She’s the star of Disney’s hit sitcom Shake It Up, a budding pop singer with a self-titled album, and a not-too-shabby dancer – she finished second on last season’s Dancing with the Stars. But Zendaya also excels at candy making. “I’m a chocolate addict,” says the 17-year-old 11th grader, who relishes “making something for other people to enjoy.” She and her mother, Claire, not only whip up candy for their family, “we made peanut butter balls for a Shake It Up Christmas party,” says Zendaya, “and they were gone fast!” Mother and daughter began their tradition when Zendaya was 3. “I wanted the holidays to be about putting your heart into something that’s meaningful,” says Claire. For Zendaya, it’s also an exercise in self-restraint. “The hardest part,” she says, “is leaving them in the refrigerator without eating them!”
Makes 2 dozen
72 cashews (or pecan halves), toasted
1 (11-oz.) package of caramel candies, unwrapped
1½ tbsp. butter
1 (12-oz.) package of milk chocolate morsels
1. In clusters of three, arrange nuts 2 in. apart on 2 waxed-paper-lined baking sheets.
2. Microwave caramel candies and butter on low (30%) power 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth. Spoon 1 tsp. caramel over each cluster; cool 15 minutes.
3. Microwave chocolate morsels on medium (50%) power 1½ minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth. Spoon 1 tsp. chocolate over each candy; smooth with spatula. Chill candies until firm.
4. Store candies airtight between layers of waxed paper in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 1½ lbs.
4 (3.53-oz.) bars Belgian milk chocolate
1 (12-oz.) package white chocolate morsels
½ cup crushed peppermint candies
1. Microwave milk chocolate at medium (50%) power 1½ minutes; stir. Continue heating in 15- to 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Spread chocolate over waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until firm.
2. Melt white chocolate morsels as directed for melting milk chocolate. Spread evenly over chilled milk chocolate. Sprinkle with crushed candies. Chill until firm.
3. Break into small pieces. Store airtight between layers of waxed paper in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
Makes 7 dozen
2 cups chunky peanut butter
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter (softened)
2 (12-oz.) packages milk or semisweet chocolate morsels
1. Beat peanut butter and next 3 ingredients with electric mixer at low speed until blended. Shape mixture evenly into 84 (1-in.) balls; place on waxed-paper-lined baking sheets. Cover and chill until firm.
2. Microwave chocolate morsels at medium (50%) power 1½ minutes; stir. Continue heating in 15- to 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Dip chilled peanut butter balls into chocolate, using a fork, to coat evenly; return balls to baking sheets. Chill until firm.
3. Store candies airtight between layers of waxed paper in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.