Scrooge’s Christmas Humbugs: Mint Hard Candies

Posted December 25, 2014 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in A Christmas Carol (Dec. 2014) / 1 Comment


Given the classic Victorian theme of our menu thus far, you might have been expecting Christmas pudding for dessert, and I’ll admit I considered it. However, I couldn’t get Scrooge’s favorite exclamation off my mind. I knew I’d probably have many opportunities to make Christmas pudding on the site, but how many books can claim a connection to humbug candies?

It was my first time making hard candy, so I was a little nervous. Luckily, this recipe (which is actually from Harry Potter) is pretty easy—a huge relief for a novice like me!

Scrooge’s Christmas Humbugs

“‘A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!’ cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.
‘Bah!’ said Scrooge, ‘Humbug!’”
— A Christmas Carol

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp mint or peppermint extract (I used mint)
  • 5 drops gel food coloring of your choice (I used pastel green)
  • you will also need a candy thermometer and a pair of clean rubber gloves

 

Makes approximately 12 candies

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Liberally spray an 8″ bread pan with cooking oil and set aside. Add the water, sugar, and cream of tartar to a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Stirring constantly, cook the ingredients over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mix begins to boil.

    If sugar crystals begin to form on the side, you can dissolve them with a pastry brush dipped in water.
  3. After inserting a candy thermometer into the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the mixture reaches 260° exactly, turn off the heat and stir in the food coloring and extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread pan.

    It will have thickened slightly.
  5.  Let the mixture rest for 3.5-4 minutes.

    This part is a pretty exact science. If you let it rest any less, it will just be a stringy mess when you try to pick it up; any longer, and it will start to harden in the pan.
  6. Put on your rubber gloves and spray them with cooking oil. Pick up the candy and work it into a rope shape by pulling, twisting, and folding it over itself repeatedly. It will be a little difficult at first, since the hot candy will want to ooze through your fingers. As you work with it, it will begin to toughen up and cool. In fact, I was able to remove my gloves about halfway through. It will also begin to change color, going from translucent and dark to opaque and lighter.

    It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but it also developed a fun, opalescent sheen.
  7. When the candy starts to become too stiff to work with, lay the rope on a sheet of wax paper. Spray the blade of some kitchen scissors with cooking oil.
  8. What you do next depends on what shape you want your candies to have. You can pull the rope thin and snip straight pieces, or you can take it a step further and quickly roll the straight pieces into little balls. I wanted mine to have a twisted shape, so I used the following technique:

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  9. Allow the candies to cool completely on the wax paper, being careful not to let them touch each other (if they touch, they’ll stick together). This should only take 5-10 minutes.
  10. Wrap the candies in squares of wax paper and store in a cool, dry place.

    I’ve been told they full recrystallize after 2-3 days, but mine were gone by that point.
  11. Serve to anyone who needs a little extra Christmas cheer in their life. 🙂

    I love how each of the pieces has a one-of-a-kind shape, but the flavor was by far my favorite aspect of these humbugs. By using regular mint extract instead of peppermint extract, they had a sweet, lightly minted, almost creamy flavor. If I’d gone with the traditional peppermint flavor, they probably would have tasted more like breath mints. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I like the unique flavor profile the regular mint gives them.

 

 

http://wonderlandrecipes.com/wp-content/themes/tweakme2/assets/images/dividers/9.png

 

 

Here’s the Yummly printable!

Scrooge’s Christmas Humbugs: Mint Hard Candies

Makes approximately 12 candies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp mint or peppermint extract (I used mint)
  • 5 drops gel food coloring of your choice (I used pastel green)
  • you will also need a candy thermometer and a pair of clean rubber gloves

Instructions

  1. Liberally spray an 8" bread pan with cooking oil and set aside. Add the water, sugar, and cream of tartar to a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Stirring constantly, cook the ingredients over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mix begins to boil.
  3. After inserting a candy thermometer into the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the mixture reaches 260° exactly, turn off the heat and stir in the food coloring and extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread pan.
  5. Let the mixture rest for 3.5-4 minutes.
  6. Put on your rubber gloves and spray them with cooking oil. Pick up the candy and work it into a rope shape by pulling, twisting, and folding it over itself repeatedly. It will be a little difficult at first, since the hot candy will want to ooze through your fingers. As you work with it, it will begin to toughen up and cool. In fact, I was able to remove my gloves about halfway through. It will also begin to change color, going from translucent and dark to opaque and lighter.
  7. When the candy starts to become too stiff to work with, lay the rope on a sheet of wax paper. Spray the blade of some kitchen scissors with cooking oil.
  8. What you do next depends on what shape you want your candies to have. You can pull the rope thin and snip straight pieces, or you can take it a step further and quickly roll the straight pieces into little balls. I wanted mine to have a twisted shape, so I twisted the rope several times and cut it into pieces.
  9. Allow the candies to cool completely on the wax paper, being careful not to let them touch each other (if they touch, they'll stick together). This should only take 5-10 minutes.
  10. Wrap the candies in squares of wax paper and store in a cool, dry place.
  11. erve to anyone who needs a little extra Christmas cheer in their life.
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