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Posts Tagged ‘candy making’

Growing up I always wanted to make candy. After all, there were only 3-4 ingredients so that means it must be easy. Right?

Well, I wasn’t too far off. I don’t think making candy is hard it requires some precision, pre-reading, prep work, patience and carefully measuring things. None of this is how my Mom cooks or taught me to cook (which I am grateful for, I love being able to add enough flour to get a sticky dough and I bake things until done. Who needs things like a timer?)

Once I moved away from home I decided to venture into the land of candy making. I started with those hard to mess up zap the bottle of chocolate coins in the microwave and squirt it into the molds and let it sit type of candy making. Now every Christmas I look for new recipes, new techniques and I always make a few old favorites like Anna’s Almond Rocca. I’ve lost the source but I believe it came from a foodie message board from when I was dealing with The Scientist’s food restrictions. If I can find which one definitely I’ll let you know.

Like any recipe before you begin you need to make sure you have all of the equipment and ingredients. Anna’s Almond Rocca list looks like this (if there is an equipment must have I always put it with my ingredients when I write down recipes. Nutritional software doesn’t like it but I do)

Ingredients

2 Cups Sugar
1 Pound Butter
1 Cup Water
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Cups slivered Almonds
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 pound bar of milk chocolate
Candy thermometer
Big soup pot
Wax paper
Candy spoon (this is a wooden spoon with one hole in the middle, I’ve found it’s perfect for nearly every kind of candy I’ve made)

Then I read, and reread the instructions, especially if it’s a hand me down recipe you never know when they are going to throw an extra ingredient in there that you don’t have available then gather everything I’m going to need it cups and have it so I can reach without walking. It almost makes me feel like I am on a cooking show, minus the live audience and someone else to do the dishes.

Anna’s Almond Rocca instructions are italicized

Reserve 1 cup of the almonds and set aside. Mix sugar, butter, water, and salt in large, heavy saucepan and heat to boiling over medium to medium high heat. Make sure there’s room in the saucepan for the mixture to foam up and boil.

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Foam up indeed. Very quickly. The first time I made this I was cleaning up sugary pre-almond rocca mess from cracks and crevices in my stove for a very long time.

Heat mixture over medium to medium high until it foams and reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. When temp reaches 240, stir in 2 cups of almonds.

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It smells wonderful here, although it’s always a little sad to see the temperature drop again. It rises so slowly as it is. (did I mention patience is needed?)

Stir mixture constantly and watch temp carefully until temp reaches 290.

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I have “constantly” underlined and highlighted on my recipe card. That must mean that I’ve made a mistake or realized it was really important. It should clue me that I shouldn’t be putting down the spoon to take pictures because I am home alone or answering the phone when Paul calls from the UPS store.

Remove from heat, stir in soda and QUICKLY pour onto a cookie sheet covered with buttered or greased wax paper. Mixture should start to harden immediately. As mixture hardens, sprinkle chocolate chunks over hardening mixture and spread the chocolate chunks around until they melt. Sprinkle melted chocolate with reserved almonds. Let sit until toffee hardens and chocolate sets.

Being home alone and nearly burning the almonds as it was I was not going to tempt fate and try messing with things during the quickly part of the process.

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Candy making is so much easier while the kids are at school, and nearly impossible if you have a baby in the house but not an extra set of hands. The old saying a watched pot never boils easily applies to watching a candy thermometer raise to a specific temperature. They don’t raise steady, they take large jumps at a time so leaving a pot even if it doesn’t need to be stirred constantly is not suggested.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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