December 18, 2010

Cater To Your Sweet Tooth!

(photo by Thomas Perkins,

I myself have a salt tooth.  I crave salty, crunchy foods--not necessarily a bad thing, but hide the potato chips, please!

But you may have a sweet tooth--also not necessarily a bad thing.   I find that it's very gratifying to bake for people with a sweet tooth.  They appreciate it so much and eat lots of the sweets.  Makes me feel like the world's best baker when everyone knows I'm not!   

When Christmas comes, I think of making home-made candy.  Don't worry about my salt tooth; I still take very good care of it.

Why do I ever go to all that trouble when I can just buy candy at the store?  It's fun, for one thing!  And  I like the festive feeling and satisfaction I get from it.    It's kind of  like the feeling when I'm done mowing the lawn, and it looks so-o-o nice!  Or the feeling I get when I've just cleaned my house.  But I've noticed the satisfaction of  homemade candy lasts longer than the satisfaction of mowing the lawn or cleaning the house.  The grass grows so quickly, and the house easily gets messy again. And then you have to do it all over again.   But the candy can be enjoyed for a long time!

Here are two easy and fun candy recipes.  Both are from Pennsylvania Dutch Peoples Cookbook, Culinary Arts Press.  Both these recipes could be a "together project"  for Family Fun Night.

Recipe for Butterscotch Candy
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Then cook to hard crack stage (a small amount of the mixture separates into threads which are hard but not brittle when dropped in cold water; or thermometer registers 290 degrees F).

Pour into a buttered pan and when almost set, mark into squares. When cool, cut into squares. Makes about 1 pound.

Recipe for Molasses-Candy (This is a pull-taffy)
2 cups light molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of baking soda

Cook all ingredients together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, to the hard ball stage (mixture forms a hard ball when a small amount is dropped into cold water; or thermometer registers 260 degrees F).

Pour into a shallow buttered pan and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, rub butter on hands and pull the mixture (small portions at a time) until light golden in color and it has a satin-like finish. Pull into long strips 3/4 inch in diameter and cut with scissors into 1-inch pieces.
When cooled, wrap each piece in waxed paper. Makes about 1-1/2 pounds.

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