Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted – sorry about that! Things have been utterly insane around here.
We’re still working on tornado repairs. We got our walnut back from the mill, and are about to start working on building kitchen cabinet doors, etc. Exciting – I can’t wait to see it finished – and to BE done!
In addition to that, yesterday we had the release of my first sewing manual in over a decade: “Spandex Simplified: Synchro Swimwear“. It’s been really amazing to see the evolution of this (and my other!) sewing manual. What started out as scrawled notes in a booklet and a black/white photocopied amateur publishing job over a decade ago is now a full color, photographic, professionally printed book. Love it!
No real time to breathe, though, as my next one – “Spandex Simplified: Sewing for Skaters” is coming up quickly, with a release date in just one month!
|Anyway, taking a moment to post a great recipe for you. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the crummy things about being an immigrant is the difficulty in obtaining a lot of the “homeland” foodstuffs that we love and miss. My homeland, Canada, in particular, has some really great candy bars. Mr Big, Sweet Marie, Wunderbar, Eat-More, Coffee Crisp, Crispy Crunch – Sigh! I’m not even much of a chocolate person, and I’ll find myself craving em from time to time.
So, of course – I’m in the process of creating make-at-home versions of each. Well, when I have a minute, here and there! My next goal is a replica Eat-More bar, which I should have time to look at in late September. Ouch. Anyway, here’s my recipe for homemade Crunchie bars – a bar popular not only in Canada, but in Great Britain and other countries. This is a chocolate coated sponge toffee, and has been a favorite of mine since I was a young kid. Enjoy!
Homemade Crunchie Bars Recipe
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
2-4 cups chopped chocolate of your choice. (I prefer milk chocolate for this)
Prepare a 9″ x 13″ cake pan with nonstick spray, or a light coating of vegetable oil or shortening. Set aside.
In a LARGE pot (it will bubble up like mad as it cooks!), stir together sugar, corn syrup, and water. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure that it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, and allow to cook until temperature reaches 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). From the time mixture starts boiling to the time it reaches 300F, do not stir.
Once mixture reaches 300F, remove from heat. Add vanilla and baking soda, beating to incorporate. The mixture will start foaming quite a bit when you add the baking soda (chemical reaction!), so using a LONG wooden spoon is a good idea. The sugar will be very hot, and will burn if you get any on your hand as you stir. Be very careful and work FAST. Continue beating the mixture until the foaming starts to slow down.
Dump foaming mixture into greased cake pan, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes.
When the sponge toffee is starting to harden – but is still quite warm – use a serrated knife to score lines, about 1/4″- 1/2″ deep in the warm candy. These will be the shapes of your candy bars – I like to make them about 1.25″ x 3″, or so. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science, and you WILL have breakage in there.
20 minutes later, go back and re-score the lines you already made, gently cutting a little deeper than last time. Allow to cool completely.
Once toffee is cooled all the way through, remove from pan and gently snap along your score lines. If you don’t plan to dip them right away, be sure to store toffee in an airtight container – the sugar will attract water from the air, and the toffee can go soggy.
In a large bowl, carefully melt your chocolate using whatever method you prefer. I like to use a glass bowl, nuking for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, many swear by a double boiler. So long as you don’t scorch it, it’s all good.
Using a fondue fork, candy dipping utensil, or (Clean!) fingers, gently dip each piece of sponge toffee, swirling around to coat fully. Allow excess chocolate to drip off before placing each piece on wax paper, parchment, or foil to harden.