Baking History

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Archive for the ‘Candy & Confections’ Category

Maple-Walnut Fudge

Posted by bakinghistory on June 13, 2008

A delicious fudge flavored with maple syrup, walnuts, and a pinch of salt

Maple and walnuts are a wonderful combination and this creamy and smooth fudge is one of the best among the many wonderful variations in which this candy is made. Fudge is not complicated to make and results are always great, especially if one has a reliable candy thermometer and a few precautions are followed.

The recipe I made comes from a wonderful book on candy-making published in 1917 and written by Alice Bradley. The result is a candy with a smooth and sugary texture, to which the crunchy walnuts provide just the right counterpart. The sweetness is nicely balanced by a good sprinkle of salt, which really should not be omitted.

This is my entry for the blog event Food Swap: Fudge hosted by Joelen Culinary’s Adventures


From the original recipe by Alice Bradley

In: “The Candy Cookbook”, 1917—USA


1 tbsp(15 g) butter

1 cup (200 g) sugar

1/2 cup (161 g) maple syrup

1/3 cup (80 g) cream

1 cup (100 g) chopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably cast iron) , add the sugar, maple syrup, and cream, stirring on low heat until sugar is dissolved.

It is important that the sugar dissolves completely, or the final results will be grainy rather than smooth. Using a small brush dipped in water wash off any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan and to the wooden spoon you use to stir the mixture.

Once the mixture is completely smooth and blended, bring it to the boil, insert a candy thermometer and let cook, without stirring, until it reaches 238°F (114.44 C°) or soft ball stage.

Remove from the heat , and let stand undisturbed until cool (110F)—place the pan on a trivet so that air can circulate around the bottom. The candy will initially be gooey but later will set perfectly. Add walnuts and salt, and beat with a wooden spoon until candy begins to get creamy. Place in a 8×8-in (20×20 cm) square pan lined with aluminum foil well greased with butter or almond oil and press with a spatula to distribute the candy evenly. Mark in squares before the candy sets. Cut along lines and serve.

Notes: for perfect results, it is necessary to make sure that the sugar is completely melted before the mixture is boiled. Candy thermometer must be always read at eye level, or false readings will cause candy that is either under-or over-cooked, both of which will end up in disappointing results. Beating too long or not long enough after the mixture has cooled is also a potential source of problems. Practice is as usual the best teacher.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Candy & Confections, Maple, Treenuts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Bean Taffy

Posted by bakinghistory on February 9, 2008

Bean taffy, a candy as tasty as it is unusual, is made with pureed beans, sugar, milk and butter
This is my entry for My Legume Love Affair hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook .
Pureed beans are used to make this unusual candy, with an excellent taste (it reminds me a lot of Marrons glacés ) and a not-too-chewy texture.
It is not particularly difficult to make, but you need a candy thermometer and some time and patience.
The mixture must be stirred as it cooks, but ever so gently or the candy will be grainy instead of smooth.
It is also important not to cook it too long, or it will harden. If that happens, it can be cooked again with some more milk until it reaches the right consistency.
The book recommended dried Lima beans, but also said that any variety will do—I tried also with Great Northern beans and Navy beans. The dried beans should be picked over, rinsed, soaked in cold water overnight, and cooked in fresh water until tender. They should be pureed and strained to eliminate skins.
From the original recipe by Mary Elizabeth Hall
In: “Candy-making revolutionized; confectionery from vegetables”, 1912—USA
2 cups (400 g ) sugar
1/2 (118 ml) cup water
1 tbsp (15 g) butter (room temperature) + extra to grease pan
1/2 cup (125 g) cooked, pureed beans
1 cup (237 ml) milk

Necessary equipment:

candy thermometer

wooden spoon

cake pan 10 x 15 x 2 inches (25.4 x 38 x 5 cm)

saucepan + tight fitting lid

Place the candy thermometer in hot water, butter very generously bottom and sides of the cake pan.

Mix well and boil together water, pureed beans, and butter. Let the mixture simmer, covered, for about 3 minutes. Uncover and add 1/3 of the milk, bring to a boil again and let boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring gently, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 more of the remaining milk and proceed as before, finally adding the last of the milk.

Place the candy thermometer in the pan and let the mixture boil gently, stirring all the time with slow and gentle motion, until the thermometer register 242°F (116.67°C), which is slightly above the soft-ball stage.

Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and when warm cut in squares.

Posted in American Cooking, Beans, Blog Events, Candy & Confections | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Ginger Bonbons

Posted by bakinghistory on January 14, 2008

Dainty and delicious bonbons with a ginger filling

Blog-Event XXX: Ingwer This is my entry for the Blog-Event XXX: Ingwer (Ginger).

Here is the ROUNDUP 

From the original recipe by Mrs. Sherwood P. Snyder

In: “The Art of Candy Making Fully Explained” , 1915–USA


5 cups (1 kg) sugar

1-1/2 cups (355 g) water

1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar

1/2 lb (227 g) candied ginger, preferably uncrystallized

Necessary equipment:

candy thermometer

metal spatula/scraper

wooden spoon

cake pan 10 x 15 x 2 inches (25.4 x 38 x 5 cm)

small brush



Make the fondant:

Put the candy thermometer in a cup of hot water.

Place sugar and water in the saucepan, over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Wipe down the sides of the saucepan with the brush dipped in cold water until every granule of sugar is removed, or they will make the fondant grainy.

When the syrup begins to boil, add the vinegar, and place the thermometer in the pan, having previously warmed it.

Do not move the pan and do not stir the syrup while it is boiling.

If scum forms on the surface, wait until it collects in one spot, then remove it with a spoon being careful not to disturb the syrup.

While the syrup is boiling, wipe the cake pan with a paper towel dipped in cold water, and do not dry it.

As soon as the syrup reaches 240°F (115.56°C), lift the pan from the heat, being careful not to shake the syrup. Pour it into the prepared cake pan, by holding the saucepan down close, beginning at one side of the cake pan and drawing the saucepan towards the other side as the syrup is being poured.

Do not scrape the last of the syrup from the saucepan, and do not allow the saucepan to drain too much. The drippings will make the fondant grainy.

Allow the syrup to cool until it feels just slightly warm, not cold, to the back of the hand. Begin to work it with the scraper or spatula lifting it from the sides to the center. It will soon become creamy, then later will turn into a solid lump. Working a small portion at a time between the palms of your hands will turn it pliable, smooth and satiny.

Let the prepared fondant rest in an airtight glass container for 24 hours.

Make the bonbons

Mince the candied ginger more or less finely–according to taste. Take about half of the prepared fondant and work it with your hands, mixing in the minced ginger. Then take small lumps, no larger than a hazelnut, and roll them between the palms of your hands. Place each tiny ball on a lightly greased tray, and let stand a few minutes.

Place the remaining fondant in a double-boiler and melt it over very low heat. Add a tsp water at a time until it reaches the consistency of thin cream. Dip each bonbon in the melted fondant (the fondant must not be hot) then place it on a lightly greased tray. Decorate the top of each bonbon with a tiny piece of candied ginger.

Note: the bonbons can also be dipped in melted chocolate.

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Candy & Confections, Spices, Sweetmeats | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Candied Orange Peel

Posted by bakinghistory on December 27, 2007

A nice winter treat: preserved orange peel
This candied orange peel is made with an unusual method that makes it especially flavorful and aromatic.
You can roll the strips in granulated sugar or leave them plain, to use in cakes and breads, cookies, or to dip in chocolate.
From the original recipe by Marion Harland
In: “Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery”, 1873–USA
Organic oranges
Weigh the oranges whole, and take an equal weight of sugar.
Wash and scrub the oranges. Squeeze the juice through a strainer into a large pan. Mix the sugar with the orange juice.
Cut the peel in narrow strips.
Boil the peels in water, changing the water twice and replenishing it with boiling hot water kept ready for this purpose. Cook the peels until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Bring the orange juice and sugar mixture to a boil, add to it the drained orange peel strips and boil 20 minutes.
Drain on racks, and when dry but still slightly tacky roll in sugar or leave as they are.

Posted in American Cooking, Candy & Confections, Fruit, Preserves, Sweetmeats | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »