Tag Archives: citrus

Something to Chew On

5 Jul

sugaring the candies

At some point in my early teen years, I found an old set of lollipop molds in my mom’s kitchen. Coupled with a 1960’s Better Homes and Gardens candy cookbook with faded photos of once glistening hard candies, I set out to make candy to give to friends at Christmas. My mom’s kitchen was not equipped with a candy thermometer, so I followed the instructions to test the various stages of candy using only a spoon and a plate. I diligently tested the clear sugary liquid several times, and when I thought it had reached the hard crack stage, I pulled the mixture off the stove, added flavor and color, and then carefully poured the hot liquid into the molds. As the plastic molds lay cooling on the dining room table, I was awfully pleased with myself. Dozens of glistening lollipops lined up like sweet soldiers. Oh they were perfect! …Right up until I removed them from the molds. I held up the first lolly and it took only a moment for the elongated figure to start drooping slowly forward. It would turn out that I had not cooked the candy quite long enough, leaving the lollies in the unfortunate soft crack stage: too soft to hold their shape or suck on the way one does with hard candy, but too hard to chew on like taffy. They were such sad lollipops, and yet I gave them away anyway, just one of the many flawed projects of my childhood lovingly bestowed on my unfortunate family and friends.

Twenty years later, I have still not made another attempt at making candy. I’ve made some chocolates, mostly truffles and barks that require significantly less precision than sugar candies. Recently however I stumbled upon a this recipe for making sour gummy candy from scratch. Though they are not hard candy, they do require slightly more precision than anything else I’ve tried. The project was enticing, and the gummies sounded like they might be slightly more forgiving than lollipops. Bouyed by a recent successful Worcestershire sauce-making endeavor (and who ever thought you could make that from scratch?!), I thought I’d give the gummy candy a go.

This time I started off by acquiring a candy thermometer, as well as a few flexible silicone molds (originally intended for ice). Turns out those candy thermometers are pretty handy. Once the sugar mixture had reached temperature, I added the pectin mixture as instructed and then divided the mix between two glass containers. I used lemon extract and yellow coloring in one half, and orange extract and coloring in the other. I ended up with a total of 44 candies.

bubbling candy mixture

citrus candy molds2

citrus star

This candy making attempt was FAR more successful than my first foray into the world of cooking sugar, and I am extremely pleased with how the candies turned out. I love how sour they are, and think they are just plain pretty. With the array of silicone molds out there these days, I’d say the possibilities are endless. My beau remarked that he thought they were a little slimy, and indeed the gummies are a little softer than many store-bought varieties. I might consider altering the amount of pectin in the recipe to make the candies a little firmer, but please note that the gummies were not apparently slimy enough to keep aforementioned beau from eating a dozen of them.

finished hearts

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