Sunday, March 6, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Originally posted 10/22/10

As promised….this is part two of Halloween “Trick or Treats”.  Part one was pumpkin donut holes, and today I will show you how to make maple buttermilk candy.  Candy making is actually pretty easy.  It takes a little patience, but still….pretty easy.  And it takes a candy thermometer.  There really is no way around that.  You can’t use your kid’s thermometer, or a meat thermometer…..What’s that?  You don’t own one?  Well, ya should.  You can use it for more then just candy makin’.  You can use it to deep fry!

You are probably asking yourself….why on earth would I make my own candy when I can buy perfectly good mini-Snickers at the grocery store?  Simple answer…it tastes so good!  And it will certainly impress your neighbors.  Making your own treats for Halloween is a super fancy way to celebrate!

To start…Here is what you need (besides the aforementioned candy thermometer).
I really shouldn’t have gone with the white dishes here, but let me tell you what you are looking at.  You will need 1 cup of buttermilk, 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of maple extract.  I really wasn’t using the ol’ noggin with the white dishes….did I already mention that?
Put the buttermilk, sugar and baking soda in a big pot.  You will cook this on high, stirring frequently, as it can quickly scorch.  Look at how much it poofs up from the baking soda.  And yes, “poof” is a technical term. 
You will cook, and stir, for about 15 minutes, or until your thermometer reads 235 degrees.  This is what is called the “soft ball” stage.  This means that if you dropped the mixture in a glass of cold water, it would form a soft ball.  That is way too hard.  Just get a thermometer.
It is super important that you let the mixture cook until it is 235 degrees.  If you lose your patience and take it off the heat too early, it will never harden.  You will end up with a lovely tasting sauce instead.

This is the color it will turn when it is at or close to 235 degrees….
Isn’t that crazy?  And it will smell like popcorn!  Keep the kids away from this.  It is hell-fire hot and will burn the bajeesus out of you if it splatters. 
As soon as you hit the magic number of 235 degrees, remove the pot from the heat.  Throw in the butter and maple extract.  Beat, with a hand mixer, until thick and creamy.  This will only take a couple of minutes.
When you are done mixing, scoop the candy into a mini-muffin tray.  You could also use candy molds if you happen to have them.  Or….a big muffin tray if you happen to like your candy on the huge side.  Make sure to spray your tray with cooking spray.  And I mean spray that bad boy!!  It needs to be well greased to help the candy come out later.
Look at the mess I made!  Candy makin’ is a messy business.

The candy will harden pretty quickly.  It should be ready in about 30 minutes.  Getting it out of the tray is the fun part!  Bang your tray down on a hard surface, repeatedly.  This should shake all of the candy out.  After trying it on the granite counters, and getting in trouble from my husband, I took it outside.  I banged my tray on the ground in front of my house.  Luckily, I don’t have close neighbors to stare and point.  My stellar rep is still intact around here…..
Yea for homemade candy!  Super easy and melt in your mouth good.  Like I said above, making your own trick or treat goodies is super fancy!

MMMMMMmmmmmmmm……Whiskey Apple Spread.  I made my family sundaes with vanilla ice cream, Whiskey Apple Spread, graham crackers and whipped cream.  Pick up some sauce ASAP…..available on my website, www.gourmetrooster.com.

Talk to you all on Monday!

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