Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sugar Sugar.. She No Likes Me.

Horribly burnt honeycomb

Would you care to guess what this is? No, it isn't a perfectly baked cheesy sheet pizza. No.. not some kind of ooey gooey yummy pasta dish..

This is honeycomb candy. Honeycomb candy gone way wrong. This is December's Kitchen Disaster! Woooo!!

After reading my loverly friend Ellie's post regarding her perfectly executed attempt at making honeycomb candy, I knew I had to try it myself. I lurve honeycomb - it's my favorite among the hard candies - and thought it would be a very nice lil treat to wrap up and give to friends. Mmm hmm. If you haven't yet.. go have a look at Ellie's candy - I'll wait.

... ... *whistling* ... ... *humming* ... ... *wondering if that's a cobweb in the corner of my office or is that a REAL SPIDER *eek!!!* web?* ... ... *Gawd, I don't wanna go to work today* ... ...

Oh hi! You're back! Okay.. so, is that not the most gorgeous honeycomb candy you've ever seen? It's goldeny and bubbly and thick and you can almost taste the crispedy goodness of it, yes?!

'kay here's mine - and, please, keep in mind that this is the SECOND attempt which was cooked for a lesser amount of time...

Underdone honeycomb??

Not so comby honeycomb

Not very comby is it? Kinda goldeny here and orangey there, eh? Kinda thin, kinda looks more like a dissection of a bone, doncha think? Those bubbles are so small and so close together there is no crispedy, there is only crunchedy and then stuckedy to your teethedy. Gah.

At least on the second attempt, after breaking it into pieces I didn't find the inside to be so brown it was almost black. And at least on the second attempt, when I took a small piece to at least see if it tasted okay, I didn't get a mouth full of baking soda flavor. So I guess on some accounts, you could say that the 2nd batch was mildly successful - although not even close to the destination I was going for.

I'm rather afraid now. I doubt I'm going to give this a third try, although it frosts my rather large heiney that I can't get it right. This might work better if I were to invest in a candy thermometer, but I can't see dropping $25.00 or more on something that I'll use, what? Maybe once a year? On the other hand, I am definitely a poor judge on what the color should look like for the perfect honeycomb, that's fer shnizzle.

I am going to take my 2nd attempt to work today - at least it won't go to waste. The guys will only care it's sugar and not give a damn that it's not what it's suppose to be. hee!

I am bummed though.. I had great expectations of making several batches of the stuff.. including a couple with a lil orange infusion.. yum :( 'kay you master candy makers out there - advice please? Ellie Muh Lurve? Peabody? Any body?

Fifteen minutes burned it and 10 minutes wasn't enough.. do I dare try again and take it off the heat at 12 minutes? I did find using a 9" x 13" inch pan made it too thin, so the 2nd attempt was poured into an 8" x 8" pan and the thickness was much better. I also used a whisk on the 2nd attempt when I stirred in the baking soda - I think that helped incorporate it better, alleviating that horrible soda taste from the first one. I've got 2 days before I have Xmas dinner with my girlie friends and until next Saturday before my family comes to my house for our Xmas get together.. so I've got some time to try it again - but I don't know if I've got the nerve. heheee

On a happier note, I tried Paula Deen's Pine Bark again - this time I took Peabody's advice and waited a full 30 seconds before moving the chocolate around slightly.. then I walked away. Waited another full 30 seconds before going back and spreading it slighly again - then walked away. Went back after a final 30 seconds (mebbe a tad bit longer even) and the chocolate spread like frosting - just as she said it would. Yay! I also cooked the brown sugar/butter mixture longer and this time the "toffee" wasn't grainy in the least. A perfect batch is what I got! So at least I'll have that to share =) Thanks Peabody!! =))

Pine Bark Revisited
Paula Deen's Pine Bark

35 saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
5 (4-ounce) milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a 15 by 10 by 1-inch jelly roll pan with tin foil. Lightly spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.

Place saltine crackers, salty side up, in prepared pan. In a saucepan, boil butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Pour mixture over crackers and bake for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven, top with candy bars, and spread evenly as chocolate begins to melt. Cool slightly and transfer onto waxed paper. Allow to cool completely.

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Comments on "Sugar Sugar.. She No Likes Me."


Blogger Brilynn said ... (12/18/2006 10:06 AM) : 

You see, that's precisely why I'm scared of hot sugar!

The bark looks wonderful though, hopefully it makes up for the sugar's bite.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/18/2006 11:29 AM) : 

Sorry about the honeycomb :(
But hey! I'm so glad the toffee worked out better for you! The chocolate looks nice and smooth.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/18/2006 3:10 PM) : 

Still looks good to eat to me. Oh gawd, what is it about hot sugar that's plagueing us. I just posted a topic about caramel.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/19/2006 9:34 AM) : 

can I call it a disaster week for bloggers? I keep seeing quite many, I have one too but not posted yet.
Pine Bark looks heavenly indeed!


Blogger Lis said ... (12/19/2006 11:02 AM) : 

Brilynn - The bark makes up for the sugar's bite.. HAHAHAHAHAA!

Peabody - It did! I'm so glad you posted yours with your tips, thanks!

Veronica - hehehe yeah I'm seeing that working with hot sugar has been getting a few of us down lately. Although I thought your dessert looked damn good! All caramelly-appley and such =)

Gattina - I can't wait to see your disaster! I've already inducted Brilynn into the Kitchen Disasters Club, I'd love to welcome you too! hehee


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/20/2006 7:51 AM) : 

hey hon - I thought I posted a comment here while I was at work today but it must not have gone through - booo!!

I did this without a sugar thermometer as well, and here are some notes (perhaps helpful, perhaps not!) with the hopes that you'll be 3rd time lucky!

1. Make sure you're using 2 tsp of bicarb and not 2 tbsp as I accidently wrote in the post - whoops!

2. The boiling sugar should be the same colour as the sugar around my peanut brittle - nice and golden.

3. As soon as the sugar reaches that colour, make sure you remove it from the heat straight away.

4. You need to move lightning fast from the moment you add the bicarb till the moment it's dumped to cool. Make sure you're not overmixing - give it a really brisk whisk as soon as the bicarb is added, and whisk for no more than about 5 seconds (your wrist should be going crazy for those 5 seconds though!) and as soon as the bicarb can't be seen anymore when you whisk, dump it into the lined tray to cool - it should develop a skin that looks like there are gremlins moving below the surface but then start to cool, harden and sink slightly.

I'm trying to think of anything else that I'm missing but I think that's it? I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!


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