Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Candies

(mine will not be wrapped in anything near such a picturesque manner)

Since this was my first Christmas with a family of my own (yes, I view Benjamin and myself as a family, not just a couple) I decided I should make some Christmas goodies. I've been collecting Martha Stewart Holiday Special Editions for several years, and there was a recipe in one of them for gingerbread caramels that I had been dying to try. Never mind that I've never made candy before and had no idea what soft ball stage was supposed to look like. All you need is a recipe and a candy thermometer, right? Right?

Turns out that although those will suffice, I'm sure, it helps to have someone around with a modicum more candy-making knowledge than oneself. When it turned out that my largest pot was too small for Martha's giant recipe (as the boiling sugar, butter and cream threatened to bubble over onto the stovetop), Benjamin was the one who warned me that taking it off the heat would only cause the sugar to "crystallize wrong" - whatever that means.

Despite having to move half of the boiling batch into another pot to prevent a sticky mess and only having one incorrect candy thermometer for two pots of caramel, the candies seemed to turn out ok. As long as you don't try to unwrap them when they're not freshly chilled in the fridge. Oh well, they taste good, and that's all that matters, right? Ok, maybe most of what matters.