Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Overdone on Monday

Well, apparently, I overdid myself on Monday. I crashed and burned on Tuesday about 3:30pm. I got the basics done but didn't have energy for anything extra. I even had to have the DH bring home dinner. (KFC- yummy, but no great nutritional value.) I spent the rest of the day, parked on the couch, instructing the children on what needed to be done. (I love having kids old enough for a lot of responsibility.) I did start reading Candy Making (Ruth Kendrick, Pauline Atkinson). I like that they recommend using what you already have rather then going out and purchasing a lot of fancy equipment. Though I do want to invest in a really good candy thermometer. I go through the cheap grocery store ones like, well, candy.

They go through basic instructions on how to test your thermometer for any needed altitude adjustments and have a handy altitude conversion chart. They list out basic candy making ingredients and give you some of the "why" these are used.

The best thing I come away with so far is a new understanding of Fondant. I had purchase some premade fondant at a craft store last year to work with cookies. I thought it was awful tasting, and despite the beautiful things you can do with it, I want a good tasting product not just a pretty one. So I wrote off fondant. Well, with these homemade fondant recipes, I might just change my mind. I can't wait to try some out. Both for candy filling and for cookie/cake decoration. They give me 14 different basic fondant recipes, each with many different flavor variations.

The next chapter is on truffles and fudges. I have a fudge recipe that I faithfully use so I don't know if I want to change recipes but we will see. Also, I tried making truffles a couple of years ago and didn't care for the results, so we will see if they can renew my faith in truffle making.

Tips I picked up: Candy temperatures raise as water boils out of the mixture, leaving more candy. (Water doesn't get any hotter past boiling.) The reason to wipe sugar crystals off the side of your pan is because even one crystal can cause a chemical chain reaction in your candy and make it grainy. And lastly, the liquid in a cherry cordial is actually a fondant that is firm when wrapped around the cherry. The cherry juice reacts with the sugars in the fondant to cause it to liquefy days later, after being encased in chocolate. I had always wondered about that!

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