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Saturday, August 13

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Recipe Fri Jan 16 2009

Molasses in the Snow

One of my favorite books as a kid was a Laura Ingalls Wilder-penned cookbook that paired food-centered excerpts from her books with historically accurate recipes that were chock full of ingredients that I had never seen or knowingly consumed--particularly lard, currants, and molasses.

One recipe that I never tried was a molasses candy made by pouring a boiling concoction into pans of freshly collected snow, letting it harden, and scraping it up. It sounded interesting, but I was nine years old and my mother would have been furious if I had tried making this candy. I found what I think is a decent reproduction of the recipe. We got plenty of snow, so consider trying it this weekend.

Molasses Candy
It's helpful to have two people--one to watch the bubbling molasses while the other readies the pans. Don't be tempted to eat the snow, which may contain pollutants.

(Warning: This candy can get VERY HOT and can burn; always cook with a grown up!)

For 3/4 pound of candy you will need:
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup brown sugar
4 9-inch pie pans
2-quart saucepan with lip
6-ounce glass
a heatproof pitcher
fresh snow

Fill the pans with fresh snow, then set outside in snow to chill when you start cooking.

Combine molasses and brown sugar in the saucepan (don't use a smaller one; candy needs to boil up) and bring to a boil. On medium heat continue to cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

After 5 minutes begin testing the syrup by dripping some from a spoon into a glass of cold water. The drops may dissolve and make the water cloudy, or they may form soft balls. Using clean water each time, repeat test every few minutes until a sample forms a firm ball in the water. Remove from heat. Pour half the hot candy into the pitcher so two people can pour two portions.

Fetch the pans of snow. Working rapidly, pour hot syrup onto cold surfaces. When the candy has hardened break it into bite-size pieces, setting aside two for the cooks.

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