Making candy

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I was thinking of making candy for family as Christmas presents. Do you have any favorite candy recipes?

The ideal would be candy that would travel well (ie last at least several days as I would like to make them ahead of time and also we're driving to visit family for the holidays) but just put all your favorite candy recipes here.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 19 November 2010 01:20 (thirteen years ago) link

My favorite candy is peanut brittle -- this is Lillian Carter's recipe (taken from John Egerton's Southern Food), and it's the perfect size to make a half-sheet-pan full. Once it's broken up, it makes a gallon ziploc bag full, with overflow.

"Boil together 3 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of light corn syrup until it spins a slender thread (about 230˚F on a candy thermometer). Add 3 cups of salted peanuts[1] and stir constantly until the syrup turns golden brown and reaches the hard-crack stage (300˚). Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 4 tablespoons of butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir until the butter melts, then pour the candy out quickly onto a large buttered cookie sheet[2] with sides. Spread it thin and let cool. When the candy has hardened, break it into pieces and store in a tin with a tight-fitting lid."

My notes:
[1] I don't use salted peanuts and I think it's a bad idea to use them. Use raw peanuts and add 3/4 teaspoon of salt when you add the baking soda. The peanuts cook to a perfect nutty doneness as the candy goes from 230 to 300.
[2] Don't forget to butter the baking sheet and get the rest of your mise en place before you start all this. Things get frantic in the last minute.
[3] Cook it in a large pot. When you add the baking soda, it will foam up considerably and then subside.
[4] Best to do this with an assistant -- one person pouring the candy out, one person spooning/scraping.
[5] Most important of all: only make peanut brittle on sunny cloudless low-humidity days. If you make it on a humid/rainy day, the humidity will suck up into the candy and it will come out sticky, tacky, nasty and not-brittle. If you make it on a sunny day, it will be smooth like glass and not sticky.

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 19 November 2010 01:56 (thirteen years ago) link

IMO a candy thermometer is a good investment if you plan on doing this. Fudge is pretty easy to make – my mom has a recipe that always turns out great, I could get it from her if you want.

Stop Non-Erotic Cabaret (Abbbottt), Friday, 19 November 2010 02:47 (thirteen years ago) link

I have been wanting to make sea salt caramels – does anyone have a good recipe?

Stop Non-Erotic Cabaret (Abbbottt), Friday, 19 November 2010 02:47 (thirteen years ago) link

already have a candy thermometer!

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 19 November 2010 02:48 (thirteen years ago) link

caramels would be good.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 19 November 2010 02:48 (thirteen years ago) link

I spent so many years making candy by just doing the drop it in water "ball stage" test and burning the fuck out of myself over and over, and also sometimes fucking up the candy.

Stop Non-Erotic Cabaret (Abbbottt), Friday, 19 November 2010 02:49 (thirteen years ago) link

Nick, if you make peanut brittle, I will totally help out by tasting it to make sure it is okay to give to your family.

phantoms from a world gone by speak again the immortal tale: (Jenny), Friday, 19 November 2010 04:49 (thirteen years ago) link

My mom makes fudge every Christmas, but I've never tried it myself. Don't think it's that difficult, although exact temperatures, getting the chocolate tempered, blah blah etc, these are probably the most important things and your candy therm will be perfect for this.

I've got ten bucks. SURPRISE ME. (Laurel), Friday, 19 November 2010 14:23 (thirteen years ago) link

I've made chocolate-covered candied orange peels the last two years and sent them to faraway friends. Sort of time-consuming, but so good.

lindseykai, Tuesday, 23 November 2010 02:03 (thirteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

oh wow i really want to make those orange peels!!!

here's my grandmother's christmas candy recipe. it's a holiday staple in my family - kind of like a hard toffee. i've never actually made it, but for years my grandma and mother would make huge batches and then give little christmas bags full of it as gifts to coworkers, friends, party hosts, etc.

1 pound unsalted butter
2 cups white granulated sugar

2 tbl white corn syrup
6 tbl water

1 ½ cup walnuts, chopped

12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

Melt the butter and then gradually stir in the sugar. Stir in the corn syrup and
water. Cook over medium heat to the hard crack stage (160 C). Stir in the walnuts
and continue to cook for 3 minutes over low heat. Pour onto a greased cookie
sheet and spread evenly. Cool. Melt the chocolate chips and spread over the
cooled candy. Option: You may wish to sprinkle additional chopped nuts over the
chocolate. When the candy is completely cooled and the chocolate is set, break /
cut into rough pieces.

tehresa, Sunday, 12 December 2010 18:31 (thirteen years ago) link

I made peanut brittle! It turned out good! I was worried about the humidity because it was like 64% here which sounds high but it didn't appear to cause any problems.

congratulations (n/a), Sunday, 19 December 2010 23:28 (thirteen years ago) link

It's kind of intimidating the first couple of times because the candy thermometer starts racing to 300 and I was like "oh shit, don't let me burn this," but it's really pretty easy.

pixel farmer, Sunday, 19 December 2010 23:41 (thirteen years ago) link

It was pretty easy. It took longer than I expected to get up to 250 degrees but then it shot up to 300 in like a minute.

congratulations (n/a), Sunday, 19 December 2010 23:57 (thirteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

I have taken first steps to creating a company that makes brittle for money.

Ippei's on a bummer now (WmC), Friday, 14 June 2024 18:40 (one month ago) link

Cool! My grandmother used to make it every year for the holidays. It's been 30 years since I've had any. Please post if you have mail order.

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Saturday, 15 June 2024 01:39 (four weeks ago) link

No mail order yet, but maybe soon. I'm dipping my toe into retail waters by selling at a local farmers market starting next Saturday and throughout the summer. I made a test batch of pecan brittle yesterday and it turned out great, so I'll have that as well as peanut brittle.

I bought some brittle from a couple of online sellers to see what the competition is up to, and got bags of tiny pieces and crumbs. Another thing the other places do is stretch their brittle out so it's very thin, but all the nice bubbles created by the baking soda go away. Why put all those bubbles in there if you're just going to pop them? I leave mine thick, airy and crisp.

Ippei's on a bummer now (WmC), Saturday, 15 June 2024 18:43 (four weeks ago) link

would buy!

I painted my teeth (sleeve), Saturday, 15 June 2024 22:02 (four weeks ago) link

sounds great, and glad to hear. pecan brittle please! in Cali home food operators are only supposed to sell within the state, but maybe the rules of your state are different (regulations seem to vary wildly from state to state)?

gneiss, gneiss, very gneiss (outdoor_miner), Saturday, 15 June 2024 22:53 (four weeks ago) link

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