I had an idea last week that I was going to turn myself into some sort of Willy Wonka and make loads and loads of sweets to give as Christmas gifts. I went to the supermarket and stocked up on sugar, cream, syrup, chocolate etc. and at the weekend began creating (after a two day mission to try to find a sugar thermometer!).
I had the perfect cookbook to work from, Sweet Treats, made by those behind the utterly wonderful Australian magazine, Frankie. If you are unfamiliar with this magazine, I cannot recommend it enough! It is full of cute handmade items, features on artists and musicians, old fashioned recipes and other inspiring, beautiful and nostalgic things :) I used to buy my copy at Borders, but now I get the issues delivered to my house (for my last two birthdays, Steve has brought me a much loved subscription to it!)
As the magazine is Australian, the measurements are in cups - which to be honest, I prefer to conventional weighing scales, it's so much quicker and seems to create less mess somehow! Also, it took some research on good old Google to work out what Glucose Syrup is (Corn Syrup to Americans, Golden Syrup to British!) I had already made the honeycomb a few months ago, which was fairly successful, except I think I became a bit over excited when adding the bicarbonate of soda, had a strange chemically taste - urg!
This weekend I tried out peanut brittle, chocolate truffles, brown cow caramels and candy hearts (or in my case, candy jigsaw pieces!) Some were more successful than others, but all in all, the recipes were clear and easy, often they just required a lot of time and patience. My first batch of toffee did not turn out too well, because I was too impatient and didn't allow the sugar to get hot enough!
I have just finished work for Christmas, so now it is time to relax (and try to eat my way through the 17 mince pies that we still have in the cupboard!)