Sweet experiments

As I sit at my kitchen table writing this post, my hands are sticky, my clothes are dirty, there is a glob of sugar in my hair and I’m a happy girl! Now, now, get your mind out of the gutter people! I’ve been learning how to make candy all week. Yes, all week. At first, I was going to reserve one day of my well deserved March Break to try out some recipes, but in the end, I’ve learned that candy making is a process that requires a lot of love and A LOT of patience.

Now you all know that I love to bake and have been doing so since I was young. Frozen cake 2However, I’ve never quite tried my hand at candy making even though I LOVE candy. I’ve made a ton of truffles over the years and made hard candy last year to top my Frozen cake (see picture), but that was my first try at boiling down sugar and using a candy thermometer. It always intimidated me. But not any more!!!

I made four different types of candy this week. I chose two recipes from Sally McKenney’s “Sally’s Candy Addiction” book to try (Chewy Cream Caramels and Cake Pops – yes cake pops are candy…you try to eat just one!) and also decided to try meringues, a recipe which I found in a Food Network magazine. And finally, I was inducted into a secret club – the divinity fudge club – thanks to my mom’s awesome neighbours.

With the trusted help of my favourite baking blogger Sally, I knew I was in good hands. I don’t remember when I stumbled upon Sally’s Baking Addiction blog, but it is partially responsible for reawakening my baking passion. She has two books out (Sally’s Baking Addiction and Sally’s Candy Addiction), both of which I own and love.  The candy one only came out late last year so I haven’t had a chance to try many recipes. This was my time!

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Love these books!

20160308_152552Cake pops : Sally’s recipes were easy to follow as usual and not intimidating at all. The cake pops were fun to make, but I only dipped a dozen. The others are in the freezer awaiting a special occasion. Cake pops are quickly becoming the new cupcake and they are an art in themselves. I salute people who make very detailed cake pops as I only had the patience to top them with sprinkles. I was afraid they would be too sweet, but I was wrong! Even my dad liked them even though he usually prefers savoury treats. I would definitely make these again, but with a little more time in order to get more creative with the decorations.

Chewy 20160311_184050Cream Caramels : I almost didn’t make the caramels for two reasons. For one, I was getting tired by the end of the week and two, I LOVE caramels so I was a little scared to try these. This recipe should really come with a warning as “the most addictive candy in the world”! Holy cow they are delicious! And they are, unfortunately for me, fairly easy to make.  They would make really nice gifts too…if I didn’t eat them all! #sorrynotsorry

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As a bonus, not only did Sally like my picture, she also gave me two thumbs up! Exciting!

 

Meringues : As far as looks were concerned, the meringues were my favourite20160308_152258. I pipped them using a 1M tip from Wilton to make a rose. Meringues are easy to make, but require a long cooking time (three to five hours) on a very low heat. I wanted to try making some since I’ve seen so many beautiful cakes lately on my Instagram feed that are topped and decorated with fancy meringues. I wish someone would order a cake like this from me….anyone? I’m dying to try it!

Divinity Fudge : On Thursday, I headed down to my parents’ place with a mission : to learn how to make divinity fudge. When I was young, there  was an older lady who lived down the street named Edna and she introduced me to divinity fudge. Since her passing, I’ve never quite found the equivalent. The only thing that came close was the fudge at bake sales at the hospital, but it wasn’t quite the same.

However, a few years ago, my mother started hanging out with a couple of ladies 20160310_150518who lived down the street. Imelda, who is 97 years old, and her daughter Connie are fudge making machines! Connie makes the fudge and Imelda scoops it out into these beautiful cloud shaped pieces. They literally are a dream team. We’ve been lucky enough to received their fudge as gifts over the years, but I’d always wanted to learn how to make it, because to me, divinity fudge is a dying art. So many people love it, but not many people know how to make it. I knew I had a golden opportunity with this dream team and thankfully, they invited me over to watch them make it so that I could learn their tricks.

I had a wonderful afternoon with these ladies and I am so grateful that they were willing to share this recipe with me. It is by far the best divinity fudge I’ve ever tasted. Plus, I learned something very valuable. Do you know what’s better than divinity fudge? Warm divinity fudge! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… The scary thing is it only takes about half an hour to make this decadent treat, yet it melts in your mouths within seconds. Pure bliss! There is a reason it’s called divinity fudge : it’s so heavenly! I can’t thank Connie and Imelda enough for letting me in on this recipe and I’m sorry to tell you that I’ve been sworn to secrecy!

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Imelda and I enjoying the fudge covered spoon…Connie didn’t want to be in the picture.

Now, after all this candy, I really need to go for a walk. Life is all about balance, right?

 

 

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