Sweet Thing

Do you like sweets? I love sweets. And chocolate. Have you noticed that your favourite brands just don’t taste the same as they used to? That the confectionery you loved disappeared, to be replaced by cheaper alternatives (coffee creams, rose and violet, fondant mice). A box of Roses, when I was a child, had a coffee cream AND a black cherry fondant. Now, and it seems to be the same for all brands, you just get a variety of cheap caramel fillings covered in a chocolate flavoured layer of sweet fat. I also remember when you could get two sweets for a penny (sigh).

If you enjoy quality confectionery, these days you need to be prepared to pay large sums of money. If the sugar tax proponents get their way, even more money; worryingly, some sweets (Palma Violets for example) could disappear altogether, and life as we know it will cease to be. I like sweets.Fear not, sweet making isn’t just for a certain type of ‘yummy mummy’, who insists on giving everyone homemade gifts for Christmas (sorry for the stereotype). In fact, making truffles at home, with supermarket brand chocolate, tastes every bit as good as the expensive stuff, which was a bit of a surprise to this chocolate snob.

Let’s get on with it then…

Sweet Things by Annie Rigg. Kyle Books, 2013

“chocolates, candies, caramels & marshmallows – to make & give”

So why did you buy it?

Did I mention liking sweets?

Judge a book by it’s cover…

Very chic colour scheme, attractive and stylish.

Do you use it?

Yes. Not all the time, but that’s because I’m fully capable of eating an entire batch of truffles.

What did you make?

I usually make truffles and marshmallows, so I wanted to try something a bit different. I chose fruit jellies, chocolate salami and candied almonds. All turned out well, tastewise at any rate. I love Rococo’s Burnt Almonds, the candied almonds tasted just the same, but weren’t quite as pretty! www.rococochocolates.com

Is it still in print?

Yes.

Is it worth buying?

If you like making sweets or want to give it a go, then yes, this is the book for you. The recipes are clear and understandable and ingredients easy to source. You can make sweets without a sugar thermometer, but its much easier if you have one; they don’t cost that much. I would also recommend buying an electronic probe thermometer for tempering chocolate. Definitely try the salted caramel truffles!

Coffee creams are the best, true story.

Sweets for my sweet

Buttered Crumbs has been married for twenty years now, which these day’s is a very long time indeed. Normally I demand a large box of expensive chocolates. Last summer we went to the Festival of chocolate in Oxford, it was a lot of fun, we sampled lots of treats, attended an informative talk on chocolate tasting and got free canvas tote bags (yay freebies!) BUT, many of the super expensive,boutique and fancy chocolates were just a bit dull! Expensive and fancy ought to taste extra good right?

Small boy was greatly inspired and added Chocolatier to his list of future careers (along with artist, author, playwright, games developer and youtube sensation) We made basic truffles at home using supermarket “discount brand” chocolate, and do you know what? They were really good, seriously you could not taste the difference between those and the truffles that retail at £8.00 per 100g, the only difference was that ours looked like a monkey had made them.

Moving on; I decided at the last minute to make a home made sweet selection for everyone, presented in decorative boxes from T K Maxx. I even printed some little information cards like you get in a real selection box. They seemed to be well received. Coconut ice was the simplest to make, truffles are easy but messy. Turkish delight takes a lot of organization skills and strong arms, also it’s hard to stop it going weirdly lumpy.

chocboxThe sea salt caramel truffles were to die for, every bit as good as the ones I’ve been buying from a certain luxury chocolate maker. I hate making caramel though, it always takes a few attempts to get it right, I’m going to work on the recipe a bit to see if there is an easier way to do it, if there is, I will let you know.

On the whole, making sweeties was easier than I thought it might be, you do need a sugar thermometer for the best results.