Did you ever get that kind of present that makes you feel like crying? So, I got one this week, a cheese. I know, you must be thinking right now “What kind of person wants to cry in front of a cheese??”. Well, it happens that the cheese is a very special one, the legendary Serra da Estrela cheese, made in Portugal and brought here by my cousins Nádia and Alê, two people I really love having around.
The pic is here. As you can see, I had a pretty good week!
But it was busy too; crazy busy and I didn’t have time to think about Halloween until today. And while looking for a recipe for the theme, I had an insight: what could scare people more than candy making on October 31th?
Kidding people, just kidding!! The idea is exactly the opposite here, show anyone can make candies, including me. Really, I’m not a fan of sugar work. I mean, I admire who does but for me it’s more like I’m going to fail anytime I try to melt sugar.
Funny is during our road trip last summer we got to visit the Sweet Palace in Montana, an old fashioned candy store that makes “billions” of different taffy flavors and sells any kind of candy you can possibly imagine. The experience really triggered my desire of making my own candies; I was just waiting for the opportunity.
So, Halloween would be enough for that but I had another reason I wanted to make this recipe. It happens there is an act going on this month among food blogs, the October Unprocessed. And although I’ve been following the adventures of Tiffany and thinking it’s a brave and very nice initiative, I did not participate or wrote a note to support the case.
Fortunately, there is still time. My contribution is here, for Halloween and for the “unprocessed month”: homemade peanut butter taffies.
The recipe was adapted from the book Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner. The book is for people who is serious about candy making but this recipe in particular is surprisingly easy. I took about 30 minutes plus the cooling time to get a batch of 60 taffies (not counting the one I ate before wrapping!).
Combine corn syrup, molasses, sugar and condensed milk in a saucepan. Cook to 245ºF while stirring constantly. To make the test, drop a small portion of the mixture into a bowl with cold water, the liquid should form a ball that will flatten with resistance.
Remove from heat, stir in the salt, and then add the peanut butter.
Pour onto an oiled marble slab or a greased baking sheet and turn occasionally until cooled to a plastic consistency.
Pull taffy until a bit lighter in color and texture. Pull into a rope with a 1/2” diameter. Cut 1” pieces off the rope. Here it is a good example of “how to do”.
Wrap immediately to maintain shape and to protect from humidity.
Note: A temperature of 245ºF will produce taffy of a relatively firm texture. For a softer result, cook the batch at several degrees lower but not less than 235 ºF (soft ball stage).