December 19, 2011

Baking storm!

Sunday was the start of our holiday baking and candy making. Oatmeal Scotchies are the favorite of this house but every year I always try to make a new kind of cookie. This year I made two new ones, Cinnamon M&M Chip (based on the Tollhouse recipe but using Cinnamon M&Ms) and Chocolate Mint Chip.

 Many pounds of butter, cups of sugar, and dashes of cinnamon later, we had on our hands 39 1/2 dozen cookies. Scooped by non other than Alan and me. I have never made that many cookies all at once. It doesn't hurt that I have 2 awesome ovens, each with 4 racks, and 9 cookies sheets to make the process slick. Frankie, who supervised, was plumb tuckered out by the end.

We then tried out our new FoodSaver and shipped some off to my mom, gram, and sister. Hopefully they arrive as fresh as when they left! I expect full reports dear family. :)

Next up, caramels and candy canes! I even hope to get to some cheesecakes before the week is out. Wish me luck!

December 5, 2011

Candy Cane Lane

Well, I got lucky on Saturday. Alan and Frankie let me head out to take a short class on making candy canes. I was already familiar with general candy making but thought it might be a fun way to refresh my memory and meet people.

Definitely a refresher but not so much a place to meet folks. No worries, it was still loads of fun!


These are a quick and surprisingly easy candy to make.

Candy Canes

Makes about 6 med or 12 small


1 cup sugar
3/4 light corn syrup (as light as you can get)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
peppermint (or whatever flavor you want) oil (this has to be oil NOT extract)
red food color paste (or whatever color, must be paste)


2 baking sheets lined with parchment
Spray oil
Marble/stone surface or silpat sheet
Heavy bottom, non reactive pan (straight sides)
Digital thermometer (or if you trust the cold water method...)
Nitrile gloves over tight fitting cotton gloves (for handling hot sugar)
Bench scraper/dough knife
Pastry brush
Heat lamp is optional

Turn oven to 170 degrees and let pre-heat. Spray both pans and place one in the oven.

Combine first three ingredients and bring to a boil, taking care to wash the sides of the pan with the pastry brush and clean water so crystallization doesn't occur. You can stir mix until it boils but not after it boils. Bring mix to 264-265 degrees (depending on the humidity) and then remove from heat. Add cream of tarter and pour onto stone surface or silpat.

Once bubbles disappear, drip approximately 10 drops (or more) of oil flavoring on the candy. Mix it into the sugar quickly. Divide the mix in half.

Place half on the pan that was pre-heating in the oven and place back in the oven with the door held open with a spoon. Using the bench scraper first and then wearing gloves, start to manipulate/pull (like taffy) the other half until you feel resistance and the mix has turned white. Shape into a log and cut into pieces of the desired size. Place the pieces on the empty pan and put in the oven.

Take the other half out and with your hands, work in the color paste. Pull mix until there is a slight resistance. Shape into a log and cut into pieces. Place on pan to rewarm or just twist around white pieces if the colored pieces are still flexible.

Shape into canes or whatever you desire. Keep away from moisture and enjoy!

The holidays are upon us so we have a tree, decorations are up, and Frankie has tried one of his snow outfits. More recipes to come!