It's that time of year when I start to feel the longing for the loveliness of spring and long warm days of summer. That my garden is now full of snow drops is helping me along. I chose the theme for this month's party with this in mind, and hoping to get and share inspiration with my fellow herbal bloggers on how herbs can help us in this seasonal transition.
I decided to make a fun recipe and made my first foray into sweet making. With a fairly large helping of beginner's luck, I'm pretty pleased with the result (and the journey was sticky, sweet, herby fun! :)
My recipe is based on a recipe by Kolbjorn Borseth at Aromantic who uses a base mixture of:
- 100ml water
- 450g sugar
- 125g dextrose (which I managed to get from an old-fashioned chemist)
Earlier, the lady at the cook shop in town recommended I use a Bake-o-glide reusable sheet for sweet making, and I think it would of been much more difficult without this. You can see it below, it allowed me to easily peel the mixture off and keeping folding it in as it cooled.
Once the liquid cools enough to start forming a skin, I added a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of echinacea and ginseng (50:50). The original recipe suggested it would be 1-2 minutes after pouring the liquid out, but I found that the mixture cooled more slowly and it was more like 5 minutes. As it cooled I continued folding it in and kneading the mixture, using the sheet to avoid burnt fingers!
Once it formed a dough-like mass I start pulling pieces off and rolling them into balls, and placing them on a greased baking tray to cool. And this is where the race begins to making your sweets before the mixture cools and solidifies! I ended up working on the pull down door of my oven with the temperature on very low. This helped keep it just warm enough to work with.
I've called these sweets "Spring Zingers"! :) It will be fun to do variations with different juices and tinctures - next time I will make the initial infusion even stronger, because by the time its all mixed in the chilli and ginger are only very faint.
The only problem with these sweets is that they do stick together very easily. I rolled them in a little icing sugar and put them in little plastic bags which makes it easier to separate them (I initially put some in a jar which looked great until, a few hours later they had formed one immovable mass!). Any tips from sweet makers out there would be welcome! I wonder if I should have reduced the 100ml of liquid by the 2 tablespoons I later added to the mix...
I enjoyed making these sweets and plan to give them as springtime presents for family and friends. :-)
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