In anticipation of the upcoming Good Eats episode "All Hallows Eats" I thought I would take this opportunity to look back at a previous Halloween theme episode. In the episode "Tricks for Treats", Alton makes three different homemade candies. I will talk a little about each of them.
First off whenever making candy you need to stick to the recipe and the procedure. Candy making is a science, like baking. Alton recommends using a wood spoon to stir the brittle. Wood doesn't conduct heat, which is good for the candy and good for your hands. Alton also recommends using a heavy bottom saucepan as you want to evenly distribute the heat. If you don't have a good saucepan or your stove top has hot spots, he recommends placing the pan into a cast iron vessel that is great at equal distribution. As for the type of brittle he goes with peanut, but also says you can use any type of nut or even seeds, like pumpkin seeds, which I plan to make for my wife. Finally, to make sure the brittle doesn't stick he uses a sheet pan covered with a Slipat which is one of my favorite kitchen devices.
2. Lemon Jellies
Next, he makes a candy that balances sweetness and tartness, the lemon jelly. This candy contains both lemon and lime juice and zest. You could easily play around with the flavor, trying any citrus. Oranges would be another nice choice or Meyer lemons. Once you understand the technique then you can let your creativity run wild.
3. Chocolate Taffy
This is a recipe to basically make your own Tootsie Rolls, which really are just chocolate taffy. The unique thing about this recipe is that he adds vinegar, which you wouldn't think of in candy, but it helps add acidity as well as help to prevent the formation of sugar crystals which would make the candy grainy. The candy itself isn't hard to make, but the kneading and stretching will give your hands and arms a workout.
Although candy making has it's challenges and it is likely you will experience some setbacks, but it's worth the satisfaction of having made it yourself. And that is part of what this website is all about. For this episode, check your listings to see if it is airing soon or you can watch it via YouTube. For the full recipes, click here to view.