For this ninth entry in my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' food series I a presenting recipes for home-made candies that will please kids and adults alike.
In fact, the kids will tend to prefer the first recipe whilst the adults will like the second. Both these recipes will also make excellent gifts... and if you're wondering how I got the hard candies into the star pattern, the mixture was allowed to cool slightly and was then forced through a cookie former.
And I know that, as today is the maids-a-milking day, I probably should have provided a recipe for milk-based candies (if you are desperate, there is a recipe for Cornish Clotted Cream Fudge elsewhere on this blog).
Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and all the other Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.
But now, on to the recipes (note that both these make excellent home-made gifts).
Christmas Hard CandyServes: 20
Ingredients:800g (4 cups) sugar
250ml (1 cup) golden syrup (light corn syrup)
250ml (1 cup) water
2 tsp cinnamon oil (or 2 tsp peppermint extract)
red food colouring, orange food colouring or green food colouring
icing sugar, for dusting
Method:Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a pan. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until the syrup reaches the hard crack stage (149–154°C; 99% sugar concentration [When you drop a little of the syrup in water at this stage it will solidify into threads that will shatter at the slightest torsion (sideways pressure). This is the ideal stage for making toffee, nut brittles and lollipops]).
Beat in the cinnamon oil (or peppermint) and the food colouring of our choice.
Turn the resultant coloured syrup into a baking tray lined with kitchen foil and greased with oil.
Sprinkle over a little icing sugar whilst still warm. Allow to cool until it can be handled and break into pieces.
Stor in an air-tight tin.
Torrones (Spanish Christmas Nougat)Serves:14
This is a classic Christmas sweet (candy) from Spain made with almonds.
Ingredients:225g finely-powdered sugar
180ml golden syrup (light corn syrup)
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp orange extract (or orange blossom water)
75g (1/2 cup) candied fruit, chopped
candied fruit, to garnish
110g (1 cup) slivered almonds
Method:Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a pan. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil and cook until a confectioner's thermometer inserted into the syrup reaches 127ºC (260ºF).
In the meantime, beat the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl until they stand in stiff peaks. When the syrup mixture reaches temperature gradually pour in a thin single stream onto the egg whites, beating constantly.
Add the extracts and beat well for 15 minutes, then add the candied fruit and beat for a further 2 minutes.
Fold in half the slivered almonds, then pour the resultant mixture into a buttered 22cm square pan that's been lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
Top with the remaining slivered almonds, then set aside to cool and set over night.
The following day, cut into squares.
This makes an excellent home-made Christmas gift.