Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Distracted Cook Plays Candy Land

The Distracted Cook loves to play board games. And one of everyone's all time favorites is Candy Land. Remember sitting on the floor in the living room with your friends or sister playing until your Mom told you to come set the table for dinner? We couldn't get enough of that game. And now, The Daring Kitchen has a new version for us. And The Distracted Cook just couldn't wait to sit down and give it a try.

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 offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

The challenge was to make two different kinds of candy. One of these candies had to be a chocolate version and the other was up to the cook. Making truffles was one of the options and that is what The Distracted Cook opted to do, along with making up one candy of her own. That might not have been the best idea around, but it sure was fun.

The Truffles were fun to make and even more fun to eat. Some were rolled in a mixture of paprika and sugar, some in finely chopped nuts (pistachios and some almonds that had been candied with cayenne, sugar, and truffle honey), and the rest in coarsely chopped nuts. Here is what it looked like while they were being made:

Here is the chocolate and hot cream mixture before being stirred and making sure all the chocolate is melted and ready for the ganache to cool and thicken.

After the ganache cools, using a scoop or teaspoon to remove some from the bowl, it is formed into a small ball and rolled in the nuts or sugar mixture.

The Truffles are really delicious, and the left over ganache is going to be experimented with to make a topping for some ice cream!

For the second candy, The Distracted Cook decided to make up a recipe of her own. Now this is indeed a lofty undertaking, especially since The Distracted Cook knows absolutely nothing about making candy. Period. There was a container of really lovely yellow cherry tomatoes on the counter and that gave me an idea. My Grandmother used to make the most wonderful tomato preserves that was sweet, tomatoe-y, cinnamon-ginger tasting and I used to eat it like it was candy. So? Let's try making one of those fruit jelly candy things but use the tomatoes instead of fruit - and isn't the tomato a fruit?

First step was to put two cups of the tomatoes and 1 cup of sugar in the pan and cook it to 235 degrees on that candy thermometer. That was easy enough.

Here the tomatoes were before being dumped into the pot with the sugar. I also added a teaspoon of lime juice and two small basil leaves. Following a recipe that I found for fruit jellies, I took 1 Tablespoon of gelatin, 2 Tablespoons of lemon jello (just because I had it left over from a cake recipe and thought it would be good in here) and 1/4 cup of water and combined them.

After the tomatoes cooked to the 235 degrees, I poured the mixture into the gelatin-jello mixture and stirred it to combine it well. Then I used some non-stick spray to coat an 8x8 inch baking dish and poured the candy in.

I let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, then slid it into the fridge to cool down. I had also put the Truffles in there so that they would firm up.

And then came the true test - a tasting of the experiment in candy making. I must admit, the tomato candy is different. It's not bad. It wouldn't win any awards. And I am thinking that if I dipped the squares into chocolate, it would be outstanding.

The Distracted Cook enjoyed the day in the kitchen making candy, stretching the bounds and definitions a bit, and tasting the results. I think you might enjoy doing all of this yourself. And it is really easy. And fun! Join us. All you have to do is register with The Daring Kitchen.