As you may have figured out, the challenge this month was all about candy! How very exciting.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 athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
Candy is one of those things I’ve always wanted to try making but have been too scared. Having a reason to make it was the perfect motivator to give it the old college try.
And you know what? It wasn’t all that hard.
I did have a couple issues with the recipes. First, while I followed the recipe to a T, I think the Honeycomb candy had a bit too much baking soda (or maybe I didn’t mix it well enough?). In certain pieces of the finished product, it had a baking soda aftertaste that was not pleasant.
My main issue, however, was with melting the chocolate to the appropriate dipping consistency. I didn’t temper it, but tried the microwave method that many people had recommended. I think maybe I overcooked it? All I know is that it was more gloppy than silky smooth. This didn’t in any way affect the taste (they were amazing!), but it did make the process a whole lot messier and more frustrating.
By the time I finished, there was chocolate smeared on the refrigerator door handles, the microwave, all over the counter, on my face where I wiped my brow in frustration, and dripped all over the floor. I think I may have even seen a few drops on LC the cat. It’ll be a nice surprise for her the next time she decides to groom herself ;)
Filled Chocolates (made with molds)
Makes about 25 small chocolates
Dark or milk chocolate melted, preferably tempered, about 14 oz
Powdered food coloring (lustre dust mixed with extract) for decoration (optional)
A small brush
Bench or plastic scraper
A small brush or spoon
1. When coating the molds with the tempered chocolate, I like to do it how the chocolate pro’s do it (much faster and a lot less tedious). While holding mold over bowl of tempered chocolate, take a nice ladle of the chocolate and pour over the mold, making sure it cover and fills every well. Knock the mold a few times against a flat surface to get rid of air bubbles, then turn the mold upside down over the bowl of chocolate, and knock out the excess chocolate. Turn right side up and drag a bench or plastic scraper across so all the chocolate in between the wells is scraped off cleanly, leaving you with only chocolate filled wells. Put in the fridge to set, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Alternatively, if you’d like (or if your chocolate wasn’t tempered correctly and didin’t allow for pouring!) you could take a small brush and paint the tempered chocolate into each mold, or spoon it in if you’d like.
3. Remove from refrigerator and fill each well with the filling of your choice. With the mint filling I used, I rolled each into a small ball, put it in the chocolate filled mold, and flattened it.
4. Again take a ladle of chocolate and pour it on top of the filled chocolate wells, knocking against a flat surface to settle it in. Scrape excess chocolate off the mold with the bench scraper then refrigerate until set.
4. When set, pop your beautiful filled chocolates out of each well.
5. If decorating with lustre dust, put a small amount in a little bowl mixed with a drop or two of extract of choice. Mix well and paint in desired pattern on top of chocolates!
Sponge Candy (also called Honeycomb or Sea Foam candy)
Adapted from Christine Cushing’s Sponge Toffee Recipe
Full photo tutorial Here
2½ cups (20oz/560gm) Granulated White Sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) Light corn syrup
6 tablespoons (90 ml) Water
1 tablespoon (0.5 oz/ 15g) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for greasing pan
1. Liberally grease a 10-inch round spring form cake pan with vegetable oil. Trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper circle. Line the sides of the pan with a parchment paper so that the parchment paper creates a collar that sits 1 to 2-inches above the pan. Liberally grease the parchment paper.
2. In a deep medium saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil (without stirring) and cook until hard crack stage, i.e. until temperature reads 285°F / 140°C on a candy thermometer (if using light corn syrup, it will be light amber, if using dark corn syrup it will be the color of maple syrup). This should take about 10 minutes. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3. Remove from heat. Working quickly, add the baking soda and quickly blend to incorporate the soda into the sugar mixture, about 5 seconds. The mixture will bubble up when you add the baking soda. Be very careful not to touch the hot mixture.
4. Immediately pour the hot toffee into the prepared pan. Let set completely before touching. Cut into pieces. It makes a huge mess. But the messy little crumbs can be saved to top ice cream. Leave candy as is and enjoy, or dip pieces in tempered chocolate and let set.