Friday, October 24, 2008

Candy Recipes and Other Wonderful Things

As the weather here in St. Paul turns cooler, with snow expected on Sunday, not to mention the imminent approach of Halloween, it's time to feature a few new recipes.

Sister Mary Immaculate Otis, a sister in my community who died last month, had many talents. One of them was candy-making, a hobby she continued long after her years of work at the College of St. Catherine.

Here are the recipes for several of her most popular and tasty candies, followed by some links to other things of wonderment and interest.

4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate.
3 1/2 cups white granulated sugar.
2 tablespoons light corn syrup.
1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream.
2-3 ounces butter.
2 cups broken pecans.
Cook to 235º

Cool; beat; knead

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 pound butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 cups broken pecans
Cook to 235º-236º

Cool; beat; knead

Toffee Butter Crunch
2 cups butter (1 pound)
2 2/3 cups white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water
2 cups coarsely chopped blanched almonds
Cook to 300º (hard crack)

Melted milk or dark chocolate
Finely chopped (or ground) blanched almonds

2 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup3 cups heavy whipping cream (heat to scald)
4-6 ounces butter
2 cups broken pecans (heat in oven)

Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Add scalding hot cream to boiling syrup VERY SLOWLY. Continue to boil until cream is completely incorporated; add cold chucks of butter a little at a time. At about 235º add the hot nuts. Stir just enough to get them into the syrup. At 237º -238º remove pan from stove and let set on trivet to cool without stirring or disturbing syrup (it could turn to sugar with the LEAST disturbance).
When it is quite cool, pour into an 8 x 8 cake pan or baking dish that has been lined with buttered foil, disturbing as little as possible. Then let set undisturbed until completely cold. Remove it from the pan and peel off the foil. Wrap it completely in wax paper and then airtight in foil. Refrigerate.

Here's a really interesting site: BoingBoing, a Directory of Wonderful Things.

And speaking of wonderful things, take a look at these amazing photographs of water lillies from Kirk Jordan, a photographer in Arkansas.

Three other cool stops:
Nothing to See Here: a collaborative blog about places the guidebooks overlooked, VisuWords: a graphical dictionary, and finally, Superstruct: an interesting online game that aims to solve world problems.

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