Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Last week two important things happened in the lives of our family.

First of all, the “resident five year old” started real school…

…and we bought and moved into a new house.

 

 

So for a while instead of focusing so much on the raw foods pyramid…or cooking methods…or any of the other tangents that I have taken in the last few months, I have decided to make this blog more personal by studying those things that are most important at this stage in my life—such as home organization…school lunches…breakfast foodsz…setting up a command center and so forth for a while…blogging about those things that are really the most ijportant in my life at that point.

 

So first I wanted to start talking about making the perfect lunch for your kids…lunches that they look forward to eating…and that everyone else wants to swap things for…

Most of us have been making oatmeal cookies for years, but do we know how to make the perfect oatmeal cookies…ones that we would want to pass down the recipe for to our grandchildren so that they can teacher it to their grandchildren and so on for generation after generation

 

 

The perfect oarmeal cookies are super soft, thick, and chewy… loaded  with oats and perhaps some of your other favorite ingredients such as raisins and chocolate chips…soft, moist, and tender in the centers…slightly crisp on the edges..have a  delicious cinnamony, buttery flavor…and go great with a huge glass of milk.

This recipe is very simple…and probably one of the few that any of us have memorized by heart…but let’s talk about it anyway…

 

 

 

 

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Amaranth Crackers

We have now only been talking about amaranth for how long?!

So by now we should have more than an inkling as to what amaranth is, why we should add amaranth to our diets, and how to use it.

So let’s go back over what we’ve learned so far…

 

 

 

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Review

The Whatamaranth is a tiny seed that comes from the flowers of the Amaranthus.

The Why…

  • Carbohydrates…contains less carbohydrates compared to grains like wheat
  • Gluten Free
  • Protein…contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain…In fact, one cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein, the equivalent of a chicken breast…the proteins found in amaranth are also easily digestible compared to other grain based proteins
  • Vitamins/Minerals…amaranth is rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron
  • Aramanth crackers are a great snack or appetizer, served with a perfect dip or hummus….as well as a great accompaniment for soups and salads.

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The Perfect Aramanth Crackers

The perfect amaranth crackers are crumbly and crunchy, not like cardboard like many whole grain crackers out there….light and crisp…have an awesome nutty flavor.……and contain the perfect amount of herbs and garlic, not to mention an awesome aroma.

Note that the following cracker recipe does not contain salt, nuts, eggs, or sugar…simply basics such as aramanth, spices, and basic baking ingredients.

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Basic Ingredients

  • 2C amaranth flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1Tbsp pepitas
  • 1Tbsp sunflower kernels
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup water
Optional Toppings…your choice…but use 1Tbsp…

  • chia seeds
  • cumin
  • garlic
  • pepitas
  • rosemary
  • sesame seeds
  • sea salt
  • thyme

 

 

 

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Making the Dough

Getting Healthy

Making the Perfect Protein Bites

 

Getting adequate amounts of protein is important for all women, not only die-hard athletes.

Adequate protein is important for both appearance and long-term health, especially among active women….(okay, now find me one woman who is not active…usually we have more on our plate than one person could possibly handle, right)…

So why is protein so important…and why should we find ways to eat more protein at breakfast…and how…

  1. Protein can keep us, or help us get, skinny. Replacing calories consumed in carbs with calories containing protein contributes to a decrease in fat tissue.
  2. Protein can prevent damage to our cells caused by stress.
  3. Protein controls hunger all day. Eating a high-protein meal, such as Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, early in the day triggers a hormonal response that helps keep hunger at bay all day.
  4. Protein is good for your bones, especially important given the high risk of osteoperosis in women. Protein is vital to proper calcium absorption and bone growth.
  5. Protein is good for your hair. A well-balanced diet is important to keep your hair growing to its fullest. Protein deficiency can cause your hair to grow slowly or not at all.
  6. Protein is good for your muscles. Protein can help our bodies maintain and build muscle mass, important to women as we age. Drinking a protein shake or eating a high-protein snack after working out also helps promote muscle repair.
  7. Protein is good for your skin. Protein can help reduce aging and skin damage caused by the sun.
  8. Protein triggers thermogenesis, also known as a “faster metabolism,” and signals the body to burn more calories before, during, and after meals.
  9. Protein will keep you fuller longer. Eating foods high in protein makes you feel fuller sooner than foods classified as carbs or fat and helps controls appetite later on.

 

“Protein bites” are a great way to boost your energy levels and “recharge” your batteries throughout the day…plus they are super-easy to make…

 

(Simply combine the ingredients, chill for thirty minutes, and roll into 1″ balls, Store in airtight container in fridge, unless indicated otherwise…so this is why I’ve simply listed ingredients, instead of directions with each of the following “recipes.”)

 

 

 

 

1. Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

 

2.  Chocolate Protein Bite…(roll in cocoa after shaped)

  • 1 1/2C pitted dates
  • 1/2C rolled oats
  • 1/4C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4C flaxseed meal
  • 1/4C chocolate protein powder
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp espresso powder

 

 

 

3. Coconut Peanut Butter Bites

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

 

4. Nutella Energy Bites

  • 1C old fashioned, rolled oats
  • ½C crispy rice cereal (or shredded coconut)
  • ½C Nutella
  • ¼C peanut butter
  • ½C ground flaxseed
  • ⅓C honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • ½C chocolate chips

 

 

5. Pumpkin Energy Bites

  • 1C old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/4C pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2C wheat germ
  • 1/3C honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate morsels

 

 

6. Raw Cookie Dough Bites

  • 2C blanched almond flour
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp sea salt
  • 1/4C coconut oil (solid but soft)
  • 1Tbsp honey
  • 2Tbsp almond butter
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • mini dark chocolate chips
  • stevia to taste, if additional sweetener is needed
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Flour…The Other White “Stuff” That Gets All Over Your Kitchen Countertops While You Cook

Okay, so these last two posts have looked specifically at dredging your food in flour before frying…

But before we leave the topic of flour, let’s talk about the different flours that are actually out there.

 

Typically when we thnk about flour, we all imagine the white stuff in the biggest canisteron the left of the canister set…that stuff that used to be all over the kitchen when you were helping your Mom make cookies at Christmas time…no, not the sweet stuff…the stuff that you thought was powdered sugar, only to find out disappointedly that it wasn’t.

 

Even though most flour, such as the yucky-tasting white stuff, is milled from wheat…flour can also be milled from several other food products—such as corn, rice, nuts, legumes, seeds, amaranth, arrowroot, barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, kamut, oats, potato, quinoa, rye, soy, spelt, tapioca, and teff….(more on this later)…

 

Each of these flours is actually different than its counterparts, and choosing the right type of flour can totally make or break your end result…so it is important to know which type of flour is best suited to which different endeavor.

The basic difference between the several types of flours is the protein content. High-gluten flour is milled from hard wheat and has a high protein content,  Flours with such a higher protein content are often referred to as “harder” flours,.These flours are great for making crusty or chewy breads. Flours with a lower protein are often referred to as “softer” flours. These flours are better for cakes, cookies, and pie crusts.

1.  All-Purpose Flour…That white powder that you accidentally mistook for powdered sugar as a kid is most likely to have been all-purpose flour…the type of flour used most frequently here in the United States.
  • Gluten Content…All-purpose flour has a medium gluten protein content of 9.5-12%.
  • Best for…many bread and pizza bases, but most artisan bakers prefer other types of flour—such as bread flour.

 

 

 

2.  Bleached Flour…Bleached flour is not actually a type of flour in itself, but any type of flour that has been through a chemical process. Many manufacturers bleach flour so that it is more attractive.

  • Gluten Content…Bleached flour has less protein than unbleached.
  • Best for…pie crusts, cookies, quick breads, pancakes and waffles.

 

 

 

3.  Bread Flour…Bread flour is made from hard, high-protein wheat…and often also contains ascorbic acid to increase volume and create better texture.  

  • Gluten Content…Bread flour has a higher gluten protein content—12% to 14%—than all-purpose
  • Best for…yeast products….because this additional protein in the flour helps the flour trap carbon dioxide released while the yeast is fermenting, making your breads rise higher and taste chewier.

 

 

 

4.  Cake Flour…Cake flour helps to keep your cakes from collapsing and improves their texture by distributing fat more evenly through the batter.

  • Gluten Content…Cake flour has the lowest protein content of any wheat flour—6% to 7%.
  • Best for…light, delicate products—such as sponge cakes and genoise

 

 

 

5.  Pastry Flour…Pastry flour is another type of flour made with soft wheat. that is able to hold foods such as cake together, while at the same time allowing you to create flaky crusts.

  • Gluten Content…Pastry flour has the second-lowest gluten protein content, with 7.5-9.5%
  • Best for…making tender, crumbly bread proeducts—such as biscuits, pie crusts, brownies, cookies, quick breads, tarts, and muffins.

 

 

 

6. Self-Rising fFour...Self-rising flour is a low-protein flour with salt and leavening—namely baking powder—already added.  Typically 1-1/4tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt have been added for 1C flour.  

The fact that you are buying a flour that already has the baking powder evenly distributed throughout the flour supposedly means that you will get a more consistent rise in baked goods. Honestly, I’ve been cooking for thirty-plus years and have only bought this stuff once.

Best for…especially suited for biscuits, muffins, cakes, pastries, and some quick breads, scones…,but never for yeast breads.  

 

 

 

7. Unbleached Flour…Unbleached flour is simply flour that hasn’t undergone bleaching and therefore doesn’t have the expected white color typically associated with flour. The process of using bleaching agents has been considered unhealthy by some…so this is why we have unbleached flour in the first place.

Best for…Danish pastry, puff pastry, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, lairs, cream puffs and popovers.

 

 

 

8.  Whole-Wheat Flour…Whole wheat flour contains more nutrients in general, especially having a higher fiber content.

Whole-wheat flour is derived from the complete wheat kernel, and is typically brown in color.

When compared to all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour gives your baked products more of a nutty flavor and denser texture. However, any breads made with whole wheat flour do nor rise as high as your typical white breads…so most bread recipes will call for a combination of the two.

Whote wheat flour is an example of a low-gluten flour.

 

 

 

 

Now let’s look at a few more low-gluten and gluten-free flour alternatives.

 

 

Low-Gluten Flour Alternatives

 

1. Barley Flour

  • What…a non-wheat flour made from grinding whole barley
  • Taste…mild, but very slightly nutty
  • Nutrition…has slightly fewer calories and more than 4 times the fiber of all-purpose flour
  • Cooking Tips…When making yeast bread recipes, there is not enough gluten in barley flour to properly develop the bread, and it is recommended swapping only one quarter of all-purpose flour.
  • Best for…quick breads and pancakes.

2, Pumpernickel Flour

  • What…made from coarsely-ground whole rye berries
  • Taste…pumpernickel breads tends to be dense, dark, and strongly flavored.

3. Rye Flours

  • What…rye flours typically fall into one of three categories—light, medium, and dark—depending on how much of the bran has been removed through the milling process
  • Nutrition…Rye bread may be a better choice than wheat bread for persons with diabetes.
  • Cooking Tips…When baking, substitute one-third of the amount of rye with wheat flour to ensure the bread will rise properly.

4. Spelt Flour

  • What…flour made from spelt, another member of the wheat family
  • Nutrition…the fats in spelt flour are more soluble than any other type of flour, making it a good choice for people who have issues with wheat digestion, but who are not “gluten”…also spelt flours have a higher nutritional content than traditional wheat flour
  • Taste…a nutty and slightly sweet flavor similar to that of whole wheat
  • Best for…one of the most popular and widely available of alternative baking flours

Gluten-Free Flours

 

1. Almond Flour

  • What…made from ground almonds
  • Best for…pastry crusts, cookies, and quick breads

2. Amaranth Flour

  • What…produced from ground amaranth, an ancient grain which was commonly used by the Aztecs
  • Nutrition…contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain and more protein than wheat flour.
  • Cooking Tips...Substitute up to 25% of the flour in your original recipe with this.

3. Buckwheat Flour

  • Taste…nutty
  • Uses…pancakes, soba noodles, crepes,

4. Chickpea Flour

  • What…made from dried chickpeas
  • Uses…a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistan, and Nepal cuisines
  • Cooking Tips…use as an egg substitute in vegan cookery….substitute up to half the amount of all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with chickpea flour

5. Coconut Flour

  • What…ground from dried, defatted coconut meat
  • Nutrition…highest fiber content of any flour, very low concentration of digestible carbohydrates
  • Taste…very light coconut flavor
  • Cooking Tips….replace up to 20% of the flour in a recipe, but add eggs and an equal amount of oil to compensate as this flour soaks up the liquid

6.  Corn Flour

  • What…made from finely-ground cornmeal
  • Uses…used for breading and in combination with other flours in baked goods…also used as a filler, binder and thickener in cookie, pastry and meat industries
  • tortillas, tamales’

7.  Millet Flour

  • What…made from millet, one of the oldest foods known and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes
  • Taste…naturally sweet flavor
  • Uses…most commonly used in desserts and sweet breads
  • Cooking Tips…When substituting for wheat flour, it is usually best to start with about a 3-to-1 ratio of wheat to millet.

6. Oat Flour

  • What…made from ground whole oats
  • Uses…to make a baked good more moist than wheat flour

7. Quinoa Flour

  • Nutrition…one of the most nutritious grain flour available
  • Uses…ideal solution for those following a gluten free, vegan or vegetarian diet
  • Cooking Tips…substitute this flour for half of the all-purpose flour called for in many recipes…also completely replace wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes

8. Rice Flour

  • What…can be made from finely ground grains of white or brown rice…which can be used interchangeably
  • Nutrition…lighter, milder, and easier to digest than wheat flour…bown rice flour has higher nutritional value than white rice flour
  • Uses…great as a thickening agent in sauces…widely used in Western countries especially for people who suffer from gluten-related disorders

9. Sorghum Flour

  • What…made from ground whole grains of the sorghum plant
  • Uses…very good substitute for wheat flour in many recipes, especially if combined with other, more denser, flours.

10. Soy Flour

  • What…made from ground soy beans
  • Uses…works best in sweet, rich, baked goods like cookies, soft yeast breads, and quick breads
  • Cooking Tips…substitute for 10% to 30% of flour called for in the recipe.

11. Tapioca Flour

  • What…made from the starch extracted from root of the South American cassava plant
  • Taste..slightly sweet
  • Uses…improves the texture of baked goods…also an ideal thickening agent for a wide variety of baked goods—such as breads and pancakes…as well sauces and desserts—such as tapioca pudding
  • Cooking TIps…use 2Tbsp tapioca flour for each 1Tbsp corn starch

12..Teff Flour

  • What…made from teff, an ancient and intriguing grain
  • Nutrition…packed with nutrition…higher in protein than wheat…has a high concentration of a wide variety of nutrients—including calcium, thiamin, and iron…very high in fiber …is thought to benefit people with diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Uses…dark breads…of considerable importance in eastern Africa
Satisfying the Sweet Tooth

Holiday Baking-Gingerbread

Hard to believe that National Gingerbread Day is celebrated in June instead of December, but since today is National Gingerbread Day, I thought that this would be a great day to re-publish this previous post about Torunskie pierniki.

Torun, Polanda medieval city on the banks of the Vistula River, and one of the few cities in Poland that escaped the devastating bombings of World War II, is known as the birthplace of gingerbread cookies…


Muzeum Piernika, the Museum of Torun Gingerbread, is the former factory of Gustav Weese, a family who has baked pierniki there for generations…and the only museum dedicated to gingerbread in Europe.

Visitors to the museum take part in an interactive show which teaches them how the dough was made in theMiddle Ages…how to make their own gingerbread using traditional baking molds…and how flour is produced using millstones.

Great pierniki are all about the proper blend of spices: Too much ginger or pepper will make the cookies too spicy. Too much cinnamon will make them too sweet.

Training for the job of gingerbread master was once comparable to the training as a sommelier….but here is a gingerbread recipe well worth making in months other than December.

Gingerbread

Cream together…3/4C softened butter…1-1/2C brown sugar.

Add…1C molasses…2 eggs…1Tbsp maple extract.

Sift together…6C flour…1tsp salt…1/2tsp of each of the following—allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon

Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating until just combined after each addition.

  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge. Divide the dough in half once dough is soft enough to roll but still firm. Roll out each half between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Bake 5min, Remove with a spatula. Let cool completely.
  • Cream together 2 pounds powdered sugar, 1/3C milk,, 2 egg whites
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a fine tip or a squirt bottle.
  • Decorate the cookies with miscellaneous candies, sprinkles, and so forth…using icing as an accent and as glue to hold on the candies.
  •  Allow icing to set before transporting or serving.

Gingerbread has a long history and has become part of Christmas traditions throughout the world.

in 992 gingerbread was brought to Europe by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis who had left Nicopolis Pompeii, to live in France. He taught gingerbread baking to French Christians.

 in the 13th century, gingerbread was brought to Sweden by German immigrants. Early references from the Vadstena Abbey show how Swedish nuns baked gingerbread to ease indigestion.

During the 17th century gingerbread was sold in monasteries, pharmacies, and town square farmers’ markets for medicinal properties.

During the 18th century, the town of Market Drayton in Shropshire, England became known for its gingerbread and started displaying gingerbread on welcome signs to their town.

Although ginger had been stocked in high street businesses there since the 1640, the first record of gingerbread being baked in the town was not until 1793.

Gingerbread and Childhood Memories


Gingerbread men have played an important role in childhood culture and memories for centuries.

Almost everyone remembers the fairy tale about a gingerbread man who comes to life, outruns an elderly couple, and is finally devoured by a fox.

In 1892, Tchaikovsky wrote his famous ballet The Nutcracker, portraying the Nutcracker leading an army of gingerbread men in a battle against the Mouse King and his fellows.
In 1945 the game Candy Land was released…starring “The Gingerbread People” as the main characters.
Shrek movies include a talking gingerbread man named Gingy in the cast.

Gingerbread Around the World


In England, gingerbread is commonly known as Parkin, a soft gingerbread cake made with oatmeal and black treacle. Molasses was first used by apothecaries to make the medicine theriaca, from which name the word “treacle”…so treacle is actually molasses.

Parkin was the food of the poor. Ovens were rare in the houses of the poor, and so they cooked these cakes on griddles or bakestones over an open fire. Oats were also the staple grain for the poor, even though thought of as animal feed for the upper classes.

Parkin is traditionally eaten on Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night, November 5th…a celebration of the great failure of Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses on Parliament in 1605.

Parkin

Preheat oven to 275.
Stir together…

  • 1-1/4C oatmeal
  • 3/4C flour
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Warm the following ingredients in a saucepan just long enough to melt the butter…

  • 1/3C syrup
  • 1/2C butter
  • 3/4C milk
  • 1/3C molasses

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
Pour in the milk mixture.
Mix ingredients together with a spoon until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven. Let cool fully on a wire rack.
Wrap the parkin in paper and place in a tin with a lid for a couple of days

 

In France…Pain d’épices, a honey spice cake and a speciality of the Alsace region, has been around for hundreds of years.

Traditional recipes for pain d’épices call for mixing honey and rye flour into a pâte-mère (mother dough) and leaving the dough in a wooden trough to rest in a cool place for months.

Traditional pain d’épices is sweetened entirely with honey, and the loaves can often be purchased from French honey merchants.

Julia Child’s Recipe for Pain d’épices

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep springform or loaf pan. 
Beat together…1¼C honey…1C brown sugar…¾C boiling water.
Add 1Tbsp baking soda…½ tsp fine sea salt.
Gradually add 3½C flour. 
Beat 2min more on medium speed.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to slow.


Add

  • ¾C finely chopped almonds
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • ¼C dark rum
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp cloves
  • ½tsp ginger
  • ½tsp nutmeg
  •  ¼tsp ground white pepper
  • 2tsp grated fresh orange or lemon peel
  • ½C chopped dried apricots
  • ½C golden raisins

 

Mix until everything is well incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan. Bake one hour. Let cool before wrapping well in plastic.

Note…Julia recommends waiting at least a day or more before serving. For the best flavor and texture, age the cake for two weeks in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer.


In Germany gingerbread is often called Lebkuchen and sold at carnivals and street markets, especially Christkindlmarkts.
As early as 1296 Lebkuchen had been invented by monks in Franconia, Germany…and Lebkuchen bakeries were started in towns like Ulm and Nürnberg.

Today Nürnberg is especially famous for the export of Nürnberger Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen is sometimes packaged in richly decorated tins, chests, and boxes, which have become nostalgic collector items.

In addition to “ordinary” Lebkuchen, three more types of Lebkuchen are…

  • Hexenhäuschen (“witch houses”)…made popular because of the fairy tales about Hansel and Gretel.
  • Honigkuchenpferd (“honey cake horse”)….the closest German equivalent of the gingerbread man.
  • Lebkuchenherzen (“Lebkuchen hearts”), cut-out hearts usually inscribed with icing and sold at German regional fairs and Christmas markets, and Oktoberfest.

German Lebkuchen

  1. Whisk together 3/4C flour…1/2tsp baking powder…1/4tsp salt…1/2tsp cinnamon…1/2tsp ginger…1/2tsp ground cloves.
  2. Add…3 ounces crumbled almond paste…1/3 cup apricot jam…3 large eggs…3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar.
  3. Blanche, toast, and then finely chop 3/4C blanched whole almonds…1/3C blanched hazelnuts. 
  4. Finely chop 1/3C candied orange peel, 1/3C candied lemon peel, 4 pitted Medjool dates.
  5. Add these to the batter.
  6. Transfer dough to an airtight container. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. To bake…Drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, using a 1/4-cup scoop and spacing cookies 3″ apart. Place 3 almonds close together on top of each cookie. Bake at 325 until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
  8. To ice…Whisk together powdered sugar and milk. Brush over cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

Satisfying the Sweet Tooth

Holiday Baking—Candy

Before the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s making candy was only done at home during the holidays or by professional candy makers in small specialized shops. Candy was very expensive and considered quite a luxury.

During and after the Industrial Revolution, candy became affordable and more readily available.

Competition became fierce, and large advertising campaigns were started. candy was often named after people such as…

  • Baby Ruth—Supposedly this candy bar was not named after the legendary baseball player after all….but for Ruth Cleveland, President Cleveland’s daughter.
  • Oh Henry!—The “Oh Henry! Bar” was originally named for Tom Henry, the owner of a candy factory in Kansas. He created this candy bar in 1919 and named it after himself…obviously…In 1920 the rights to the Tom Henry bar were bought, and the bar was renamed it the “Oh Henry!” for publicity purposes….O. Henry…
  • Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Pop—Leo Hirshfield named the product after his daughter, Clara, whom he called Tootsie.

Making candy involves boiling sugar with water or milk until the sugar dissolves and the sugar concentration of the mixture reaches the temperature needed for the type of candy that you are making.

The texture and type of candy depends on the ingredients and sugar concentration..lin other words, how long the mixture is boiled.

There are several stages or temperature ranges that determine the type of candy made, including…

  •  1. Thread or syrup stage
  • 2. Soft ball or fudge stage
  • 3. Firm ball or soft caramel candy stage
  • 4. Hard ball or nougat stage
  • 5. Soft crack or salt water taffy stage
  • 6. Hard crack or toffee stage
  • 7. Clear liquid stage
  • 8. Brown liquid or liquid caramel stage
  • 9. Burnt sugar stage

 

 

1. Thread Stage—The thread or syrup stage is met when the candy thermometer reads 230°F.

Chocolate Caramels

Line 8″ square pan with foil. Grease the foil with butter.  In a large saucepan, bring the following ingredients to a boil…

  • 1C sugar
  • 3/4C light corn syrup
  • 2oz unsweetened chocolate chips

Stir until smooth. Add 1/2C heavy cream. Stir constantly until candy thermometer reads 234 degrees. Add another 1/2C cream. Return mixture to 234 degrees, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 1/2c cream. Cook until temperature reaches 248 degrees. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Let sit overnight. Lift candy out of the pan, using foil to lift. Remove foil. Cut into 1″ squares. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper, twisting the ends.

 

 

2. Soft Ball—The soft ball or fudge stage is reached when the candy thermometer reads 235°F.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Bring the following to a boil…

  • 1C sugar
  • 1/2C water
  • Pinch fine sea salt

Cook until thermometer reads 238ºF.Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4C green pumpkin seeds with a wooden spoon. Stir 5min. Return pan to medium heat. Cook stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Pour hot mixture onto parchment paper covered surface. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll mixture between two sheets as thinly as possible with rolling pin.  Let cool until firm. Break into pieces. Cool brittle completely Melt 3/4C bittersweet chocolate chips in microwave. Dip cooled brittle in chocolate. Sprinkle with 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds and large-flake sea salt. Let cool until chocolate is firm.

 

 

3. Firm Ball—The firm ball or soft caramel candy stage is met when the candy thermometer reads 245 °F.

Caramels

Prepare 9×13. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine…

  • 1C butter
  • 1# light brown sugar
  • 114oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1C light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt

Cook until thermometer reads 245 degrees. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2tsp vanilla. Pour mixture into the buttered pan. Let cool overnight. Remove from pan. Cut into squares. Wrap pieces in waxed paper.

 

 

4. Hard Ball-–The hard ball or nougat stage is reached when the candy thermometer reads 250 °F.

Coffee Caramels

Lightly grease and line bottom and sides of 9 x 13. In a large heavy saucepan, combine…

  •   2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely ground espresso powder
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup

Cook until mixture has reached a temperature of 250. Remove from heat. Stir in 1tsp vanilla and 1/2tsp sea salt. Pour mixture into prepared tray. Let sit overnight. Slice into 1 1/4″ squares. Wrap each piece in waxed paper.