I made that!

Sugar…ah…honey honey…

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, The Candy Store by brandi on June 30, 2009

A co-worker was singing that Archies song at work the other day, and it was in my head from the moment I saw the ingredients for honeycomb candy. And thus I needed to make some immediately. It was super fast – I think cleaning up the pot later was the hardest part. I basically just boiled some sugar, water, honey and corn syrup until it caramelized. Then I turned off the heat and stirred in baking soda.

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It got pretty awesome looking. It boiled up into a foamy fluff that I poured onto a greased cookie sheet.

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I let it cool and then broke it into big chunks. Traditionally it’s dipped in chocolate, but I’ve been eating so much chocolate lately that I decided to hold off on that and just enjoy it as is.

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How Tessa Got Her Teeth Back

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, The Candy Store by brandi on March 3, 2009

After 1 year of being a certified metal mouth, my friend Tessa got her braces  off yesterday. Since this is OBVIOUSLY a cause for celebration, we are celebrating. Tonight. With 2 things gooey and forbidden to the contemporary braceface: Candied apples and homemade cracker jack popcorn.

I got a little excited about the caramel apples, even made a special trip to Flax for supplies (Why don’t grocery stores sell popsicle sticks?). I found some festive colored sticks and the rest is history. As in, I jabbed them into some apples.

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Then I made a caramel sauce with yummy things like molasses, maple syrup and lots of sugar and butter.

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After the sauce cooled down a bit, I dunked the apples.

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It was harder than it sounds. There was some serious temperature regulating that did not happen. Too hot and it all slides right off the apple, but too cool and it looks all thick and gloppy (I gave that one to John, he didn’t mind). I dipped them in crushed pistachios too, but most of them slid into a little puddle at the bottom. Kind a little nut stand to prop the apples up. In the end I did get a few that looked halfway decent.

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Yes, it’s a ribbon. Got that at Flax too.

After that it was on to some more stickiness. Crackerjack is super easy to make, and I think this one will go into the regular rotation.

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I could’t remember what it even tasted like, but when I popped some of these in my mouth it was like “wow – THAT”S what it tastes like!” Highly recommend making a batch for yourself.

RECIPE:

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn

4 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup shelled peanuts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon salt

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Put the popcorn in a brown paper bag, pour in 4 teaspoons of olive oil and close the bag with a piece of tape. Heat it on high in the microwave for 3 minutes. Put it in a bowl.

– Add the peanuts to the popcorn.

– For the caramel, heat the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses and salt in a pan on the stove until the butter is melted and the sugar is smooth and not grainy anymore. Pour this mixture over the popcorn and peanuts, stirring well. Pour it all onto a cookie sheet and place in oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring once or twice. It will be gooey and wet.

– Let air dry until crisp, then store in an airtight container until ready to be devoured.

Candied Citrus Peels

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, The Candy Store by brandi on February 16, 2009

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I am mildly obsessed with food waste. The more I cook/bake (and the poorer I get), the more I try to use every scrap of food. The farm that I get my CSA box from offers amazing citrus every year, and this winter has been no different. I look forward to squeezing the juice for John once a week (mostly because I think it might be the only time he gets fruit, if it wasn’t for me I swear he would have scurvy), but I always look guiltily at the pile of peels leftover from all that squeezing. So yesterday when I squeezed all the citrus in the house – several oranges, lots of meyer lemons (gelato -hello?) and 2 GIGANTIC grapefruits – I saved the peels. Today I decided to candy them.

First I sliced up my peels into what looked like yummy, chewably sized strips.

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Then I boiled them 3 times, each time starting with fresh cold water. That step supposedly helps to remove some of the bitterness as well as open the peels up to absorb the sugar.

Once rinsed of their bitter ways,  I poached the peels in simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) for an hour, until the pith turned from opaque to translucent.

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I drained the peels and gave them a good toss in some sugar.

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Then they spent the night on cooling racks, to dry out.

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So tomorrow we snack! And probably the day after, and the day after.

Some xmas candy.

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, The Candy Store, Yes We Can! by brandi on December 17, 2008

Yesterday I woke up with a head cold. It was sad. But instead of lying under the covers all day, I invited Pantea over for a holiday cooking marathon. Xmas presents: check.

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Of course no holiday baking is complete without some brittle.

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And some pretty good peanut and sea salt brittle, if I do say so myself.

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And pear butter. Deliciously spicy pear butter.  Liquid pie I call it. This year is all about pears for me. Pear & molassas upside down cakes, pear pies w/ pecan crust, pear and ginger crisps…I just can’t stop.

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Yes, it’s bacon. Candied bacon. And yes, I cut it up with scissors.

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That’s right. Candied bacon toffee. With sea salt and a hint of cayenne. The piece de resistance. My new favorite candy. EVER.