I'm baaack! You may now re-tape the black paper to your screens.
Candy: the pinnacle of sugar highs and finger foods. Sadly, most of these ethereal edibles have been degraded to mass-produced, sugar substitute packed, neon bricks. But the hardest hit are the basics: those little things that those big producers think you're too stupid to make yourself. Join the battle- we have cool hats.
This recipe for hard caramel doodads is a good starting place for the beginning sugarworker. It makes hard, strong flavored caramel candy that is much better on ice cream than by itself. The best part? There is no set recipe, so you can make as much or as little as you want. And here, my friends, is the magic formula:
2 parts (I used cups) granulated sugar
1 part water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Whatever you do, don't skip out on the corn syrup. It's a powerful anti-crystalizing agent, and will keep you from getting a grainy desert.
Now, here are the instructions. Learn them. Live them. Love them. First, mix all your ingredients into a delicious goopy mush. Put over high heat, and boil without moving or stirring the pan until the bubbles are slow and stacked. For those who don't trust their eyes, a candy thermometer will read 340 degrees Fahrenheit, and the sugar will be at the hard crack stage when it's ready. Here, you have two choices. You could just mix it in this state with some peanuts, pour onto a well-lubed baking pan, and make peanut brittle. Or, you could take it to the next level.
Pull the sugar syrup off the heat, and use a clean metal spoon to slowly stir until the syrup falls in a continuous stream. At this point, you should have two inverted baking sheets topped with that parchment paper I know that you have. It costs like three dollars, people. Holding the spoon above the paper, drizzle the sugar into little lacy patterns. When they cool, you can simply lift them off of the paper. If you really need to impress someone, place it on top of a scoop of ice cream on a nice plate.
But the fun doesn't end there! You know those chocolate molds in the back of your cupboards that you never use? Even though you think that you don't have any, check. I'd bet my left arm that you do. Butter those, and you can pour the slightly cooled syrup in. They will retain the exact details of the mold, and make some nice pretty candy.
So, go forth and find me a battle hat!