As much as I keep on telling myself I’d like to get back to baking, I keep on doing different candy making projects. I still enjoy baking of course, but candy making is so interesting, and fun, and it’s just tacked on to one of those hobbies I circulate from now: I was never huge into science, but sugar science is so fascinating to me, and I really wish where I went to school, I was able to have a baking class! I would have learned science so much easier if cookies were in the mix 😉
The latest thing I tried was some toffee. It’s pretty much the same thing as caramel sauce/chews, accept exchange the heavy cream for butter. You add chocolate and nuts to it after it’s cooled a little, then have your toffee. All sounds nice and easy, right? Well it is if you don’t mess up a step!! I hadn’t looked at the recipe I had found for toffee before doing it, because I was reducing it anyway. So in my head, I thought you just pour all of your toppings into the bottom of the tray you’re going to pour your toffee into, and then pour the hot toffee over it and you’re done. Nope! I’m an idiot, and didn’t realize that maybe boiling hot sugar would burn chocolate and nuts, and of course, of course it did. My brother noticed it better than I did – to me, it just tasted like it all was burnt. He was able to figure out it was a layer on it so I was like “A layer?” and tried scraping off some of the chocolate and nuts, and it tasted better! Still burnt, but I could taste that the actual sugar and butter side of it tasted fine – which was a huge relief! I always taste, and feel the consistency of my candy as I go (very carefully, please don’t do this until the sugar you’ve scooped out is COMPLETELY COOL) and that side of it tasted fine when it was on it’s own, so I was baffled. So being able to figure out it was the other side of the candy. Sucks because why didn’t I think of that as a factor, but also is good, because it wasn’t my sugar boiling, I still got it as far as smelling and tasting my sugar for doneness is concerned! Like I said, huge relief 😀
I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the method of pouring stuff over your super hot candy, even if it does say let it cool for five minutes. It’s just a more visual way of doing things, and I don’t want to try and do a visual thing with something that’s so hot – I have my Mom do the pouring into the pan for now, which I may do eventually but like I said dealing with very hot sugar is not something I have to deal with right now, so why even chance getting burned? I think the best way for me to do things if I want chocolate on them is to let the candy set, melt chocolate and mix in any add ins I want to the chocolate (nuts, etc etc) and just do a dipping of each candy into said chocolate. That’s the best way for me to do things, and it works without having any errors, which I wouldn’t have realized without this flub, so I guess I owe it a thank you 🙂
I also think that doing things in steps in general is a better way to do baking, and candy making. Any time I’ve tried to do things the way a recipe says, where you layer things in and then bake just has never turned out right for me. Not saying it doesn’t work, but it’s just not a method I mesh well with, so will stick to my method of doing things in steps because it’s easier to manage, and airs towards the side of having less mistakes. I don’t mind mistakes, mind you, what I do mind is using, and wasting ingredients! There were cashews in this toffee grrr -shakes fist-.
Have you learned any good tips from mistakes in the kitchen? Would love to hear in the comments!