Do y'all know that song? The Candyman Can? It's from Willie Wonka. :-) 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 http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
We had to make two different kinds of candy, one of which had to involved tempered chocolate. Sooo, off I went in search of candy recipes.
I found one here for homemade butterfingers. Um, yes please! I'm not so sure if the butterfinger part actually came out like it was supposed to. It tasted good but the texture was...hard. Interestingly enough, they were easier to bite straight out of the refrigerator. Once they warmed up some, not only did the chocolate start melting, but it was nearly impossible to bite. I'm not sure of the mechanism of that...but it happened! That just meant that I couldn't take it to share with anyone else...too bad. Ha! I chose to use the tempering method of melting the chocolate and then cooling it with unmelted chocolate. It was fairly simple...except that my candy thermometer didn't measure low enough, so I had to guess as to when the chocolate was at the correct temperature. I think it still worked well!
My next candy was the Southern classic...divinity! My dad suggested this one when I visited them, and I decided it would be fun to try. Of course, Mississippi in the summer is almost always humid, and divinity is a very stubborn candy! Thankfully, it decided to work the day I decided to make it. The recipe I used came from Southern Sideboards. As much as I've heard about divinity, this actually was fairly simple. The one thing that wasn't clear was how long to whip the completed mixture at the end.
The recipe said until the glossy mixture becomes dull...hmmm. So, I checked with some recipes online and found one that said the most common mistake is not whipping long enough. It suggested 10-15 minutes...so I did about 15. By that time the mixture was definitely "dull." Oh goodness!!! Divinity...ssoooooo good! I took them to my clinic this past Thursday, and when I walked it one of the nurses said "Oh! I was just saying I wanted something sweet! These are just perfect." I felt like it was pretty sweet, but everyone who tried them said that they were great and NOT too sweet. YAY! Thanks for the challenge this month. It was a fun one!
Butterfinger Candy adapted from Not Without Salt
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
Butter an 8-inch square pan then set aside. In a small, microwave-safe bowl combine the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Set that aside.
In a very clean medium saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Using clean hands combine those ingredients and remove any grains of sugar left on the sides of the pan with your fingers and a bit more water. On medium-high heat cook the sugar until it reaches 290*, just under hard crack. While the sugar cooks warm the peanut butter mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to keep warm. This is important...I forgot to do this and it made the mixture firm up too quickly!
Once the sugar has reached 290* quickly add the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. The mixture thickens quickly so once combined immediately put the mixture in the buttered pan. Let cool for about 7 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut into desired shaped pieces. After you temper the chocolate, dip the pieces in the chocolate and allow to drip and set up on a cooling rack with waxed paper underneath. Keep in refrigerator.
To temper chocolate:
Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over boiling water (double boiler) until it reaches 45°C / 113°F. Remove from heat and add tempered un-melted chocolate and stir until it brings the temperature down to 27°C/80.6°F. Then place the mixture back over heat and bring to its working temperature of 32°C/30°C/29°C /// 89.6°F/86°F/84.2°F depending on the chocolate you’re using (dark/milk/white). Now use it for molding, dipping and coating.
Divinity from Southern Sideboards (recipe halved)
1/2 cup boiling water
3/8 cup (slightly less than 1/2 cup) light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg white
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla