Sunday, May 9, 2010

Molasses Candy

I've finally had a moment's peace to try out a recipe for molasses candy inspired by the book The Ninth Daughter. The fictional Abigail Adams has had a trying morning, but must stop at the market to procure the family dinner.

"[Abigail] borrowed a market basket from one of the farm wives ... and filled it with squash and corn and beans, pears and the best of the available remaining pumpkins, two chickens, and a lobster. She also paid a farthing for molasses candy..."

I chose a recipe which appeared in a magazine called Arthur's Home Magazine, Volume 43, published in 1875, and mercifully required no pulling.

The final product was somewhat soft and sticky. Like a very soft caramel or taffy. The addition of vinegar was a definite asset, and the overall flavor was rich without being sickly sweet. My notes are in italics.

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
Butter a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer and stir until very thick. This took about 20 minutes, and a candy thermometer measured 250˚. Turn out into jelly roll pan.

Cool and cut into squares.  This turned out too soft to cut into squares. Instead, when cool, I scored the candy lengthwise, then cut into strips. Roll the strips up and place on a plate. Foil candy wrappers would be excellent here.

This candy did not do well at room temperature. I stored it in the fridge. Let it warm up a bit before eating, or you can microwave it for 15 seconds to soften it quickly.

As you enjoy a gooey piece of molasses candy, imagine being a child in colonial America, where treats were rare.

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