With a site named Dangerous Cupcakes, it’s no secret we like sweets. While cupcakes are obviously our inspiration, we like to bake and mix and experiment, so candy is right down our alley. All things in moderation…unless it’s cooked celery or cooked peanuts, those things are always a no.
My disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for the purposes of a review but the opinions are photos are my own.
Brittles, caramels, chocolates, fudge, truffles & so much more…that’s the cover tagline of the book, 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock and published by Robert Rose Publishing. One quick glance at the Table of Contents and you’ll see that if there’s a type of candy out there, it’s in this book. The TOC is broken down into categories, and if you need to know further specifics on inclusion, the Index is very thorough.
From the beginning of the book, you’ll find that making candy isn’t out of your reach, even if you’re a novice. The book has a list of Basic Things to Know, and also covers levels of candy making, common problems and equipment. A favorite page for me is Duplicating Lost Recipes, which goes over a lot of ways that you can recreate something that you may have enjoyed as a child or a recipe you had at a party. By asking you some simple questions, and then directing you to the Science of Candy Making section, you’re on your way to eating something you may not be able to find anywhere else.
I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to make first, but ended up deciding on Candied Grapefruit Peel. Odd choice, right? I chose it because I remember having it many years ago, when I was young, and liking the sweet-tart flavor and consistency, but moreso I wanted to use it as the topping on a grapefruit cupcake with citron frosting.
Those slices then went into the sugar syrup, after boiling the water with the peel and dumping, several times over, to make the peel flexible and remove the bitterness.
Aren’t they pretty? This was a first for me and it was a lot of fun, albeit a weird choice for a first recipe to make.
Isn’t it pretty? So pink-orange, so colorful and a sweet but very puckery tart flavor. Quite a different treat!
Each recipe in the book is very thorough, one recipe per page usually though there were a few two per page when the recipes were small. The ingredients are listed in both U.S. standard measurement and metric measurement, with a little note about it, cook’s notes, a skill level (explained in the front of the book) and the steps, as well as any important necessary tips. There aren’t many pictures, which I know a lot of people like, but there are several sections of photo pages. With this many recipes, the photos alone would have made the book huge! I’m happy with the size, as it fits easily on my shelf amongst other similar books and doesn’t take up too much space…and this is definitely something to think about if you collect cookbooks like me!
The author, Jane Sharrock, is a third-generation candy maker who grew up surrounded by good cooks, great food and delicious homemade candies. What a wonderful way to grow up, right?