29 Jul 07

Jul 29 2007

A quiet day of heat and rain. It began with a jog in the dense mugginess of a D.C. area summer. A few clouds provided scant, thin cover for the sun. But they muscled in and eventually obliterated it. By mid-afternoon, I was back from church and my parents had come over with the dogs, and thunder grumbled in the distance like a worried dog.

Then, rain! Sheets and torrents. Bits of hail, too. It was a brief tantrum, though, followed by several hours of steady rain. My parents ducked through the downpour around dinner time, I ate some melon and bread, and made some strawberry candies in between loads of laundry.

And now, to bed. But not before my hard candy recipe:

Put two cups sugar, 3/4 cup water, and 2/3 cup light corn syrup in a small pan. Put the pan on the stovetop, and turn the burner to half power (3 out of 6, 5 out of 10, or whatever). Put in a candy or probe thermometer.

When the thermometer reads 260 degrees, add drops of food coloring until it reaches the desired color. Don’t stir; it’ll be bubbling just fine by itself. Meanwhile, put parchment paper in a rimmed baking sheet and spray with cooking spray (the parchment paper isn’t strictly necessary, but makes it much easier than without it).

When the thermometer reads 280 degrees, add 1 tsp flavoring. You can use an extracts or a flavored oil. Lemon extract is a good start. Again, don’t stir.

When the thermometer reads 300 degrees, remove from heat and pour into the prepared baking sheet. If you can, put the sheet on a wire rack. Immediately rinse the thermometer and pan in scalding hot water. The candy should melt out in a few minutes.

Touch the candy occasionally. When pressing it no longer leaves an indentation (unless you shove really hard), put the candy on a cutting board and cut into squares. It should still be somewhat soft. Don’t wait until it fully hardens, because then you’ll have to just shatter the entire thing (as I had to with my strawberry candies tonight).

Wrap each square in rectangles of wax paper. You should be able to put it in the center, wrap the paper around, then twist each end twice to seal it off nicely. Parchment paper can substitute, but it’s thicker and harder to fold and twist.

By the way, anyone have any ideas on what I could use to make the candies white (not clear)?

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