Results tagged candy from David Lebovitz

How to Make Candied Ginger

candied ginger

There’s an inside joke amongst people who write books about baking that any recipe that begins with “Using a candy thermometer…..” scares the pants off of people and is enough to ward away all but the most dedicated baker.

I’m not sure why that is. It’s like when people tell me, “I can’t bake.” While baking is a fairly exacting affair, 1 cup of sugar is pretty clear: it’s one cup of sugar. It’s not like frying fish or meat, where you need to gauge doneness yourself, or making salad dressing where personal taste and the ingredients used can alter the finished result. But the thermometers does not lie.* I mean 225 degrees is pretty clear: it’s 225 degrees.

Continue Reading How to Make Candied Ginger…

Oursons Guimauve

oursons guimauve

There’s a misconception that the French don’t eat junk food. While it’s true that the drugstore shelves around here are lined with, of all things—drugs, there are some foods around that don’t quite fall into the high-fallutin’ AOC category elsewhere.

It’s become commonplace to see teenagers swilling la Coca from plastic liter jugs on the sidewalks and it’s not unusual to see a Parisian toting a bag from McDo. In the candy department, the dubious tagada, artificially-flavored strawberry marshmallow domes, I’ve unfortunately had served to me melted on top of a crème brûlée in lieu of a crackly layer of caramel (which was not an improvement, believe me…) and in more upscale desserts in trendy restaurants. Both I found rather icky.

But there is one junk food that I do share their affection for: les oursons guimauve.

Continue Reading Oursons Guimauve…

Papabubble

candy jar

If there’s anyone out there who likes homemade candy more than I do, I would like to meet that person. I used to have a dream about opening a shop that sold nothing but confections made by my own two hands: chocolate-covered marshmallows, twisty peppermint sticks, naturally-flavored lollypops, sugary orange slices (god, I love those…), and chewy red licorice whips.

I even went so far as to go to take courses in candymaking, which was a lot of fun. But ultimately I decided that candy was too finicky, and that not only would few people buy it, but with my luck, I’d probably get picketed by the local dentists for making all that chewy stuff.

Continue Reading Papabubble…

Candied Peanut Recipe

candied peanuts

Let’s get right to the point: this is my killer app recipe, the one I go to more than anything else. I could tell a million stories about this, but I’ll just skip all that stuff for now and scoot right to the goods.

I love these peanuts! Not only are they absolutely scrumptious and the easiest candy you can make, but if you keep a sack of raw almonds or peanuts on hand, you can make them in about 10 minutes. Tied into a little sack, they’re a great hostess gift in lieu of a bottle of wine (and cheaper!), and I serve them often as a cocktail snack, or after dinner, in a bowl for everyone to dig into.

candied peanuts

I also like to mix these candied peanuts in just-churned ice cream, which I’m going to do with this particular batch, along with a swirl of homemade dulce de leche. A handful chopped and sprinkled over a spinach salad or batch of cole slaw would be pretty terrific, for those looking for savory apps. And at the risk of infuriating any purists, topping a bowl of Asian noodles.

Continue Reading Candied Peanut Recipe…

wine gums

wine gums

I don’t get it. Why are these called wine gums?

According to Wikipedia, it’s because the flavors are “similar to the experience of savoring a fine wine”.

You know, I like gummy candies. A lot. And I like wine too. But I see zero connection between the two. Zilch. I bought these a while back in London, intrigued by the little words on each one: port, claret, chablis, rioja, and gin…with apologies to my British friends, I don’t think qualifies as wine.

And what is ‘hook’?

So there I was, this afternoon, scavenging for something sweet and finally ripped open the bag. After picking through and tossing the black (licorice…ick!) and green ones (medicinal…ick!), I did a little searching and found they have quite a cult following. But to me, they don’t compare to the world’s great gummy candies—Chuckles, orange slices, Boston Fruit Slices—or my favorite filling-yankers; Jujubes.

(Ok, and can’t forget Dots, which I used to hold up in front of the screen at the movies before I ate it to make sure I didn’t eat a green one.)

Seriously, what is up with these little fellas?

How to Make the Perfect Caramel

morecaramelstirring.jpg pouringcaramel.jpg

Here are my tips and step-by-step instructions for How To Make The Perfect Caramel.

(You may also wish to read Ten Tips for Making Caramel, which preceded this post.)

Ice Cream

Continue Reading How to Make the Perfect Caramel…

Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking

I love whole grains and I love chocolate.

So when I saw this curious Muzzi chocolate bar in a terrific Italian traiteur and grocer, Au Village Italien, I had to add it to my shopping basket. Inside the bar was little bits of puffed farro, or spelt as one would say in English.

(It’s épautre in French, dinkel in German and for the brainiacs out there, it’s triticum dicoccum in Latin.)

farrochocolate.jpg

I was curious to taste how the dark Italian chocolate would meet up with the earthy, crispy little bits of whole grains and I was not disappointed. Boy…I took one bite of this and stopped in my tracks.

What a great bar of chocolate!

Speaking of not being disappointed, did you ever correspond with someone online, then meet up with them to find out they’re nothing like you think?

Okay, you don’t need to admit to that.
But I will.

Continue Reading Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking…

Salt-Roasted Peanut Recipe

“You’re A Winner!” said the email.

“You’ve won a Katana Series Nakiri knife, from Calphalon.”

knives.jpg

While I seem to be the quintessential person who never wins anything (except the fabulous no-expense paid trip to Paris that I’m enjoying), and I don’t remember putting my business card in the raffle fishbowl, I was happy to accept. And the knife made a lovely addition to my Katana collection, joining the smaller one that I already owned. I’ve been using both, and they’re really rather incredible knifes. I love the handles, and the blades are scary-sharp. Which is good.

While we’re on the subject of deadly weapons, let’s talk about salt. Everyone is scared of salt.

I don’t pay much attention to hot-shot chefs, but I’d read that Thomas Keller was once asked what makes a good cook, and he replied, “salt”. He summed it all up in one simple word, and that’s truly what it all comes down to…and that’s why he’s a great chef and I bought his French Laundry book even though there’s no way in h-e-double-toothpicks I’m ever going to make anything from it. But if he can use it, so can you.
So no matter what you do to food, whether you whip it into a foam, toss it on the grill, spend 17 hours cutting it into little itty-bitty cubes that people wait 6 months to taste, or churn it in your ice cream maker, salting makes all the difference in cooking and baking.

A lot of people are afraid of salt, citing health concerns. Yet experts tell us that if you stay away from pre-packaged convenience foods, the average person only consumes about 1 1/2 teaspoons to salt per day. Although I should talk…I can’t have enough of it and sometimes buy it by the kilo. So maybe at this point you’d be wise to just scroll down to the recipe.

fleurdeselenorme.jpg

I mostly sprinkle top-quality salt on top of things, as a finish, where you’re going to taste it rather than adding it all at the beginning of the recipe where it can get lost. Whatever salt you use, I recommend coarse salt crystals, since the larger pieces take longer to dissolve, thereby giving your palate more time to experience the complexity of flavors, rather than just dissolving into a salty mouthful like fine salt does. Plus most commercial salt has additives which give the salt a bitter, acrid taste.

If you don’t know what fleur de sel is, you should. It’s fine crystals of salt that’s hand-harvested in marshes in Brittany, off the Atlantic coast of France. Although lots of fleur de sel-style salts have been showing up from Italy, Portugal, and elsewhere, the best fleur de sel is from the Guérande. I use it on everything; its fine, delicate taste is best appreciated when sprinkled over things, as mentioned above, rather than dissolved (like in soups) so it’s best to save it for places where it can be appreciated.

Fleur de sel is admittedly pricier than ordinary table salt, but when people balk at paying 5 or 6€ for a container of salt, that will cost them pennies (or centimes per day), they get all freaked-out. (Hey, it’s cheaper than gas, and lasts longer.) Just a last-minute flurry over a slab of foie gras or dark chocolate bark will give it a curious, other dimension. When you start using it, you’ll be as hooked as I am. You’ll never go back to ordinary table salt again.

I only buy fleur de sel harvested in Brittany, and I’ve recently befriended a récolteur who invited me to his marshes this summer to rake and harvest salt. His salt is incredible; light and flaky, with the fine, delicate taste of the sea. He sells his salt in Paris and I always tell guests to stock up here, since it’s one of the true bargains in Paris. A 250 g bag costs just 4€ ($5), which translates to .0136986 cents per day.

fleurdesel.jpg

So I hereby give you permission to spend a little bit more on salt. It will improve your cooking, just like upgrading to a good olive oil will improve your salads (and really, how much do you use?) If you don’t believe me, take this simple test: Taste a few grains of fleur de sel. Then taste a few grains of commercially-available fine table salt. I can almost guarantee that you’ll never use ordinary table salt again.

This is one of my favorite recipes for using fleur de sel, crispy Salt-Roasted Peanuts. These are terrific with cocktails or aperitifs, but I also like to enrobe them in bittersweet chocolate and if you’re making Hot Fudge Sundaes, they’re also dynamite sprinkled over the top.

peanutsblog.jpg

Salt-Roasted Peanuts

  • 2 cups (300 g) raw peanuts
  • 1/4 cup (80 g) light corn syrup, agave nectar, or rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) light brown sugar or cassonade
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).

Lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with a silicone baking mat.

In a bowl, mix together the peanuts, corn syrup, and light brown sugar, until the peanuts are well-coated.

Sprinkle the salt over the peanuts and stir just a few times, but not enough to dissolve the salt.

Spread the peanuts evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring three times during baking, until the nuts are deep-golden brown and glazed.

Cool completely, then store in an airtight container immediately, to preserve their crispness.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 2 cups.

FAQ’s

I can’t find raw peanuts.

You can use roasted, unsalted peanuts, and reduce the baking time to 15 minutes. I buy raw peanuts in Asian markets.

Can I use other nuts?

I never have, but let me know how they turn out if you do.

What if I can’t get light corn syrup where I live?

Use glucose, available at professional pastry supply shops.

Can I use honey or golden syrup?

Yes, but they’ll be stickier and not as crisp. See the linked post under ‘corn syrup’.

Can I use another salt?

You can use any coarse sea salt, but choose one that’s light-tasting. I like Maldon salt from England very much, or you can use kosher salt.