I attempted making the candy again tonight after we watched Big Brother, which was a really good episode by the way. This experience changed my mind about candy making… it’s not quite as impossible as I thought. You just really need to have patience and most of all the right equipment. Last time, I was using a regular thermometer and it didn’t read past 220 degrees and I needed to know if the mixture was heated to 240 so I was semi-guessing the temperature of the mixture. This time, Frankie purchased a candy thermometer for me.. which made a load of difference during the candy making process. These thermometers are amazing. They go up to like 400 degrees!
I did quite a few things different this time. I obviously used the right thermometer. The second thing I did differently was heat the mixture up slowly instead of in a couple of minutes. I’m almost positive this made a very big difference in the outcome as well. The third thing I did differently was testing the mixture in cold water. It’s actually a pretty cool test. You drop the sugar goo into cold water and let it cool for about a minute. Then you pull it out and you should be able to roll it into a ball between your fingers. Frankie did it and I was amazed.. I literally said outloud”Oh wow!” I think from the experience last time I wasn’t expecting this one to turn out any different. But the few things that I did differently really helped the candies turn out. I think the biggest change I noticed right away was how the mixture of candy was reacting as I mixed it with our hand-mixer. From attempt number one, it was still very watery after ten minutes of mixing. In attempt two, after about five minutes the mixture was incredibly thick. Once I hit ten minutes, I had to rush to get the sugar on the baking sheet to cool so that they could be covered in chocolate in time. I actually had Frankie help me. He really doesn’t like the way I do things sometimes I think haha. But I’m glad he puts up with me, otherwise I would be a hopeless cause half the time.
I think the hardest part about this recipe was making sure that it was cooked correctly. Hesser did say that the hardest part is getting a hang of cooking the filling, which is the sugar and milk portion, but after you get that it’s easy sailing from there on out. She was definitely right. After boiling the milk and sugar, it solidified nicely into gum-balls. Then all I had to do was microwave the chocolate which is 100% cacao. I tasted it… oh my do not taste it ever, especially unsweetened. It’s incredibly bitter. I was actually really worried that the candies wouldn’t taste good because of the chocolate. But I actually just tasted a few pieces and they are very good and the chocolate isn’t overbearing at all. I actually think the peppermint extract we decided to add is a bit much almost. If you’ve ever had one of those York Peppermint Patty’s… that’s EXACTLY what these taste like. Currently they are still on the baking sheet hardening. I hope the chocolate hardens into a nice shell by tomorrow morning. And I hope Frankie can manage his chocolate cravings and not take the entire batch
I did learn a good lesson though with this candy making experience and that is about 100% of the time I need to believe that I am the one doing something wrong and that Hesser knows what she is talking about, even though her directions for some of the recipes lead me baffled and confused. Tomorrow I bake a cake for my FIL. The family should be up tomorrow and Saturday we go on a hike. Hopefully the weathers good. I probably won’t update my cooking blog til Saturday night or Sunday. I do have the weekend off, so I should have time! Wish me luck tomorrow.