Candy - this months Daring Bakers challenge was to make two different candies. One of the candies must had to be a chocolate candy and the other could be anything. Candy making is one of the things I got into a long time ago - when I was in college I made my first dipped candies. I like candy making since it is kind of cooking and chemistry combined. There is lots of cooking over the stove and watching a thermometer - and it is kind of crucial that you get it pretty exact. Well, since then I have not really done much with the candy making. Not because I didn't enjoy making candy - but because I didn't really need to eat it. Well this challenge gave me a chance to get back into candy making and try some new things.
I have been really busy lately which kind of takes the creativity right out of me - so I just decided to do some of the recipes that were provided to us. I am not really a chocolate person so I decided to make two of the non-chocolate recipes provided and one chocolate candy.
The first candy I decided to make was Pâte de fruit. I do not eat a lot of candy but if I had to pick my favorite it would be those candy orange slices. Pâte de fruit is what those orange slices are trying to copy. I made an orange and a lemon version. They are made with real fruit and real zest and you can tell. The flavor is very real and fresh - not artificial like the ones you buy in the bag. They also are much softer and not as chewy as the ones from the store. They are not hard to make - but they take a lot of stirring. I didn't keep track but think I must have stirred over a hot pan for close to an hour for the two versions - but it was definitely worth it.
I didn't need to make another non-chocolate candy but the recipe for Sponge candy (aka honeycomb aka seafoam) looked kind of fun and easy too. You just throw the ingredients in a pan and wait for it to hit 285 degrees. When it hits temp you take it off the heat and add a bunch of baking soda. As soon as the baking soda is added it foams like crazy and you put it in your prepared pan. For a long time it sits there growing and falling and looking like it is breathing. My four year old loved it. The recipe said I would make a mess cutting it and I did. I have no idea how they got the nicely cut pieces shown in the example. This wasn't really my favorite candy but it wasn't bad. It tasted of baking soda to me and I wonder if the amount could be reduced. Also, this is not the candy to eat if you wear braces.
My last candy was a rolled truffle. Truffles are something that are pretty easy to make - no tempering or anything. You just warm the cream and pour it over chocolate to melt it. When it gets semi-hard you scoop it out and roll it in balls. I added a little bit of grand marnier for flavor. I then rolled some of my truffles in cocoa and some of them into chopped pistachios. Even though I say I am not a big chocolate person these were very good. Nice soft, melt in your mouth, chocolate flavor. The grand marnier added just a hint of orange.