Yield: 30 diamonds
HOLIDAY: New Year's
TYPE: Poured candy
HABITAT: Russian Georgia
DESCRIPTION: This is a type of nut brittle, featuring mostly honey, with a little bit of sugar as well. Walnuts are traditional, but you could try pecans, if you like. These are sticky and very sweet.
FIELD NOTES: My friends Pam and Jeff Rys have beehives and cultivate honey. There is nothing like raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized honey for its flavor and health benefits, and since I have access to the best, it is what I always use. In candy making, you can get very different results with raw versus processed honey. Therefore, I suggest you use raw, which is readily available in supermarkets. Also, after you chop the nuts, place them in a strainer and shake out and discard any powdery residue. Warning: These are very sticky. The technique of rinsing the wooden board with cold water is often used with very sticky candies. Be patient when you are removing and cutting them; they will come loose eventually.
LIFESPAN: 1 week at room temperature in airtight container.
1 cup honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2-1/4 cups toasted walnut halves, finely chopped
30 small square candy wrappers or cellophane
1. Rinse a clean, large wooden board with cold water. Allow water droplets to remain on board.
2. Stir honey and sugar together in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 220 degrees F.; do not burn. Stir in nuts and continue to cook until it reaches 240 degrees F. (soft-ball stage) or until golden, which will likely be less than 10 minutes.
3. Scrape mixture onto prepared board. Rinse fingers in cold water and press the mixture out to a flat even layer (about l/2 inch thick); be careful, as candy will be hot.
4. Let candy sit at cool room temperature until cooled and set, about 2 hours.
5. Cut into diamond shapes with a sharp knife dipped in water to help prevent sticking. Pick up individual candies with an offset spatula. Wrap individually in candy wrappers.
Make sure your wooden board does not smell like onions or your candy will pick up the flavors! You could try making these by spreading the mixture on a rinsed jelly-roll pan, but I found that the candy sticks to metal even more than to wood.
A Baker's Field Guide to
Holiday Candy & Confections
by Dede Wilson
Harvard Common Press
$16.95 U.S.; $21.95 CAN
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created December 2005
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