Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Brown Sugar-Walnut Divinity

If you've never made candy before, it's tricky! But ultimately, worth it. I've only attempted candy recipes a few times before, but the key, I've learned, is this: be prepared to work very very very quickly.

So for this recipe, combine 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (organic to avoid the un-vegan refining process), 1/2 cup water and one teaspoon cider vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir just until the sugar melts. Cover, reduce heat (to medium-low; I made the mistake of turning it down a tad too low), and cook three minutes. Uncover and cook another ten minutes, or until a candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees.

Candy thermometers, just F.Y.I, are among the coolest pieces of kitchenware out there, in my opinion. Not only are they incredibly useful, but it's so fun to watch the numbers rise to degrees in the two-hundreds, numbers that you would never really be aware of, if this little thermometer wasn't keeping track for you!

While the temp is rising, combine 1/8 tsp salt and one "egg" (one and a half tsp. powder to two tablespoons water, if using Ener-G Egg Replacer, or equivalent if using another brand) in a bowl. Beat with a mixer until foamy. Once the brown sugar mixture reaches 244 degrees, remove from heat and gradually add to the "egg", beating at medium speed. Beat in 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts.

Working quickly, spoon the mixture out by teaspoonfuls onto sheets of wax paper that you've previously laid out. The yield should be thirty dollops, each of which is 60 calories. Let them cool completely before you scoop them off the wax paper!

A confession: I got a little impatient (and, okay, nervous) and took my brown sugar mixture off the heat at 239 degrees since it had already been on the burner for over ten minutes. This meant that my candies were more liquid than they should have been, and even once cooled, they didn't crystallize as I believe was intended. Then again, this might have been a sad downside to using a vegan egg instead of a real egg. Whatever the case, I wish you better luck with your endeavor!

But mistakes aside, these little candies were - just as their name suggests - divine.

brown sugar $3.39
walnuts $4.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance