It’s been a while since I’ve actually baked something for this blog… I guess that’s what happens when you bake at work all the time! Honestly, I’d say the worst part of working in product development is that everything I do make is confidential (such a bummer, I know). With the holidays coming up, in my house we’ve been preparing goody bags to give to friends, family & most importantly coworkers. That brings me to today’s food science recipe, which comes to us from the Sobey’s Holiday 2011 Inspire magazine (although we switched out the macadamia nuts for more green… pepitas!). The science part comes into play when you start to think about all of the different things you can make with just sugar & water! From rock candy, to taffy, to fudge and syrups. The difference between them is the sugar concentration, cooking temperature and how much it has been stirred (plus a couple other key variables). If you have ever made fudge before (which I have not) you probably know how HARD it is! or fudgey? I mean, it sounds hard… apparently there is a lot of stirring. But don’t worry! There’s a lot less stirring going on in this recipe, so click continue reading and try it out!
- 1/2 C Shelled Pistachios, Chopped
- 1/2 C Pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
- 2 C Sugar
- 1/2 C Corn Syrup
- 1/4 C Water
- 2 tbsp Salted Butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- Toast the chopped pistachios and pepitas on a baking sheet (350) until lightly golden and fragrant.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper & lightly greasing it
- In a medium-size heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until its all dissolved, then continue cooking without stirring. Cook for 10 min, until “soft ball” stage* or until a candy thermometer reads 234F
- Stir in butter into sugar mixture and cook 10 to 15 min longer until “hard crack” stage* or until a candy thermometer reads 300F.
- Remove from heat!
- Working quickly (–that means you need moves fast!), add in the vanilla, nuts and baking soda and pour onto your prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
- Sprinkle with salt and let it cool completely before breaking into pieces.
* So here is where I explain what these stages are…
Soft Ball Stage: is when 1tsp (5mL) of hot syrup forms a soft, pliable ball when dropped into cold water. Stopping at this stage only will make you fondant or fudge. Although I did have the right idea, having a bowl of water + ice cubes beside the boiling pot of sugar/water. It would have helped if I had watched this video first. So maybe click & watch?
Hard Crack Stage: is when 1 tsp (5mL) of hot sugar syrup forms brittle threads when dropped into cold water. This stage is what makes butterscotch & brittle! Here’s another helpful video. because the first one was so exciting…
I think my downfall was not pouring out the brittle fast enough, so it was a little bit thicker than I’m used to. But all in all, still pretty delicious if you ask me. Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Have any other good homemade gift giving ideas? Let me know!