Making Candy with Honey Part 1: sight

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This is a series of blog posts dedicated to making candy with honey (instead of sugar or corn syrup). I’m teaching a class on this in February so I am prepping for my class and blogging about it.

When making candy please have a bowl of water on hand to treat burns if the need arises.

This blog is how to use the changing colours of hot honey (or your sight) as an imperfect gauge for candy making (instead of a thermometer method). The cooking times given will be determined by the moisture content of your honey and the humidity of your kitchen. Raw honey is about 20% moisture, where candy is around 1-5%. Heating is what causes the moisture loss, obviously.

Honey boiled with walnuts, called nucato. Take boiled and skimmed honey, with walnuts chopped slightly and spices, cooked together; dip your hands in water and spread it out; let it cool and serve it. And you can use almonds and hazelnuts in place of walnuts. An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped small
  • pinch of ginger, ground
  • 2 pinch of cinnamon, ground

Directions

  1. Place honey in sauce pan on medium, and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring often.
  2. Mix the chopped walnuts, and spices, into the honey and coat well. Bring honey back up to a boil and stir continuously.
  3. You should notice the honey change from golden to a pale brown once it is brought to boil again, after the nuts are added, at around 4 minutes. At this temp you get a sticky mess.
  4. After 3-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change slightly darker, more of a cardboard box brown.
  5. After 2-3 minutes the honey will suddenly change darker again, light brown leather coloured. This is a firm but slightly chewy candy. (If you keep going after another 30 seconds to 1 minute you will get, very dark brown, which is a hard, and brittle candy, but the risk of burning the mixture at this time is very high.)
  6. Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
  7. Slice and serve immediately.
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