Tag Archives: candy

40 by 40

30 Dec

Because I’m not busy enough, I let myself be goaded into one of these birthday 40 by 40 challenges – no, it’s not to lose 40 pounds by the time I’m 40, or do some sort of amazing feat of fitness like running 40 races.  While that would be a wise move, it’s nearly the opposite.  Although, maybe if I do both 40s by 40 I’ll unlock some sort of rockstar status life badge.

What I really suck at – is baking.  Well, anything involving following rules and having patience really.  So, you know, baking, candy making – that sort of thing.  I have plenty of exhibits to share with the jury, but just take my word for it.  I have more baking failures than I do successes.  This is all odd since I loved science and performing experiments in school, but for some reason, I cannot slow down and follow the instructions necessary for flawless baking.

And so, likely to benefit himself really, my husband challenged me to bake 40 things by the time I’m 40 (we agreed this could include candy making).  This might just be because he got me two new baking cookbooks for Christmas and this challenge makes them that much more relevant, or maybe because he loves baked goods, but it still seems like a fun way to challenge myself and learn a new skill in the process.  Maybe I’ll EVEN learn patience – but that seems less likely.  And so, with a pile of baking books, and a list of things to try on Pinterest (and even in the archives of this blog) a mile long, I set out. . .just like Frodo. . .to cast my burden into the fire and hopefully emerge with perfect fudge. . .

 

First Up: Fudge

For my mother, it’s just not fudge if it’s not Fantasy Fudge.  I would argue, but since I made this with her in mind, it just made sense to provide her with what she wanted and save any holiday disappointments.

Because Fantasy Fudge is a Kraft Foods recipe, and features all of their own stuff, I felt safe in straying a little bit from their recipe (I realize this is awfully cheeky for my first foray into following directions, but what can I say).  You will also note that my version is walnut free.  To each their own

  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chips)
  • flaky sea salt for finishing

 

Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides.
Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in 3-qt. saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted. Add vanilla; mix well.

gearing up

 

Pour into prepared pan; spread to cover bottom of pan. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt for a super delicious salty punch.  Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift fudge from pan before cutting into 1-inch squares.
And because I’m a real wild child, I also made a peppermint version for the first time.  Same as above, but I swapped out the 1 tsp of vanilla for 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp peppermint extract; and topped with crushed candy cane instead of salt.  Winner!  There was a BIT of grit to the fudge – I have never been able to make it perfectly smooth, even when using a candy thermometer, but I didn’t mind the bit of grit at all really, and neither did anyone else based on how quickly it disappeared.

fudgey goodness

Honeycomb

10 Nov

No, not that kind.  And not the real stuff either.  The CANDY stuff.  After having this in Colorado last Christmas, and determining it is very similar to a Violet Crumble or maybe more like a Crunchie, both of which are delicious and remind certain people of their home country, it was only a matter of time before our household became filled with honeycomb connoisseurs.  Patrick is the expert maker, I’m the expert taster (some recipes leave you with an awful, bitter, baking soda flavor which is GOOD TO NO ONE), and Stitch is the expert who looks longingly up at Patrick hoping that once all is said and done it will result in something to crunch on adorably under the dining room table.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 generous tbsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate
  • Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with spray on oil of your choice.

    Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, and ¼ cup water in a large saucepan. We actually use a big old soup pot because once you add the baking soda it poofs up to like, three times the size. Not so convenient for the usage of the candy thermometer, but much better than getting hot sugar all over the stove. Stir the ingredients together until the sugar is completely moistened. Using a wet pastry brush, wipe the sides of the saucepan to remove any stray sugar crystals.

    Insert a candy thermometer and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, without stirring, I know it’s tempting, until the temperature reaches 300 degrees.

    Then, remove it from the heat and add the baking soda all at once. Immediately whisk the candy to incorporate the baking soda, and now is when you’ll be glad you listened to me about the super big pot. Hot sugar is HOT. And then STOP whisking! Pour the candy onto the cookie sheet and don’t touch it or you’ll deflate it. It’ll still taste good, but it’ll be a little bit flat. You could also use some other vessel that had a smaller base and higher sides, but that just seems too difficult. When you’re working with hot sugar, you just want to deal with it quickly and get away. And please, do NOT think that while the whisk has been out for a while but the candy is still soft that it’s okay to press your tongue to it for a lick because surely it has cooled down by now. YOU WILL REGRET IT. Wait until it’s completely hardened and cool, and then break it into small pieces (or scrape it off the whisk with your teeth). We usually just whack the cookie sheet against the counter.

    You can eat it just like that, and probably will, while you dip the rest.

    While the candy is cooling, melt the chocolate in the microwave (30 second intervals, stirring in between) until smooth, then dunk your candy pieces into it. If you’re fancy, you can sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top because salt and chocolate, well, salt and sweet really, are secret lovers and you will not regret it.