Author: Jane Sharrock
Publisher: Robert Rose (2014)
Depending on your age, the sight of candies in bulk bins will evoke memories of the “penny”, “nickel” or “dime” sweets that used to be available in every corner store. If you were lucky, the proprietor of the shop also might have homemade (or at the least, locally made) fudge, caramels or candy apples for sale up at the front, priced higher than the standard confectionary but still affordable to those with allowance money in their pockets. Even now, in the bubble-wrap age where bulk candy is just short of taboo, it’s hard to find a kid (or kid at heart) who would turn down a sweet treat. Of course, there’s nothing like homemade goodies adorning any sweet platter, and Jane Sharrock makes it easy to tempt the palate with her book 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes: Brittles, Caramels, Chocolate, Fudge, Truffles and So Much More.
One needs to only peek at the first pages of Homemade Candy to find that pretty much any type of candy you can think of fits somewhere into this book there’s a type of candy out there, it’s in this book. Categories range from Heirloom Candies (Old-Fashioned Cooked Candies, Brittles, Toffees, Old-Fashioned Hard Candies, Caramels, Clusters, Patties and Pralines, Divinities, Nougats and Similar Candies and Old-Fashioned Candy Rolls) to Designer Delights (Balls and Shaped Candies, Chocolate-Coated Candies, Fondants), Farmhouse Favourites and a chapter titled Short and Sweet, comprised of barks, rolls, and quick candies. Photos are few, but are enticing and the descriptions and anecdotes accompanying each recipe more so.
I couldn’t wait to get on trying recipes from this book, and not a single one yet has disappointed, even when I slightly modified ingredients to use what I had at home. The Sour Cream Candy (p. 41) was particularly divine to my friends and family, who loved the extra tang the Greek yoghurt I used instead gave to the dark brown sugar mixture. Being whipped thoroughly turned the caramel-like combination into light-as-air, melt in your mouth fudge that nobody could believe only had two tablespoons of butter inside. The billing of the Prizewinning Pralines (p. 64) as being creamier than traditional ones was dead-on – so much so that unfortunately some began falling apart into delectable shards as I was packing them up, not having completely set. The last tray that I poured did, however, stay together more readily, although every morsel left a slight slick of oil on the hands of indulgers. Next time, I would probably combine this recipe with the Texas Pralines (p. 64), using buttermilk and two tablespoons of butter rather than the 1/3 cup. Also on my must-make list are the Sinfully Rich Buttermilk Fudge (p. 152) and the Peanut Cremes (p. 141), which I intend to dress up with dark chocolate and sea salt!
For anyone looking to add a homemade touch to their gifts – be they for Christmas, the Fourth of July or simply just because – you really can’t go wrong with a box of candy. While it can seem intimidating to create sugar showpieces, Jane Sharrock is your long-distance hand holder, storyteller and problem solver with 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes: Brittles, Caramels, Chocolate, Fudge, Truffles and So Much More. As a sweet lover, this is definitely earning a place on my shelf.
Available on Amazon