Friday, December 17, 2010

Bad ideas

Making candy in a rainstorm is a bad idea. It didn't occur to me at first that it would be, which is why I started my candy cooking at 7 pm. The recipe calls for about 2 hours of cooking time, until it reaches soft ball stage.

Now, this is the recipe that we try and fail to make every single Christmas. We decided last year that it must be because of our increased humidity in Oregon versus Minnesota in the winter, and decided that cooking the candy to medium ball stage would probably compensate for the humid problem.

What I didn't anticipate was the storm adding greatly to our humidity. Which, in turn, means that instead of two hours of cooking, the candy took a full 6 hours to reach medium ball stage. Yup, that does mean I was up until 1 am checking the damn stuff.

It started as a white mixture, turned tan, then brown, and finally, in the end, was a dark brownish blackish almost burned looking mixture. Yeah, 6 hours later.

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I let it cool overnight when I finally went to bed, leaving it loosely covered with a lid that would let steam escape to that dog hair didn't have a chance to settle into it.

The next key stage after cooking is to stir, stir, stir until it turns light in color and is able to be formed into balls. This is the part we always fail at every year, spending hours stirring a mixture that obviously does not want to be stirred. It is thick and hard to begin with, like mollassas except harder.

This year, it worked. And after a mere 20 minutes too. Maybe it was trying to make up for taking so long to cook?

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Once the balls were able to be formed, I melted up some chocolate, rolled the candy into balls, and began the final stage of candy making.
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The entire dipping sequence is pretty fun, but after a while it gets really boring. Especially once the chocolate gets low.

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In the end though, I have some beautiful chocolate cremes, and look forward to surprising my sister at Christmas with them.

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I did also make some toffee later that day. The weather cleared up enough that it was not the worst idea ever to make more candy.

Toffee is super easy though. Equal parts sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the smell makes you positive it is burned to a crisp, then poured in on a cookie sheet to cool and covered with chocolate.

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And then broken up onto a plate for serving.

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And now all the remaining candy is hidden so that we can't eat it all before Christmas comes.

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