Monday, March 13, 2006

Foray into Candy Making

While the brittle (this time anyhow) came out a bit blonde and fiddle-faddle colored (and rather lumpy too - the candy was cooling much faster than I could spread it out) is plenty fine for eating.

I see I have plenty of room for improvement in my candymaking skills.

Recipe from Raquel, adapted to omit cinnamon and cayenne.

Yield: About 1 pound

1/2 c water
2 c sugar
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 c light corn syrup
2 T unsalted butter
2 c dry roasted salted peanuts
1 t baking soda

Candy Thermometer
Silicone Mat or vegetable oil for greasing the sheet pan & pot

Line a sided sheet pan with a silicone baking mat, or oil it well with vegetable oil.

In a small bowl combine peanuts and baking soda. Set aside. (The baking soda will help make the candy more light in texture.)

Brush the inside of a medium sized heavy saucepan with vegetable oil. Add the water, sugar, cream of tartar and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Attach the candy thermometer making sure not to touch the pan bottom. After it boils, stir the mixture occasionally. Boil the mixture until it reaches 340 degrees F. The color should be deep golden brown. Remove from the heat and, working quickly, stir in the butter until melted, then the peanut mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread it out to about 1/4-inch thickness (it may not fill the whole pan). If necessary, in order to achieve single layer of peanuts, top with second sheet pan whose underside has been oiled.

Cool completely and then using your hands, and wearing cotton or plastic gloves if desired to keep off any fingerprints, break the brittle into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

I highly recommend either making sure you have a properly functioning candy thermometer (mine was not, so I had the pleasure of burnt caramel stinking up the entire house for the first run). Properly paranoid from that fiasco, the second batch was cooked just past hard crack stage, but should have gone one stage further in color development, I think - to a medium caramel color. I guess I'll be trying it again sometime...they say third time's the charm, right? :D