trying something out…
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.
…is hard when you’re doing it by yourself. trying to take a picture whilst covered in butter, chocolate, molten sugar is a broken camera/iPhone waiting to happen. (have i mentioned that i’m also clumsy and technologically challenged?)
not to mention that it’s really hard to capture what the treat actually looks like.
bear with me, i’m going to work on adding in more color - tablecloths? pretty vintage plates and dishes? confections that aren’t described by their banal color adjectives (toffee i’m looking at you)??
Soundtrack: Candy Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson
baking sheet covered in parchment paper
heatproof silicone spatuala
1 Tbs water
2 sticks butter cut into cubes
1/4 c cream
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 oz dark chocolate chopped (Scharffen Berger, bittersweet 70%)
1 c chopped nuts (roasted peanuts)
flakey sea salt (Maldon)
cut up butter (i put it in a bowl but could have kept it on the cutting board which would have saved me from having to wash the bowl later)
measure out sugar, cream, water and salt
place in saucepot fitted with candy thermometer (i had to keep fussing with the thermometer because it didn’t seem secure and i’m pretty sure that i read somewhere that the bottom part of the thermometer isn’t supposed to touch the bottom of the pan since that messes with the temp accuracy…but i’m not sure if this is true. also it wasn’t a ton of ingredients so it was hard to avoid this in the shallow liquid)
stir slowly and constantly until syrup reaches 300degreesF (it seemed to hover around 220 forever - i should have timed it - but then it darkened all of the sudden and changed from smelling like delicious sugary butter to more of a rich caramel scent)
as the toffee was in the 220 holding temperature i prepared the topping ingredients. (i used roasted peanuts because i had them on hand since peanut brittle is my next candy making attempt - i think - so i just bought in bulk)
at this point stir in the vanilla (i forgot this step even though i had my measuring spoon and vanilla sitting right next to the pot. a vat of temperature sensitive, bubbling volcanic sugar mixture was enough to fluster me to the point where i couldn’t think about anything except getting it off the stove and as far away from me - ie onto the baking sheet - as possible).
spread the toffee out (with spatula and some baking sheet shaking) and cool for 1 minute
sprinkle chopped chocolate on the toffee and let it start to melt then spread with offset spatula and top with nuts and sea salt flakes
place in fridge for about an hour to cool then use parchment paper to help break up toffee
totally manageable - all could fit in the dishwasher except giant cutting board that i had to hand wash.
- i need to remember to time things if i’m going to post about them
- figure out a consistent means of photographing - camera or iPhone…?
- buy something to rest sugar/toffee coated spatula on while cooking
- make sure there’s room in fridge for baking sheet
- remember to put all ingredients in said confection
- chew gum. drinking tea does not prevent one from sampling chopped toppings
sur la table at the impulse buy section by the register!
Supplies, take 2.
when debating what i thought would be my first foray into candy making - chocolate tempering - i realized that all i had was my grimy old cutting board. not a pretty match for my pink measuring cups, purple measuring spoons, and blue polka dot knife.
went to a different kitchen supply store so that i could get an idea of what was out there and would have in the back of my head where i could go for certain things. and look to see what things that i hadn’t even thought about getting for this candy making project. decided on a brown cutting board which i thought would look good with a pile of chocolate aboard it. a smaller white one for potential jelly treats. stumbled upon some cute chocolate molds and one for lollipops - perfect for the Salted Chocolate Caramel Lollipops that i’m dying to make. some offset spatulas for spreading melted chocolate, a pastry brush, and wooden spoon because i also read that i would be needing one.
and pink chinese take out boxes that would contain my new future first project idea - Toffee.
Supplies, take 1.
so i went into this having a general idea of the kinds of items i needed to pick up - basic cookbooks, clean and pretty measuring spoons, some stainless steel bowls that i could use as a makeshift double boiler. a quick look into the first cookbook mentioned that i would need some dipping forks for chocolate coating and parchment paper for the finished product. i added in a wire cooling rack because it seemed like a good idea. the helpful lady at Sur la Table had the idea to include cute gold foil paper and mini candy wrappers for the finished product - but i’m not sure that my wrapping skills will be anything worthy of photographs…i’m imagining it will be like when i try to wrap things in saran wrap, which anyone knows is no easy or pretty feat.
oh, also a candy thermometer - i used to have one because homemade marshmallows were/are my favorite thing to make/eat but at some point i shattered the glass encased temperature gauge just being clumsy. typical.
and a bar of good dark chocolate. i chose Scharffen Berger, bittersweet 70% cacao.
Soundtrack: A Smile and a Ribbon Patience and Prudence
So begins my quest for a new hobby. Something that speaks to me, gets me out of bed in the morning excited for what the day is going to bring.
So what if I chose business school over pastry school. I’m bright, talented and a quick learner. I know I can teach myself the in’s and out’s of candy making if I put my mind to it.
I may be a bit messy. I may be a bit clumsy. But gosh darnit I have enthusiasm in spades and love putting my all into a new project.
So here is goes. A champagne toast to future sugar burns, melted chocolate splatters, powdered sugar kitty paw print tracks, and hopefully some delicious treats that I can gift to my loved ones.