Monday, June 3, 2013

How to make Sea Glass Candy

If you read my blog – which since you are reading this sentence I am going to guess that you do, then you will know a couple of things about me.

1.     I typically try to find the easiest way to do something
2.     I do not typically cook difficult things
3.     When I do cook something difficult it is rare but I obviously like it
4.     I do not make candy – it is temperamental
5.     I fail at recipes sometimes
6.     I don’t always follow the EXACT instructions when making something – I make it the way I   want it
7.     I typically end up hurting myself…a lot
8.     Sometimes I break all these rules and what I make turns out pretty – except rule 7…I typically keep that rule intact

That being said, I am going to attempt to make sea glass candy. One because my future brother in law asked – and he’s one of my favorite d and d players, and two because why not! See, sea glass candy (yes I did that on purpose) should be easy, it’s just sugar, water, and corn syrup – well and any flavor you want. The hard part of making this was to find flavorings. Yes I should have just gone to Jungle Jims bet they would have had it. However, I did not, I just ordered the flavoring I wanted online. After of course discussing flavor options with Scott. Once we realized we could not find our favorite flavor online we picked a few others, I placed and order and waited for the flavors to arrive.

Now let me take this time to discuss oils. Do not buy essential oils, unless they are edible. If you want oils you buy FLAVORING oils for cooking. If you are at a store like a cooking store ask someone to point you in the direction for flavoring oils for candy making. They will know what you are talking about.  Now some recipes I found they used extracts – you can attempt this but I did not want to – yet! Plus what flavor would I use vanilla? Not lemon for me – test subject Jon is not here.

So let’s focus on what I should be worried about – one this is HOT melted sugar – so it’s like a volcano just erupted in a pan and I am going to boil this and then pour it out…okay. Now this is why I hate candy making – boil this too short and it will be too sticky and pull out your teeth. Boil this too long and it will be way too brittle. Cook it on too high a temp and it will burn – effectively RUINING my pan.  Lots of ways to fail…so lets focus on the bright side. If I mess up it’s just sugar and water. Except the oils are expensive. I guess the best bet is to use a candy thermometer and have a cup of ice water to do the brittle strands test.  That is where in a glass of ice water you put some in and if it forms small brittle strands it’s good. Not that I don’t trust my thermometer. Okay I don’t but if it tests right I shall.

 Here is the fun part – you know how they say a watched pot never boils? Well it does, and it is boring. That being said this is what I did Saturday, I sat in front of my stove, attached a candy thermometer to a pot of boiling sugar water and watched it bubble. I sat there and I was supposed to wait until it reached 250 add coloring then wait till it was at 300. However, this is what happened. I stood there and the thermometer got to 215 and then my sugar started to brown like a caramel. I poured it out into my prepared pan and stared I knew it was a goner. I knew it. I stared at that and thought all kinds of nasty thoughts. Like “stupid boiling sugar” or “who the hell invented this dang recipe” then I stood there and thought how the heck am I going to clean this pan. Hot water and dawn dish soap cleaned it right up.

So I went to the Internet and tried to find a different recipe one that had more sugar and crap in it because the first one was tiny and I was thinking hmmm I bet there was not enough to boil and get an accurate temperature. Upon finding a new recipe and reading several notes from people I was ready to try again!

I stood there, pot in front of me totally dry and I stared…Peter come and looks right at me, and this is our conversation.
Peter: Going to try again?
Me: I think so…
Peter: Honey out of everyone I know I am confident that you will be able to make this!
Me: I am 80 % sure I have it this time…
Peter: Let’s get a stool and you can just sit here.

So I measured out and started again and here is the recipe.

What you need:
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. light Corn syrup
3/4 c. Water
1/4 – 1 tsp of Flavoring oils
A candy Thermometer that you trust or a glass of Ice water
Powdered sugar – optional…

Okay in a medium saucepan place the sugar, water, and corn syrup stir over medium heat until the sugar is melted and it starts to simmer. At that point grab a pastry brush and with water brush down the sides of the pan to get rid of any sugar that could be on it. Now attach the candy thermometer and get a glass of ice water ready as well as grease a cookie sheet with sides. NO GLASS PANS FOR THIS!!! Now I watched my thermometer to make sure it was accurate and while it was close it was not perfect. Actually it ended up being 25 - 50 degrees colder than what the actual sugar was. (My sugar was at 250 but according to my water test it was at 300) Once it starts to boil it will take a while to reach the right temp. Once it hits the 250 mark you can add food coloring into the pan and the boiling action will move it around. We DO NOT stir this stuff. Not once it starts boiling we just let it boil. Which I did, once it reached the 250 mark on my thermometer I dropped some of the boiling sugar into ice water and it immediately formed these brittle threads. Meaning it was done. I pulled it off the heat and added my flavoring oil and food coloring and began stirring, it bubbled and steamed. Then bam, done, I poured it into a pan and waited…I had to wait for it to harden and then I could break it.

 Peter wanted this so I let him have it – he grabbed a butter knife and using the heavy end he gave it one good hit and the whole thing broke like someone tried to break a car window. Which meant I had done it right! Now at this point you are supposed to toss it in powdered sugar, guess what I forgot I had ran out of. So I did not toss mine in powdered sugar but I did try it. I am not a hard candy fan but I made Cotton Candy flavored, and I liked it, it was hard until you stared eating it and at that point it was like a good sucking candy. Therefore, mission accomplished with only one small fail. I knew I could do it…okay Peter knew I could do it.  Now what did test subject Scott think? He loved it – said can’t wait for the next flavors because he may not exactly like cotton candy but he loved the candy itself. Anyway I am now accepting Q & A for cooking questions – which will be answered in each blog. I guess any real question can be asked like what do you eat for dinner Jessica? My answer would of course be food. Just kidding but seriously folks send me your questions, no question is too complicated or too big or too small!

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