Daily Archives: November 8, 2006

How to Prevent Hairs in the Christmas-Gift Toffee

Thanks to bordermama for this post, reminding me to put a pastry brush on my Target list.  I need to get one of those silicone kinds:

I wouldn’t even need a pasty brush, if my original mass-Christmas-gift-plan had worked out.  But, I ruined 12 jars of prickly pear cactus jelly by cooking it too long, turning its supposed-to-be gem-like brilliant red-purple color into honey-brown.  (I’m going for the record on how many hyphens I can fit into one sentence.  😀 )  I do have more juice frozen, but it’s only enough to make 12-15 jars.  Not enough.  And, on our last trip out to the desert, this last Friday, I saw that the prickly pear cacti are now passed their fruiting season, or whatever it’s called.  Aargh.

Vainglory, indeed.  I think it’s mostly a blow to my pride that I won’t be able to hand out beautiful red jars of jelly, labelled “Wild Harvested Prickly Pear Jelly.” 

So, instead, I had decided that I would go back to my candy-making ways, and do toffee and peanut brittle and truffles.  Last time I made candy, two years ago, I figured out that it was a LOT easier to do so in one gigantic batch than in several small, warped jelly roll pans:  I put down several layers of newspaper on my kitchen island, then topped it with a gigantic “pan” of Reynold’s non-stick foil that I had made by folding sections together, then folding up the edges.  BUT, after the candy had been handed out, much to my chagrin, I discovered that my pastry brush, used to spread melted chocolate over both sides of the toffee, was far past its useful prime, and had shed hairs in the hardening chocolate.  Cringerific!!

So, again, thanks to bordermama.  After reading her post about finally remembering to buy a candy thermometer for her toffee, I hopped up and added “silicone pastry brush” to my Target list.  No hairs this year. 

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