It took about three years since the last candy making attempt to try again. This time we were armed with a little more knowledge, better tools and a good night’s sleep.
I though it would be fun to make something from my vintage cookbook collection, so the first recipe, Dulce de Panocha (or Penuche) was from “Trader Vik’s Book of Mexican Cooking” (1973). It tasted a lot like maple sugar candy–insanely sweet and slightly grainy. Not my favorite, but simple to make.
The second recipe was my old standby: peanut brittle. This year we made it in an enameled le creuset so we could clearly see the color of the syrup (which is crucial). But it was taxing (and damn scary) to lift a 30 pound pot of 295 degree sugar and pour it out onto sheets. The secret weapon was silpat; NOTHING sicks to these babies. I keep trying to find something that will, but haven’t so far. I didn’t even butter it and the brittle literaly slid right off. Last time (with buttered baking pans), I needed my spackling tool to force the brittle off!
The final recipe was my favorite: salted caramels! We made pans, and pans of this. I bought a cheap chocolate fondue pot, which was small (only holds about a cup) but i could dip around 50 caramels with one pot. It took about 10-15 minutes to melt on melt mode, then warm mode kept the chocolate at the perfect temperature for dipping—even down to the last caramel. We dipped milk and dark chocolate and finished with a variety of salts: Maldon Sea Salt, Australian Murray River Salt Flakes (a beautiful pale pink hue) and Hawaiian Alaea Sea Salt (brilliant orange, but maybe a bit too coarse for this usage).
Next time my new gadget will be candy-making gloves (and a cooler apartment).