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Daring Bakers: Candylicious!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I went through a phase when I was so interested in making candy that I bought myself a candy thermometer and Candy Making For Dummies.
    As if that was all the equipment that was needed, I imagined myself quitting my newspaper job and becoming a candymaker, enticing millions... well, thou... hundreds of people with my own brand of confectionery and becoming a hero to dentists.
   That was about two years ago. I have used the candy thermometer twice in that time and only opened the Dummies book at end-June this year for a recipe for jelly candy (paté de fruit), which I tried numerous times and failed each time. Candy conglomerate? A queue outside my door? People would more likely be lining up to pelt me with jawbreakers they got from someone else's shop.
    Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive to take part in this month's Daring Bakers challenge when I saw "Candylicious!" screaming from the title. Here's the brief:
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
   For the recipes and all the instructions, here's the document.
   The Daring Bakers had to make two types of candy: one had to have chocolate either in it or on it, and the other could be any other candy. The main challenge – although I like to look at it as "the lesson of the month" – was to temper chocolate.
    Among the choices of non-chocolate candy was sponge candy (also called honeycomb or sea foam candy). The last time I made this candy was almost three years ago. It was for the first edition of Don't Call Me Chef, the newspaper cooking column my mates and I started co-producing in December 2009. The recipe from Lisa and Mandy was slightly different, so why not?
    Well, that first time I made honeycomb candy, it took a few tries and a kilo of sugar before I finally got it right. This time, I failed again the first time round. Experts always warn us to keep an eye on the syrup once the sugar is melted because it can burn if kept on the heat a second longer than necessary. But no-o-o-o... I had to go do some washing up, and pfft, everything in the pot was suddenly black and smelly!

A honey bee pays a visit (right) and chocolate-covered truffles 
    Never mind, clean the pot and on to the next try. Fortunately, I only decided to make a third of the amount given in the recipe, so it didn't feel like a total waste. The second time, as evidenced by the pictures, turned out better even if it wasn't perfect. At least I got a crown out of it.
    For the chocolate candy, I made a chocolate-covered cake truffle. Since I wanted to focus on the chocolate coating, I admit I did take a short cut with the cake part of the truffle. I already had crumbs from a batch of cream cheese-swirled brownies which didn't cook all the way through, so I added a little rum to it and made little rum balls which would be dipped in tempered chocolate. Nothing difficult in that task.
    The tempering was another story. Without a chocolate thermometer, I relied solely on appearance, but without any expertise, of course I couldn't tell by eye or feel if the chocolate was ready. In the end, it was still chocolate even though it didn't pass any tempering test ­­– it wasn't shiny, it didn't snap and it certainly wouldn't have qualified for any confectionery title I might have dreamed for myself.
    Those truffles got eaten but nobody was fooled. Everyone knew it was solely because of the rum.


  1. That crown you started with is so fun! It caught my attention right away. Was it hard to shape it like that?

  2. Hi Katie, I wish I had something to do with the shape, but it just happened on its own! When I poured the honeycomb mixture into the tin, it ballooned up, then sank in the middle. Voila, a crown!

  3. My husband made the comment after two failed candies that I definitely would not want to become a chocolatier or candy maker, so I can totally relate to your dreams of making chocolates being dashed! Your candies still look great. Nice job on the challenge!

  4. The crown is so cool! So artistic, even if it just happened, I think you have just discovered an awesome way to produce an edible crown! And it looks like a jewel!

  5. Hi Marty, that look cool. I would like to try it. Does it taste very sweet?.

  6. Great blog, keep up the good work. Glad to see sites like this. Bakery Equipment


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