Friday, 2 May 2014

300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes

300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes
Brittles, Caramels, Chocolates, 
Fudge, Truffles & So Much More
by Jane Sharrock
Paperback, 320 pages

Recognize any of the words on the ingredient list on candies these days? No. Me neither.

Which brings us to a good point - here we are making great meals at home, why not make delicious candy at home as well? With real sugars and butters and readily recognizable ingredients found in the local grocers or bulk store and not in a lab somewhere.

Homemade candy make a great present or host/hostess gift and are delightful for a special gathering. Or even to show someone how special they are. Sure you could give them a Mars bar, but homemade fudge or spiced nuts for example? Much better.

With 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes, you will learn how to make all sorts of classic homemade candies from beginner to advanced and everything in between. You'll learn cooking and handling and shaping techniques, the stages of cooked sugar and the wonders it can turn into at different stages of heat.

You can even look up recipes by skill level. Start with easier if you wish and progress to more challenging candy. There is a trouble shooting guide if something doesn't go as planned.

Please don't forget to share the fudge with me. I like fudge. With red wine. What?

Candy recipes include:

• Old-Fashioned Cooked Candies
• Old-Fashioned Hard Candies
• Clusters, Patties and Pralines
• Divinities, Nougats and Similar Candies
• Old-Fashioned Candy Rolls
• Old-Fashioned Chocolate Fudges
• Balls and Shaped Candies
• Chocolate-Coated Candies
• Candied and Spiced Nuts
• Popcorn Candies and Fruit Candies

Old-Fashioned Pastel Butter Mints, page 207, Mints
At one time, these creamy pastel butter mints were just as essential to a proper Southern wedding as having a bride and groom. Traditionally served in a crystal bowl or silver compote, the mints were placed between the white wedding cake and the equally essential bowl of roasted cocktail nuts. We Southerners have loosened up a bit the past few decades, but not enough to stop loving this old-fashioned candy.

2 cups    confectioner’s (icing) sugar    500 mL
1 cup    cornstarch    250 mL
2 cups    granulated sugar    500 mL
3⁄4 cup    water    175 mL
1⁄4 cup    butter (do not use     60 mL
1⁄4 tsp    cream of tartar (or     1 mL
    2 tbsp/30 mL cider vinegar)
    Food coloring as desired
10    drops peppermint oil (or     10
    1⁄2 tsp/2 mL peppermint

•    Skill Level: Advanced
•    Makes about 50
•    Large rimmed baking sheet, buttered
•    2-quart heavy saucepan
•    Candy thermometer

1.    In a flat container that can be sealed, combine the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch, mixing well.
2.    In heavy saucepan, bring the granulated sugar, water, butter and cream of tartar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Remove the lid. Cook at a rapid boil, without stirring, to 265°F (129°C). When the temperature is nearly 265°F (129°C), drop in a few drops of food coloring, tinting the mixture to a light pastel color.
3.    Remove from the heat. Quickly add the peppermint oil and turn onto the prepared baking sheet to cool. As soon as the candy can be handled, knead by hand until it can be picked up and pulled. Pull or stretch the candy until it is firm. Stretch the candy into a rope about 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) in diameter. Using kitchen shears, snip the rope into 1⁄2- to 1-inch (1 to 2.5 cm) pieces, letting the pieces fall into the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch mixture. Store the mints with the sugar mixture in the airtight container until the mints soften and become creamy, 2 to 3 days. When the mints have softened, turn the mints and the sugar mixture into a sieve, shaking the sieve to remove the excess sugar. Store the softened mints in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cook’s Note
When pulling and stretching the candy, dip your fingers into a little cornstarch to prevent the candy from sticking.

Courtesy of 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Blue Ribbon Turtles, page 200, Balls & Shaped Candies
Simply delicious.

72    pecan halves    72
36    soft caramels, unwrapped    36
2 to    semisweet chocolate,     60 to
4 oz    chopped    125 g

•    Skill Level: Novice, Easy
•    Makes 18 pieces
•    Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
•    Large baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil, foil buttered
•    Double boiler

1.    Place the pecans on the prepared baking sheet, arranging the pecan halves in X-shaped groups of four. Press the caramels by hand until slightly flattened. Place 2 caramels on top of each cluster, lightly pressing the caramels into the pecans. Heat the clusters in the oven 5 to 8 minutes or until the caramels soften. Remove from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack. If needed, use a buttered spatula to spread the softened caramels over the pecans. Cool.
2.    Cover a large countertop area with waxed paper. Remove the clusters from the baking sheet and place on the waxed paper.
3.    In the top pan of a double boiler over hot but not boiling water, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Brush the tops of the clusters with the melted chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate is firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Cook’s Note
The chocolate may be melted in the microwave if preferred.

Courtesy of 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.

Lollipops, page 57, Old Fashioned Hard Candy
To liven up your lollipops, try decorating them with a few multicolored sprinkles while the candy is still warm.

2 cups    granulated sugar    500 mL
2⁄3 cup    light (white) corn syrup    150 mL
1 cup    water    250 mL
1⁄2 tsp    food coloring of choice     2 mL
1⁄2 tsp    oil flavoring of choice     2 mL

•    Skill Level: Advanced
•    Makes about 12
•    2 large baking sheets, buttered
•    2-quart heavy saucepan
•    Candy thermometer
•    Lollipop sticks

1.    In heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Remove the lid. Cook, without stirring, to the hard crack stage (300°F/149°C).
2.    Remove from the heat. Quickly add the coloring and flavoring, stirring only until mixed. Let the candy cool for about 5 minutes or until starting to thicken. To check if it’s ready, spoon a small amount onto the prepared baking sheet. It should flow and spread slowly rather than spreading very quickly to a thin disc. Once the candy is ready, quickly drop from the tip of a large spoon onto the prepared baking sheet, making certain the drops are round. Press a lollipop stick into the edge of each lollipop before it hardens. If desired, spoon a little more of the candy on top of the stick to cover. Press any decorations into the lollipop at the same time. Loosen the lollipops from the pan before they get too cold or they will crack. To store, wrap the cooled lollipops in cellophane or waxed paper.

Courtesy of 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.