|A CROWN FOR CANDY ROYALTY... NOT ME :-(|
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 www.chocoley.com 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|
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.