Monday, October 11, 2010

Fruit Jellies

I have decided to go on a quest as someone who makes barely more per month than what she pays for rent. My quest is to screw my friends and family out of real presents and leave them with a plethora of silly homemade candy. I am aided by my newest trusty gadget from a garage sale, the candy thermometer—only a dollar! And what a time to begin making my own candy in the month of October. In every foodie magazine there are recipes and recipes for all sorts of different candy in celebration of Halloween.
However, as I have learned from my few endeavors so far I am not good at making candy at all. It’s beginning to seem as if I will have to buy real presents or make canned goods (as I’m currently working on).  I’m sharing this recipe though because it is incredibly forgiving. I nearly set my oven on fire and made quite a sticky mess to clean up. I gave up when all of my liquid candy boiled over and decided to just put it in the fridge. In the morning the mixture hadn’t set up at all. I was about to resign myself to using it as a fruity syrup or jelly when I decided that just for the hell of it I would try again. I put the failed mixture into a pot and began to heat it up all over again. I heat it up to the temperature called for by the recipe. I made it up to that temperature slowly and surely with no more boiling over. I put it back into my pan and lo and behold it set up. It turned into candy! Mighty fine candy at that!

I used frozen strawberries and some lime juice but any fruit will do. I absolutely love my blender, I simply cant say it enough. It made quick work of these berries.
I think my biggest problem is understanding my thermometer. I made some failed caramels after this because they burned but my thermometer wasn’t registering high enough. It was crazy. I guess I just don’t know where to put my thermometer in the pan or something. Maybe I can blame the garage sale.

I would bet that I just need practice. Candy making is probably the most scientific of all cooking. The next time I go home I’ll have to ask my mom how it’s done. She makes a mean brittle. And sponge candy too which is my absolute favorite.

I just went on a tour of a local candy factory in Denver, Hammonds Candy. It was pretty fun and it was free so definitely worth it. But at the same time it wasn’t free because they have a gift shop where they sell all of the candy they have been tempting you with all along.
I got this recipe from the Oprah magazine. Anyone who is interested in candy would probably be interested in October’s magazine. She features some great candy makers who share quite a few of their absolutely delicious looking recipes. If only I was more talented.

1 (1 pound) bag frozen fruit thawed for 20 minutes
2 tsp powdered pectin
2 ½ cups sugar, divided
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice

1. In a blender, puree the slightly thawed fruit with ½ cup of water until smooth. 

2. Place 2 cups of the puree into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix together ¼ cup of sugar and the pectin. Whisk this mixture into the fruit puree and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 ¼ cups of sugar to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit stirring constantly. Stir in the lemon or lime juice and continue cooking for 20 seconds more.

3. Pour the fruit jelly into a lightly oiled 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle some additional sugar on top then allow to set up for at least two hours. When the candy is set, use a well oiled knife to cut into one inch squares or a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes. The scraps can be reheated and set again. Dredge the shapes in sugar then dry on a cooling rack.

4 Store in a box or paper bag at room temperature for up to two weeks.

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