Fruit canes, striped or plain.
These candy canes get their fresh fruit flavor and color from concentrated fruit purees or juice. They are attractive plain, but if you prefer them striped, follow the sequence pictured on pages 80 and 81.
To make the color concentrates (they can be made days ahead), boil fruit puree or fruit juice to greatly reduce its volume. Of the many fruits that we tried, the following worked well. (Many fruits scorch and lose their color and flavor at the high heat required for making taffy.)
For intense colors, start with frozen raspberries or blackberries or cranberry juice cocktail. Canned drinks of peach, guava, and passion fruit reduce to make delicate shades. You can also use pomegranate concentrate; it's sold in some stores.
Fruit Taffy Canes
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup Water
1/2 cup fruit concentrate (directions follow)
Butter or margarine
In a 1 1/2-to 2-quart pan, combine sugar, syrup, and 2 tablespoons water. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a rolling boil over high heat. Position a thermometer in the boiling syrup and cook, without stirring, until candy reaches 310| to 315|; this takes about 5 minutes.
As the syrup cooks, wash off spatters of syrup as they accumulate inside the pan, using a stiff brush dipped frequently in water; if crystalline bits of sugar are not washed away, the taffy may harden before it is pulled.
At once add fruit concentrate; if using a metal-mounted thermometer, use it to mix concentrate thoroughly into the bubbly syrup (if thermometer is removed and allowed to cool slightly, it will not respond quickly enough when returned to pan). Stir constantly until temperature returns to 270|. If using a glass thermometer, leave it in pan but stir syrup with a spoon.
Immediately, pour hot syrup onto a well-buttered 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan. With a buttered wide spatula, push syrup from one side of pan to the other (butter exposed pan and spatula often to reduce sticking) until taffy is cool enough to handle quickly, but still hot.
Coat hands with butter. Working quickly, pull and stretch taffy until it begins to turn opaque, lighter in color, and stiffer but still malleable; at this point, it should be cool enough for children to handle.
Divide taffy into 4 equal portions, cutting with buttered scissors. To keep taffy malleable, put pieces well apart on a freshly buttered pan and put in a 150| oven up to 1 hour (taffy will flatten as it rests).
To make plain canes, pull a portion of taffy at a time until it turns opaque and satiny. Then, pulling and squeezing, shape taffy into a rope that is the thickness you want. You have to work fast; the taffy is easiest to manage if you work in a warm part of the kitchen.
Cut taffy rope into desired lengths with buttered scissors. Leave ropes plain or twist for a textured finihs; curve tips to make canes, if desired. (To make striped fruit taffy canes, see page 80.)
Put canes flat in a single layer on buttered pans and chill until hard. Serve; or wrap individually, airtight, in plastic wrap or small plastic bags. Refrigerate or freeze up to 4 month; on longer standing, the canes may become crumbly or sticky.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 pounds taffy, or about 2 dozen 10-inch canes.
Fruit concentrates. Choose from the following fruit for the color you want. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, boil the fruit puree or juice on medium heat, uncovered, until it is reduced to 1/2 cup; stir occasionally. Use hot or cool; to store, cover and refrigerate as long as 3 days, or freeze.
Red. Thaw 1 bag (12 oz.) frozen raspberries with sugar. Puree fruit and juices in blender or food processor; rub through a fine wire strainer and discard seeds.
Bright pink. Use 3 cups cranberry juice cocktail.
Pale orange. Use 2 cans (12 oz. each) peach nectar, guava nectar, or passion fruit drink.
Burgundy. Thaw 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen unsweetened blackberries. Puree fruit and juices in a blender or food processor; rub through a fine wire strainer and discard the seeds.
Toast. Use 1/2 cup bottled pomegranate concentrate. Do not cook; add directly to hot taffy syrup.
Photo: Tuck individually wrapped fruit canes into Christmas stockings--or pass them around as tasty treats
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|Date:||Dec 1, 1984|
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