next post: chocolate rum balls – specifically crafted for said trip.
just came in the mail yesterday, super stoked
Screening: Our Deal, Best Coast (Drew Barrymore directed)
Supplies: baking sheet covered in aluminum foil - lightly buttered candy thermometer pastry brush with water measuring cups/spoons 3qt saucepan heatproof silicone spatuala Ingredients: 2 c sugar 1 c light corn syrup 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa 1/2 c water 1/8 tsp kosher salt 1 Tbs butter 1 tsp mint extract
butter sides of saucepan. measure in sugar, corn syrup, cocoa, water and salt
bring mixture to a boil moving water soaked brush just above where mixture is coming to a boil to wash down sugar crystals – just until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.
bring sugar mixture to 270-290degrees without stirring.
take off heat and stir in butter and mint extract
pour on to buttered aluminum foil covered baking sheet, – do this quickly because candy starts to harden really fast once it’s off the heat. let cool then break into pieces.
- when the mixture comes to a boil it really, really looks like it will boil over. but it doesn’t.
- (again) figure out something to do with the candy thermometer when it comes time to pour out the mixture. it’s too hot to grab with your hand and will, in fact, result in splattered sugar across the stove when it is thrown down quickly
- breaking the candy into pieces is a bit dangerous, it is such a hard candy consistency it feels like you are breaking glass. glass that can and will painfully jam into your skin
- this candy may or may not break your teeth.
Review: super, super hard on your teeth but once you chew it a bit the chocolate and mint flavors really emerge and you want to keep eating more. would be delicious with hot cocoa – maybe even put a piece in the bottom of the cup so it melts as you drink it? oooh, or smashed up over ice cream or frozen yogurt…
Supplies: baking sheet covered in saran wrap candy thermometer pastry brush with water measuring cups/spoons knife 3qt saucepan heatproof silicone spatuala cutting board more saran wrap Ingredients: 1 Tbs corn syrup 1 Tbs golden syrup or molasses (honestly, i used maple syrup since that's what i had on hand. and it was only a Tbs...truth.) 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp ginger 1/8 tsp allspice 1 Tbs butter 1 and 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1 and 1/2 c cream 2 c sugar 1/2 c pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh
line baking sheet with plastic wrap – i only had green on hand. this will not work in my favor when i later wrap finished caramels. measure out corn syrup, golden syrup (maple syrup in my case…), cinnamon, ginger and allspice. add to saucepan and mix.
add butter, kosher salt, and cream. cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil then turn down heat to keep warm.
caramelize the 2 cups of sugar – add 1/8inch of sugar to bottom of saucepan and move sugar around with spatula as sugar begins to melt.
after this layer melts add another 1/8inch on top of caramel and continue until all of the sugar has been turned into caramel.
turn off heat and add warm cream/spice mixture into caramel
this will cause the caramel to rapidly boil and bubble up but it will eventually calm down.
measure out pumpkin puree
add pumpkin puree, stir until smooth – slowly and contstantly – until mixture reaches 248degrees about 30 minutes
just about when you’ve decided that it will never reach 248degrees the mixture will change from how it looks/consistency in the photo above to…
this – thicker caramel consistency that pulls away from pot when you stir
take off heat and pour onto plastic wrap covered pan
cover with more plastic crap and let cool overnight
this was how i decided to wrap the caramels – sort of like making raviolis but plastic wrap instead of pasta and caramel instead of butternut squash filling. used scissors to cut into little squares and then folded sides over. now you can see why it is important to have clear plastic wrap on hand…despite the desire to add more color to your life.
- don’t give up when waiting for mixture to turn into caramel. it stays at 220degrees for what seems like for.ev.er.
- careful when adding cream mixture to caramel mixture – it bubbles rapidly and starts boiling again even though it’s off the heat
- when covering the caramel with saran wrap there will inevitably be bubbles – just pop with a knife
- flavor turned out really well – but curious to see what it would be like had i actually used molasses rather than maple syrup…
- wrapping candy in plastic wrap is really, really time consuming – and i’m sure it will be annoying to unwrap when eating. however the caramels will clump together and sort of melt into a big mess unless they are separated by wrap
- trying to roll the caramel into balls – i thought maybe they could be milkdud-esque but they are so soft the bottom flattens out and doesn’t hold the shape
Review: very soft and creamy. could use more pumpkin flavor. makes a lot of caramel. i found it settled into a flatter tile shape when cut rather than cube which didn’t bother me, but it’s worth noting.
Soundtrack: Pork and Beans, Weezer
Supplies: baking sheet covered with silicone mat and staggered lollipop sticks lollipop molds and sticks candy thermometer pastry brush with water measuring cups/spoons 3qt saucepan large spoon heatproof silicone spatuala Ingredients: 1/2 c coffee 3/4 c plus 2 Tbs sugar 3 Tbs corn syrup 1/8 tsp kosher salt
prepare lollipop molds and silpat with staggered sticks (pic later in post)
measure out coffee, sugar (plus salt) and corn syrup
bring coffee, sugar plus salt, and corn syrup to a boil – 280degrees stirring occasionally. aprox 15min
take off heat and spoon mixture into molds. seriously this is really difficult to do without making a mess. (luckily when you unmold the excess kind of breaks away)
spoon on to silicone mat covered baking sheet. again, i went with the rustic look
i also thought i’d try making hard candies using a Fleur de Lis chocolate mold tray
this was a horrible fail
- buy second lollipop tray or try to reheat excess finished mixture and fill a second time after first round cools
- spray candy mold to see if that helps release hard candies easier??
- make sure lollipop sticks are fully covered with sugar mixture – move them up into mold after candy is poured if necessary
Review: this does not really translate to hard candies (as opposed to lollipop) – the temptation is to bite and chew the candy, but it winds up stuck in your teeth. as a lollipop the coffee flavor is pronounced and you avoid this mess. i’d be happy with this as a pick me up in the afternoon as opposed to another cup of coffee, not to mention the sugar rush.
Currently Screening: The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
so last friday i took a ‘barista class’ at Sur la Table. i was sucked in by the promise of learning how to make those pretty designs in milk foam more so than anything else, which unfortunately we didn’t even get around to somehow. the two hours, instead, were dedicated to the intricacies of harvesting the beans and the attributes of the different machines with which to brew said beans. not exactly what i was looking for….
however, attending the class did inspire me to attempt a Coffee Lollipop recipe which i will be posting next.
i didn’t take any pictures, since really it was more of a lecture format – but here’s a picture of how i spent part of my weekend. enjoying a delicious cappuccino with the pretty milk foam design i was not destined to learn, a mimosa, and Just Kids by Patti Smith. heaven.
some of the fun/useful facts i learned about coffee:
- it was discovered growing wild in Ethiopia when goats ate the berries then started acting super animated
- super dark looking roasted beans/grounds are not necessarily better as it can destroy the flavors – fyi for when buying in grocery store bulk
- never put coffee beans/grounds in fridge or freezer
- if using a paper filter to make coffee run water through it first to rinse filter and warm carafe
- espresso has less caffeine in it than coffee because there is less time spent in contact with water when extracting.* noted for after dinner beverage order
i have a ton more information thanks to my…enthusiastic…note taking but it’s a bit much. especially for a candy blog.
Screening: Top Chef marathon
Supplies: baking sheet covered in parchment paper candy thermometer pastry brush with water measuring cups/spoons knife 3qt saucepan heatproof silicone spatuala Ingredients: 1/4 c water 1 c sugar 1/2 c corn syrup 1 and 1/4 c roasted peanuts 3 Tbs butter 1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt 3/4 tsp vanilla 3/4 tsp baking soda
measure out peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, water, butter, and (i combined all in bottom right measuring cup: salt, vanilla, baking soda)
prep water and pastry brush to use when sugar mixture starts to boil. something having to do with making sure that sugar crystals don’t form while mixture is turning into hard candy. honestly it’s a really awkward step that doesn’t look like it does anything, but hundreds of sugar chemists can’t be wrong and it possibly saves one from poor tasting candy.
bring water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil.
awkwardly move water soaked brush just above where mixture is coming to a boil to wash down sugar crystals – just until sugar is dissolved.
bring sugar mixture to 250degrees without stirring. add in peanuts and butter and bring to 320 degrees while stirring gently.
take off heat and stir in salt, vanilla, baking soda, mix
pour on to parchment paper covered baking sheet, let cool then break into pieces
- buy timer!! gosh, i keep forgetting to time how long all of this takes.
- make sure pot is centered on burner – seems obvious but in the 4th pic (second pic of mixture in pot) you can tell that the top left was cooking a lot faster and even burnt a little – which actually did affect the final product..when i poured it out and it cooled parts were darker than others, eep.
- combining the vanilla, baking soda and salt was a great way to avoid forgetting something when the molten sugar time crunch set in.
- figure out something to do with the candy thermometer when it comes time to pour out the mixture. it’s too hot to grab with your hand and will, in fact, result in splattered sugar across the stove when it is thrown down quickly.
Review: so good! maybe a bit too salty for some people but i adore salt, sooo there you go. the brittle is crispy and the baking soda really makes the candy light and crunchy. i like keeping the peanuts whole rather than chopping. even the darker parts of the finished brittle that cooked too long added some nice dark caramel notes overall.
went to the flea market today specifically to find pretty plates and bowls to display candy. plan on experimenting a little to see what colors and materials work best, all input appreciated…
Q: Do you know any good recipes for peppermint bark? Or candy stirrers for hot chocolate that might be festive for the holidays?
A: i will definitely make some peppermint bark in the next week to figure out a good one. also in keeping with the peppermint theme i’ll post my attempts at ‘hint of mint hard candy’ and ‘peppermint divinity’ – two recipes i thought looked yummy for holiday gifts.
themes are my favorite.