Sunday, August 28, 2011

Daring Bakers: Candylicious Candyland!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Be sure to check out the link for Lisa above as she shows step by step how to make Hot Air (sponge candy) and how hers turned out and mine did not. It's interesting to see the differences.

I was so excited to find out that we were going to be making candy! We needed to create two forms of candy and one had to involve the tempering of chocolate. I have experience tempering as I make chocolate peanut butter buck eyes each Christmas that this family goes crazy over.

As a rather snobbish chocolate consumer I have only found a few truffles that I care for. I always claimed Godiva was my favorite, and yes, I still like Godiva, but with shopping over the internet I can find truffles all over the world and Godiva is no longer my number one.

I have never created a truffle so I was very excited to give it a whirl. Troy likes white chocolate (gag me). Each Valentines Day or Easter I buy a few pounds of Godiva White for him. He doesn't have to worry about me snatching any pieces from his stash!

I decided to try a combination of three different truffles: a white chocolate truffle using white ganache with white chocolate tempered coating, white chocolate ganache with milk chocolate tempered coating and semi sweet chocolate ganache with a dark chocolate tempered covering. Oh yeah.

They aren't beautiful, they aren't even perfectly round..I used a melon baller to scoop the ganache when firm, then rolled into the tempered chocolate to cover. In my next batch I'll add vanilla, maybe hazelnut praline, cinnamon. I used Guittard chocolate and it worked quite well. It doesn't hold a candle to the Belgian chocolate I can order, however.

For my second candy I tried what Canelakes of Virginia, MN (where I grew up) calls Hot Air. This is a boiling mass of sugar, corn syrup and water. After boiling for 10 minutes I removed it from the burner and added vinegar and baking soda for a volcanic effect! The mass created huge air bubbles which I poured into a baking sheet. After it hardened I broke it up to serve. This wasn't so great. It wasn't 'airy' enough and it was very crunchy. We ended up crushing it and using it for an ice cream dessert topping.

I really enjoyed this challenge. I will be making truffles quite frequently now. The combination of chocolates and additional flavorings is just endless. I have some chocolate in transit and can't wait to use it! Steve thought I should try a key lime ganache with bittersweet covering. I just might do it :)


SteveQ said...

I know Canelakes! Must be third generation by now - one of the last true candy shops up north.

Wish I'd known of the competition earlier; candymaking is my speciality.

SteveQ said...

Julie, where'd you get the recipe for Hot Air? I found only one on the internet, which I think I could markedly improve. Texture is everything in candymaking and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to get it right.

Julie B said...

Hey Steve, this is the recipe from Cushing's. Some said there was too much baking soda and it should have been cut in 1/2.

Sponge Candy (also called Honeycomb or Sea Foam candy)

Adapted from Christine Cushing’s Sponge Toffee Recipe
Full photo tutorial Here

Pieces of the sponge candy / honeycomb dipped into tempered dark chocolate and the end result

2½ cups (20oz/560gm) Granulated White Sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) Light corn syrup
6 tablespoons (90 ml) Water
1 tablespoon (0.5 oz/ 15g) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for greasing pan


1. Liberally grease a 10-inch round spring form cake pan with vegetable oil. Trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper circle. Line the sides of the pan with a parchment paper so that the parchment paper creates a collar that sits 1 to 2-inches above the pan. Liberally grease the parchment paper.
2. In a deep medium saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil (without stirring) and cook until hard crack stage, i.e. until temperature reads 285°F / 140°C on a candy thermometer (if using light corn syrup, it will be light amber, if using dark corn syrup it will be the color of maple syrup). This should take about 10 minutes. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3. Remove from heat. Working quickly, add the baking soda and quickly blend to incorporate the soda into the sugar mixture, about 5 seconds. The mixture will bubble up when you add the baking soda. Be very careful not to touch the hot mixture.
4. Immediately pour the hot toffee into the prepared pan. Let set completely before touching. Cut into pieces. It makes a huge mess. But the messy little crumbs can be saved to top ice cream. Leave candy as is and enjoy, or dip pieces in tempered chocolate and let set.

SteveQ said...

I went to the trouble of formulating my own recipe, then found one almost identical to it:
The only change I make from hers is to line my baking dish with lightly buttered aluminum foil.

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I know Canelakes! Must be third generation by now

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WoW! that is definitely great.

buy rift account said...

WoW! that is definitely great.