least 15 minutes or until hardened. Carefully peel hardened stars from wax paper, and turn over.

Step 5

Pipe or spoon a small dot of melted candy onto the back of each lacy star; press the end of a wooden skewer gently into each lacy star, allowing the dot of melted candy to act as "glue." (Be sure about 2" of skewer is anchored onto each star for stability.) Continue to drizzle additional melted candy to cover the 2" portion of each skewer on back of each star.

Step 6

Repeat whole procedure with remaining melted candy in top of double boiler.

Step 7

For Solid Stars, melt remaining package of candy drops in top of double boiler according to procedure used for first package of candy. Draw an 8" x 9" rectangle on a sheet of wax paper. Turn paper over, and place on a baking sheet. Spread melted candy evenly to fill out dimensions of rectangle (about 1/4" thick). Let stand at room temperature 35 minutes until almost firm.

Step 8

Cut out stars or other shapes, using a sharp-edged cookie cutter and applying gentle pressure with fingers to penetrate hardened candy and to help remove candy from tips of cutter. (This procedure is a little tedious. You can dip the cookie cutter in hot water and wipe it dry; then press the warm cutter immediately into the almost firm candy and release candy from cutter very carefully.) Attach skewers to backs of solid candy stars using remaining melted candy as "glue" according to the procedure used for lacy stars.

Step 9

For Snowflakes, "glue" 2 stars together, using a small amount of melted candy and a wooden skewer between stars.

Step 10

For Centerpiece Package Assembly, remove top of an 8" x 8" x 8 1/2" cardboard box. To keep the centerpiece box sturdy, place a brick or other flat, heavy object in bottom of box. Cut 2 to 3 blocks of Styrofoam to fit box opening. Stack Styrofoam on top of brick, filling the box.

Step 11

Cover box with tissue paper, bunching tissue at the top. (You may have to tape several sheets of tissue paper together to cover box entirely.) Scrunch tissue together loosely at the top with a ribbon bow, leaving enough space at the top to insert white chocolate stars and snowflakes.

Step 12

Insert as many white chocolate stars and snowflakes as desired into Styrofoam in box through tissue opening. Surround centerpiece with additional tiny packages wrapped in tissue.

Christmas with Southern Living 1996

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