My summer plan for Candy By Candy fell through when I got too busy digging myself out of some emotional turmoil. I am disappointed by my lack of commitment but also relieved that the troubles are mostly behind me now. I still have plenty of supplies that I bought when I planned for my pop up shop including stacks of wrapping paper and pounds of couverture chocolate. I am determine to put them to good use even though my plan has changed.
For years I made caramel candies and painstakingly cut squares of wax or parchment paper to wrap them individually. It was labour of love. Pre-cut twisting paper is definitely money well-spent if you make candies even on a semi-regular basis. The paper remains firmly twisted around the candy instead of unravelling. The clear cellophane twisting paper shows off the candy in attractive and professional manner. I cannot recommend them enough. The only issue is that cellophane twisting paper are hard buy retail in Toronto. I ordered mine in the US ($25.95 for 1000 sheets) and delivered during my travels.
I picked a soft caramel recipe to test drive these fancy twisting paper. Smitten kitchen’s apple cider caramel (recipe here) was bookmarked long ago. The one pot method is friendly to inexperienced confectioners. In a nutshell, you reduce apple cider until it turns syrupy and then add copious amount of cream, butter, and sugar. You cook and stir and clutch your heart that the mixture doesn’t boil over. Once it reaches 252F, you pour the sweet lava into a lined cake pan and wait. Once it sets, you cut the slab of pliable caramel to small pieces and wrap them all up.
Even after the caramel set, it was still pliable enough to be shaped. The trick was to cut them into squares and then pull the wrapping paper taunt to roll into little cylinders. It may be a little frustrating if you are not used to dealing with soft sticky candies but the texture is exactly what made soft caramels so enticing.
It is amazing how concentrating the apple cider intensifies the apple-ness. Due to the high dairy content of this recipe, you need an assertive taste to come through. All my tasters were pleasantly surprised by the apple flavour that hit you at first taste. The butter and cream made the candies rich and mellow. The hint of cinnamon and Maldon sea salt were just enough to enhance without overwhelming the caramel.
I can imagine doing variations on this recipe by using other fruit puree as the base. Passion fruit, mango, and pineapple quickly come to mind. An infusion of tea or dried flower may also be great additions. I am so thankful that my cooking creativity returns in full force!