Tootsie Rolls seem to be on everyone's top 10 list of childhood treats. I toted two lunchboxes packed with bite-size Tootsie Rolls to Brownie camp; they came in handy as friend magnets, bribes and peace offerings, as well as snacks. Later on, I found that you never forget that chewy texture or the chocolatey, surprisingly orange-tinged flavor. So imagine my surprise when I learned that the basic formula is so simple: melted chocolate mixed with corn syrup. Pastry chefs have long used this combination, which takes on a plasticine-like texture, as a kind of moldable chocolate. It lasts almost forever and is incredibly easy to shape into roses, roll into sheets, form into a child's initials -- whatever you can think of. These make a glamorous presentation when wrapped in gold or silver foil paper and served on a silver platter.
About 75 squares of colored foil or cellophane, for wrapping, optional
Line a 13 by 17-inch cookie sheet with sides with plastic wrap.
Melt the chocolate. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and scrape into the prepared pan. The mixture should be about 1 inch thick in the pan; it will not fill the pan entirely. Cover and let set overnight at room temperature; the mixture will be stiff but still flexible.
Turn the candy out onto a work surface and peel off the plastic wrap. Cut into 3/4-inch wide strips, then use your hands to "scrunch" each strip into a log. Roll the logs thin between your hands (or on the work surface) until they are about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1-inch long sections. Set aside to firm up a bit before wrapping or serving (the mixture warms up and softens as you handle it).
Roll each candy up in a square of colored foil or cellophane, twisting the ends to secure. You can also form the modeling chocolate into leaves, roses, ropes for initials or animals.