I thought it was somewhat sad that the first action my candy thermometer had seen in months was yoghourt, so I decided to give it some practice in its intended arena. I’d been planning on gifting my sister with some homemade birthday candy anyway, so the time was right!
(Uh, chan if you’re reading this… sorry I ruined the suprise and they’re in the mail! I was just too excited to share — Happy Birthday!)
So what did I make? Well…
I don’t even remember how long ago I’d read Parikha’s instructions but they’d always struck me as delicious-sounding and relatively healthy (umm, you know, as candy goes). Naturally, I was delighted to finally get around to making some myself! They were easy as advertised, although carving all that pith off the rinds does take some time (for me anyway).
Okay, so this one actually didn’t require the use of the thermometer. Nonetheless, the results were very tasty, and I highly recommend it.
What? What kind of homemade candy present would it have been if there was no luscious chocolate involved? I used Ree’s awesome tutorial although I skipped the sea salt since I was planning on rolling in cocoa for the finish. (Frankly, I’m a snob and didn’t want to pollute my little chocolate treasures with a milk chocolate shell, and I thought doing a dark chocolate one would be too boring. Also, I had sea salt planned for the third candy anyway. Look, leave me alone about the salt, alright?)
I don’t know why these treats are called “truffles”, since they seem to consist entirely of chocolate and condensed milk, but I do know they’re delicious. A nice rich counter to the light, tangy, slightly bitter orangettes, these are not all that sweet. (In fact, were I to make them up again, I’d up the condensed milk, and darken the chocolate I used.)
What’s that? I didn’t use a candy thermometer for this one either? Okay, well, yes, that’s true. Fear not, however. Both the not-that-sweet-ness and the no-thermometer-ness of the previous two candies are about to be remedied with the third contender:
Although I did salivate greatly over Deb’s recipe, I decided to go with a non-chocolatey version. Basically I wanted each candy in this trio to have a clear flavour all its own. Having covered clear and tangy in the orangettes, then rich and chocolatey in the truffles, I wanted to go with toothsome and buttery-sweet with the caramels.
The end result? The caramels were definitely toothsome in the end, as well as being the most fun to make. However, since I don’t have light corn syrup, nor do I have any intention of ever buying any, I substituted maple. (What? I’m Canadian; you had to have seen that coming.) This would have been fine if I had had a marker other than “deep golden colour” to go by for the initial sugar-cooking part of the caramel.
Maple syrup is, in its delicious spring-timey glory, already a pretty deep golden-amber colour. After sloshing it over the white sugar, I let it go about 4 or 5 minutes, at which point it started bubbling up pretty vigorously. Having established that the colour marker was meaningless for me, I threw in the cream, figuring if I left the sugar much longer, it would harden into toffee, thus ruining my caramel.
The result of this (I think?) is that my caramels are slightly blonder than I expected, and much softer. (On the plus side, though, they’re still very tasty. Just, you know, kind of shapeless.) The salt was a nice counter to the creamy sweetness without being overly in-your-face. Definitely something I’d make again.
So, conclusion? There has been way too much candy-sampling in my house over the past week. Also, candy-making is fun! I suspect there will be a repeat of these and similar activities going on this December… in the meantime, however, I have some leftover bits to finish up!