Archive for the ‘candy’ Category

Crispy “burned” almonds

December 13, 2007

To keep within the crunchy side of life, not at least of Christmas, why not make your own burned almonds. Walking through town these days with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, there’s nothing more appealing than the stands selling burned almonds, these reddish-brown small wonders covered either in crispy croquantish caramel or the “drier” version where the sugar hasn’t caramelized.

Following my post on the crunchy side of Christmas, you might thing I would cheer for the croquant types. Well, I wouldn’t. I prefer the other kind that are a little gentler on your teeth. Making the almonds are pretty straight forward, so if you on the way home accidentally ate all almonds (you didnt’t, did ya? you rascal, you!), here’s how you make some more.

Combine equal amounts of water, water (non-blanched), sugar and a pinch of salt in a heavy saucepan. Put it on high heat and stir once in a while until it starts to thicken. From now on, you have to stir all the time. Otherwise it will burn. If you’re like me and like the not overly crunchy type (did i say that?) you stop cooking when the sugar goes reddish brown and lava-like and starts sticking to the almonds. Transfer the whole thing to a heat proof dish and cool a little before you separate the almonds with a fork.

For variation add a little spice, cinnamon and cardamom both work well. If you end up cooking the almonds too long and it turn in to brittle – well, it could be worse, ’cause you’ve got, you guessed it, brittle. And who don’t like brittle? Chop it up and drizzle over your favorite vanilla ice cream. Voilá!

The almonds will keep in an air tight container but I doubt that’ll be necessary. Munch away, ya’ll.

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Quinces

December 4, 2007

I stumbled across a small basket of Danish apple quinces sitting on the top row of my green grocers outdoor rack. They were sitting on top of all kind of regional-grown apples – Lobo, Cox, Belle de Boskoop – and just waiting to be brought home to my kitchen. Quinces are great. Period. They go in stews, spice up apple dishes and not least great for sweets.

I haven’t seen Danish quinces in the stores before. You can get imported ones from countries around the Med pretty much all year long, but Danish ones are rare. I grabbed a few and already knew what to make – membrillo. We’ve made for Christmas the last couple of years from bush quinces from my parents house. Botanically it’s a whole different ball game, or so I’m told anyway, but the results have been good, though. This year however, it was to be the real deal, regional apple quinces, how much better does it get? Not a whole lot, actually. I was pleased I must admit! The paste thickened easier than before, maybe because of a higher pectin content, and the taste was great. Sweet with deep apple aromatics.

It takes a little while making the membrillo – and constant attention! This is one of those instances where you need a distraction free environment. I swear, the bobbling lava that eventually becomes a paste can smell if you answer the phone. It will burn, trust me. Once you set up your distraction free environment, wash the quinces, quarter and pit. Boil them in water until the are soft (up to thus point it is okay answering emergency phone calls etc.) Discard the water, press the soft quinces through a sieve discarding the peels. In a saucepan combine the puree with equal amounts of sugar and a little lemon peel and stir on very low heat until a thick amber paste is formed. It will take a while. Once you’re satisfied, transfer to a lined dish and put in a preheated oven at 50C until the top is no longer sticky to the touch. Let it cool, cube and roll in sugar. Serve along any old Christmas munching – English fudge, orangettes etc.

Marshmellows

November 27, 2007

What’s not to like? Fluffy, sweet and heavenly scented with vanilla. Anyways the three cousins that we had over the other weekend loved them, not to mention making them. It’s a straight forward and easy recipe. We’ve also tried substituting some of the water with cherry vinegar ending up with pink ‘mellows!

The recipe is from Camilla Plum’s Ælle bælle frikadelle

Marshmellows

210g water
400g sugar
1 vanilla pod
34g gelatin
200g powdered sugar

Split the pod and combine the vanilla with the sugar and water. Bring to the boil in a heavy saucepan. Soften the gelatin in water for 5 minutes, wring off excess water and put into the liquid. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a mixer and mix at high speed. The longer you mix, the better texture you get. Pour the thick substance into a dish cowered with the powdered sugar. Cover the subtance with more sugar and cut into cubes.