A back injury put my kitchen candy adventures on hold for over a month, as almost all sweets require lengthy periods of standing and stirring. And just standing. When I could, I filled the time with alternatives – pineapple muffins, chocolate and vanilla cups, banana bread, bundt cakes (I’ll share photos and tips later), but today felt like a good day to return to the truly sweet side.
I came across this recipe for Brown Sugar Candy last week while researching whether there are any Easter-specific candies that are traditionally made. It’s not an Easter recipe at all, but seemed worth noting for future reference. Who knew that the future would so quickly be upon us?
Mom and I both felt like chocolate late this afternoon, but were thwarted in this wish on two fronts: one, I gave up chocolate for Lent, and Easter is still 3 weeks away; and, two, there is no chocolate in the house at the moment. Fudge is generally my go-to substitute but, amazingly, there is no condensed milk in the house either (any minute now, I expect to see at least one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse galloping by!). Luckily I remembered this recipe, which doesn’t need condensed milk and for which we had all the ingredients.
This is really simple to make, and takes less time than most sweets to make, reaching the required temperature fairly quickly. The whole process took about 15 minutes.
Tip: Be careful not to beat too long, stopping when the butter/margarine is stirred in and the mixture seems smoothly combined. The original recipe says to beat until the mixture loses its gloss. I wasn’t sure what “loses its gloss” looks like, and beat vigorously for quite a while till it started to look cloudy. This was too much as, when I poured it into the tin, almost half of the mixture began setting in the pot, making it almost impossible to spread. As a result, I wasn’t able to fill the tin as should have been the case. I also ended up with a rough and crumbly section – the last bit poured/ scraped out of the pot. I pressed it together, and it did combine as it set, but didn’t look pretty.
The original recipe for this Brown Sugar Candy can be found at allrecipes.com. My version is slightly different in timing and temperature, and omits the nuts.
I got 42 pieces, but with proper spreading should get 48.
500g brown sugar (I used a combination of regular brown and treacle sugar)
2 Tbsp of margarine
1 tsp vanilla essence
20 x 20cm baking tin
Spray the tin with non-stick spray.
- Place the sugar and evaporated milk in the pot and stir over medium-high heat (number 3) until the mixture darkens and begins to boil.
- Once the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring and place the thermometer in the pot. Cook until the mixture reaches 116 – 118C (240 – 245F). It will darken along the way, and the bubbles will get bigger.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the margarine and vanilla essence, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Beat well, until the margarine and vanilla are completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth and just beginning to lose its glossiness.
- Pour into the prepared tin. Here you can clearly see the problem that arose from beating it too long – two-tone, two-texture candy.
- As soon as the mixture starts firming – about 3 minutes – score deeply with a sharp knife lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Leave to cool.
- After about 30 minutes, remove from the tin, break along the score lines, and enjoy!
- Store as you would fudge – I cannot see any reason to refrigerate as instructed in the original.