Tuesday, August 10, 2010

O Hai, Humidity

I made candy last week. Not just any candy though, this candy. Tartelette is an awesome food/pastry blogger, and I admire her skill with food and cameras to no end! I highly recommend checking her blog out.

No, I didn't make the cake. It turns out that in my quest to learn how to bake, I also figured out a loophole to make it so I end up cooking.

Sugar/pasty work is hard. Lots of things can go wrong; even the slightest mistake can lead to your food not turning out right (see also: disastrous, sticky burning), and because of that, it's hard to tell whether recipes actually work. In making this, I was like, "Is the recipe not working right? Is my thermometer not calibrated correctly? Did I heat it up too much? Oh no, did I bump the pot? Is the thermometer crystalizing the sugar and reading incorrectly?" I also did a lot of thinking, "AAAAAUGHHH WHY IS THIS SO HARD???"

To be fair, however, I only failed twice. 3rd time, and ignoring the original recipe's the charm, apparently. Caveat: it is really humid here, so it's also unclear whether that affects the original recipe, even though the writer of the recipe is also in a humid part of the mid-Atlantic (see why this is confusing and complicated?). Fortunately for my sanity, I had previously made candy at a Hollywood Magic (or some other badass name) at a day camp at the best museum in the world: The Science Museum of Minnesota. Go there. Be in awe. So I knew that if I just made something like a lollipop, it would achieve the correct effect. I also found this really ugly and horribly designed website that also happens to be the most informative site on candy making out there. Please beware on behalf of your eyes. Has awesome troubleshooting and tips section.

AAAANYWAY, here was the final result.

Yes, you're seeing that correctly; not only did I not bake a cake, I didn't really have anything to stick it in besides this bread.

It was beautiful, thin, colorful, and delicious. Except then the humidity made it sticky. And bloomy aka ended up looking like it was molding. Then when I brought it to work to share, all the pieces stuck to each other in one giant, pointy, shard-y lump. HOWEVER at that point, they were still translucent and really did look like a stained glass window. I AM STILL COUNTING THAT AS A SUCCESS.

Rule: Sugar gets very hot and above the temperature boils at, and is STICKY. Meaning if you get some on you while hot, not only will be be worse than pouring boiling water on yourself, IT WILL ATTACH TO YOU. Please have a bowl of ice water for dunking hot body parts into just in case. Also, perseverance is delicious. As Tartelette says, do not fear the sugar!

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