Friday, January 21, 2011

Hot, sharp, and other irresistables

HSF beat me to posting about our awesome adventures in peppermint pillow making.  Everything is more fun with small children pulling on your arms.  I think I should always be learning new skills from my favorite people.  It makes life fun.  Watching the two of us and our husbands hustle to get the hot candy pulled and cut before it cooled would probably also be a barrel full of laughs.

HSF's secret family recipe:

  • 1 1/4 C. Water + more for heating extra pan
  • 4 C. Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. White vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar
  • Peppermint oil
  • Food coloring - both liquid and gel are fine
"Heat a small pan of water for later.  At the same time heat the water, sugar, vinegar, and cream of tartar in a medium-large saucepan on high stirring occasionally to combine all ingredients.  When it reaches a boil it looks like it will boil over but stir it a bit and it will calm down.  Once it's boiling cover and continue boiling for 2 minutes.  Uncover and put in the candy thermometer (be sure you've tested it beforehand so you know what temp it boils at and adjust the candy-making temperature as needed).  Boil the candy until it reaches 285*F.

While the candy is cooking butter the marble slab, several knives, and the candy hook.  Prepare several pairs of clean scissors, and pans or cookie sheets to cut candy later.  When the candy comes to temperature pour most of it onto the buttered marble slab.  Pour several drops of peppermint oil onto the hot candy.  One person begins using a buttered knife to turn the candy over on itself as it cools so it stays moving and the peppermint spreads throughout.  Pour about half of the candy that is left in the pan into the small now-emptied-of-water warmed pan.  Add food coloring into both pans (red and green are traditional, obviously) and swirl and rock them back and forth.  Do not stir them.

When the candy on the slab is cool enough to handle (it will still be very hot but manageable) take it from the slab to the hook and start pulling.  Gravity helps pull it down which gives the puller's hands a break from the hot candy now and then.  Twist the candy as it is pulled so it continues to wrap around itself and stick together.  While clear-white candy is being pulled pour the colored candy out in two separate puddles on the re-buttered slab.  Again, use the buttered knives to fold the candy over on itself eventually forming the puddles into logs.  Back at the hook pull the candy until it turns very white.  The longer it is pulled the more opaque white it will become.  When it is ready remove it from the hook and return it to the slab.  Form it into a log and use a thumb to form a trench on one side.  Place one of the colored logs into the trench to make a stripe.  Turn the log over and make a second trench.  Fill it with the other colored log.

Working quickly, one person pull out lengths of striped candy, snips, and hands the pieces to the other candy-makers who form them into long, twisted strands, lollypops, candycanes, or snip them into little bite-sized pieces with scissors (in which case cut them smaller than you may think).  I'd recommend making them with no less than three people, preferably more."  
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Speaking of scissors:


It's hard to see in a photo of blonde hair, but Sir O took some massive chunks out of his brother's hair recently.  He's officially and unconditionally banned from scissors for a while.  I'm still scratching my head on the best way to approach damage control, so for a few days the Captain's going to look pretty ridiculous.  I've been assured over and over that this is a right of passage for both parents and children, but somehow that's not making me feel any better.


hairyshoefairy said...

What a fun time! I loved having you over to make them! I'm sure it would be rather entertaining to witness the process.

Poor Graham. And by that I mean poor mama because I'm sure he doesn't care but as his mom I'm sure you do. My kids aren't vain yet but I'm vain on their behalf.

--jeff * said...

hearing how much fun you and the hsf had making candy made me happy.

then, hearing about the captain's haircut made me happier.
i can't entirely explain why, but it did.

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