Saturday, February 17, 2007

Recipe: Don’t Make This!

I am hoping to make a new candy or candy themed recipe every month. And I admit that I did make this, but I haven’t a clue what it is and I certainly don’t recommend it.

imageI started with the desire to make the Rochers that I’ve had at Tartine in San Francisco. They come in two varieties there, Almond and with Cacao Nibs. I thought since I had more of that Candy Cane Sugar left, I should try a peppermint version. It’d be perfect for Valentine’s Day, after all, to have these delicate pink minty soft meringues.

So I decided to alter the recipe in the Tartine cookbook (written by Elizabeth M. Prueitt & Chad Robertson). The ingredients are supposed to be:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

I thought I would swap out the sugar for my candy cane sugar and throw in a little corn starch for good measure. So my new recipe looked like this:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
3 small egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of candy cane sugar
1 pinch of salt

You can see where this is going.

Anyway, the directions said that the eggs, sugar and salt should be put into warm water bath and whisked together. Then put them into the stand mixer and whip the bejeebers out of them.

Well, after about eight minutes of whipping I had what I could only call “Pepto Batter”. It was a vile pink and not whippable. I’m not sure if some oil got into the egg whites or if the corn syrup present in the crushed candy canes will keep it from whipping, but it just wasn’t going to happen.

Not dissuaded from chucking the whole project, I lined a 13” x 9” pan with some parchment. I added the slivered almonds and then put it into the pan and popped it into the oven.


It puffed up nicely and got a crackly surface, but still didn’t want to “bake” entirely. The bottom seemed syrupy and wouldn’t firm up. So I left it in the oven. The Rochers were supposed to bake for 15-20 minutes at 350. I baked it for an hour and the bottom was still wet.

All that aside, it was tasty stuff. I ate all of the edges. It was crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with a good minty flavor that wasn’t too overwhelming. I was surprised that the almonds went so well with it.

So, I’ll try again and next time I’ll just use the candy cane sugar as a garnish on the top, not as the sugar replacement. Well, next time I’m going to try the recipe as written before I go mucking around with it. Live and learn.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:32 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyRecipesMints4-Benign

  1. That’s still pretty amazing! They came out very attractively, even given that you messed with the chemistry of the whole recipe. Have you ever tried to make homemade chocolate caramel pretzels? They are better than the ones at the store, and easy to make a bunch at a time.

    Comment by Magda on 2/17/07 at 5:20 pm #
  2. Ah well, live and learn right? It sure looks beautiful though…. smile

    Comment by Sera on 2/17/07 at 6:04 pm #
  3. I’ve had that happen with merengue cookies as well. hmmm

    Comment by Grace on 2/17/07 at 6:48 pm #
  4. Hmmm, perhaps the peppermint oil from the candy canes was the culprit. At least it still tasted good!

    Comment by jen on 2/18/07 at 3:54 am #
  5. I have been told so many times ‘don’t play with the recipe’ - but I just cannot help it!  Sometimes it all works out just fine and sometimes it just well, doesn’t!

    Comment by Tim on 2/18/07 at 12:47 pm #
  6. wow. i still thing it looks really good..

    Comment by alice on 2/18/07 at 4:44 pm #
  7. Sugar isn’t powdered sugar, but it sure looks pretty!

    Comment by Russ on 2/18/07 at 7:07 pm #
  8. Okay, well, I can see a couple things went wrong here. Don’t worry, I’m a non-professional who’s seen too many episodes of Good Eats. I’m here to help.

    Yes, the peppermint oil from the candies is interfering with the meringue. You’re really not likely to get a good foam started with that in the mix. Fats deflate foams. If you’re going to add them, fold them into the finished meringue. Dusting the top with the candy cane sugar is a good idea.

    Secondly, I notice you don’t have a stabiliser in there. There’s a reason meringue recipes call for creme of tartar. A little dab’ll do ya - maybe an eighth of a teaspoon should help stabilise the meringue.

    I can’t be 100% certain, of course, but I’m guessing the reason it didn’t cook properly is because of your problems with the foam. Too much liquid was running around loose and so your meringue was soggy. Get that meringue into shape and you shouldn’t have that problem in the future.

    Hope some of this was helpful!

    Comment by Bruce on 2/19/07 at 6:09 am #
  9. I’m the same way, I read a recipe and say, oh I could do that instead, right? Not always! At least it ended up tasty. I think you should try it again (if you have anymore candycane sugar left) but go 3/4 powdered sugar 1/4 candycane. At least, that’s what I’d try. Oh and Bruce’s advice about folding the candycane sugar in after wards is a great suggestion.

    Comment by Sabrina on 2/20/07 at 9:05 am #
  10. oh and how much cornstarch did you add? it’s not in your recipe.

    Comment by Sabrina on 2/20/07 at 9:08 am #
  11. looks very nice though! why not substitue the peppermint with something else, like caramel… or even better… CHOCOLATE… mmm… yummy… might try making it sometime…

    Comment by Ashley on 2/12/09 at 9:20 pm #
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