Feeding A Family On A Budget: Homemade Candy

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My love of candy

I must confess, I love candy! I love everything about candy. Everything from the whimsical colors to the interesting flavors. Like many kids of my generation, I read Charlie and the Chocolate factory and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Family. I would of think of how cool it could be to have my own chocolate factory and team of umpa lumbas.

My mother also had a hand in my love of candy. She was a single mother raising two young girls on an extremely limited budget. She never wanted us to go with out or ever feel less fortunate. She also didn't want her sweet angels( ok maybe I'm stretching the sweet angel part) consuming prepackaged foods. My sister and I always had home cooked meals and treats while my friends were scarfing down lunchables and kid cuisines. I only remember having store bought candy during Christmas, when santa would fill my stocking, and halloween.

I loved it! I would sit at our family table making candies with my mom and sister. I would sit swing my legs singing " The candyman can cuz he sprinkles it with love makes the world taste good". It's one of my fondest memories.

Like I said, I love candy. I think its healthy for kids to occasionaly get hyped up on sugar and bounce are like a bunch of superballs. But like my mom, avoid feeding my little munchkins pre-packaged foods. I also like to live my life on a budget. I like to always keep my pantry stocked with a few essential items that make it possible to concoct a delicious meal at any time.

I recommend all parents to have fun making taffy or lollipops with their kids. For several reasons

1) You will have a tons of candy for a fairly low cost

2) It will be wholesome fun for the entire family

3) Most importantly, your kids will think you are totally awesome.

Candy Apples

  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon flavoring
  • 1 tsp red food coloring (optional)
  • 6 medium-large apples or 12 small apples

Salt Water Taffy

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp flavoring, ( I like to use various flavorings)
  • 1/8 teaspoon bakin soda
  • Food coloring

Instructions

  1. Carefully wash the apple to remove and wax or dirt. Dry them completely. Place sticks into the apples
  2. Add all ingredients except flavoring and coloring to sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Heat mixture to about 250-255 degrees on your candy thermometer
  3. Remove from heat. Add coloring and flavoring. Mix well
  4. Carefully dip apples into syrup.
  5. Allow some excess to drip off. Place apples on to a pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Allow to cool and enjoy

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients minus the food coloring and flavoring into a pan. You may add all ingredients if you are using one color and one flavor.
  2. Heat mixture to around 255-260 degrees according to your candy thermometer. You can test the syrup to see if it is ready by placing a single drop into cold water. The syrup should form into a ball that is slightly pliable.
  3. Place the syrup into a greased pan to cool
  4. Once they syrup has cooled to the point it is save to touch divided into equal sections for each family member.
  5. Ad a few drops of food coloring and flavoring to the candy. With slightly oiled hand begin to stretch and pull the taffy. Continue kneading and pulling the taffy to incorporate air into the candy. This will make the taffy light and easier to eat.
  6. Once the taffy has lightened in color, cut into bit size pieces. the wrap in small squares of wax paper.

Pecan Caramel

  • 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tsp light corn syrup
  • 3 tsp dark corn syrup
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • Handful of nuts ( I prefer pecans)

Instructions

  1. Crush the nuts and place to the side
  2. Place parchment paper in pan. Spray paper with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Heat cream, sugar, syrup and butter in a sauce pan. Heat until it reaches 250 degrees
  4. Mix half of the nuts into syrup
  5. Pour syrup into the pan and sprinkle remaining nuts over the top. Allow to cool.
  6. Cut into bite size pieces and serve.

Lollipops

  • 1 packet of Kool-aid
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tbs. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place lollipop sticks on pan.
  3. Mix ingredients in saucepan. Heat to 300 degrees on your candy thermometer
  4. Quickly and carefully spoon syrup on to pan.
  5. Allow to cool for 20 minutes until hard and no longer tacky.

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