Folks, the equation is simple.
Sugar + Equal Amount of Water + Heat = Candy
Yup. With no flavoring though, you might as well suck on a sugar cube.
The first time I made this recipe, I gave it as a gift, which was brave considering I had no idea what they would taste like, if they would ship well, or hell, even if they would pack and store well. They didn’t, by the way. Because the majority of sugar in AB’s recipe was honey, it still didn’t quite set at hard crack stage, and actually ended up chipping the tooth of a friend who tried to chew on it (whoops! Her dad’s a dentist though, so it turned out to be OK).
Then, shortly after my mom requested the recipe, I came across this Instructable…And I was so angry with Mr. Brown.
You see, his instructions at the end said to spoon teaspoons of the liquid candy onto parchment paper. They looked fine in his pictures; in my kitchen, not so much. And on top of that it was counter to EVERYTHING I had ever learned from him – there might be a process, but if there’s an easy way with the same resulting taste go that route.
Oh, AB. How could you let me down like this?
Needless to say, this new method not only is much easier in terms of portioning out the candy, but also in storing it. I love simple solutions, but this one has made me call my favorite TV chef into question.
Lemon Ginger Lozenges
2 c. water
4 tea bags (doesn’t have to be Lemon Ginger, just pick a good flavor of good tea)
2 c. sugar – I used 1 c. turbinado and 1 c. honey
Zest of 1 lemon
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a high sided sauce pan and steep the tea bags for about 15-20 minutes.
- Add sugar and turn the stove back on medium low heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, occasionally washing the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
- The mixture needs to read the hard crack stage without the sugar burning, which is between 300 & 310 degrees. Grab a book, this is going to take forever, but keep a watchful eye on your stove.
- Before the mixture reaches 310, prepare your candy mold! Oh my, you don’t have one? Me neither. Here’s the handy trick I was talking about. Get out a pie pan, or a cake pan, or a casserole pan…any shallow-ish pan with sides. Put some powdered sugar in it, enough to make indentations in, about a half inch to an inch oughta do it. Then, get out some sort of roundish bottomed thing (like a food coloring bottle, or a glass tube that your vanilla beans came in)…are you seeing where I’m going with this?instant candy mold
- Go around the pan, making indentations in the sugar, making sure they’re about 1/4 inch apart. I needed 2 pie pans for the amount of candy I made.
- When the mixture reaches hard crack stage, remove from heat and add the lemon zest, stirring just to combine.
- Pour mixture over the mold slowly and watch the magic happen.
- Allow mixture to cool and harden, about one hour. Toss the candies with the powdered sugar in the pans, making sure each one is coated thoroughly. Sift the excess sugar off the candies (or not), and store in a container of your choosing.
HOW EASY WAS THAT? No parchment paper, no sticky teaspoon… Alton Brown, why, oh why, did I have to see this on Instructables and not in your book with your recipe? As I type this I’m finding it very hard not to use caps and unnecessary punctuation. I am that upset about it.
That being said, I think this would also be good with lemon extract , cinnamon, or any number of flavor combinations. Just be sure to add them at the end right before pouring into your nifty molds. Here are some suggestions:
Lemon + Ginger – I would actually add some grated ginger to these next time, as the tea didn’t really carry the ginger flavor through all that well.
Cinnamon + Chai
Ginger + Peach
Black Tea + Lemon
Green Tea + Lemon
Green Tea + Orange
Black Tea + Orange
Mint + Raspberry (think fresh mint and raspberry extract…mmm)
The possibilities really are endless.
Oh and here’s a tip for the dish-doers in the bunch: To clean, fill the pot with water and bring to boil.
Happy Valentine’s Day!