Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chewy candies bursting with fruity flavor!

We were out and about in St. Paul today and had to run some errands afterwards, so no treat baking for us today. However, earlier this week, I wanted to send in an extra treat that was a little more unique and unexpected for Jeff to share with his co-workers.

These Cranberry-Raspberry Jellies were definitely a task and required lots of downtime, so we spread the process out over a couple days. Back in September, Mom brought us up a basket of goodies from the farm - one of the items not shown was a few bags of freshly picked sweet raspberries! I've been hoarding them in the freezer, but we finally decided to pull them out for these fun squishy candies.

To get a very intense cranberry-raspberry flavor, we used a cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, in addition to the frozen, but thawed, raspberries and cranberries. While a little of the juice is used to bloom a few tablespoons of gelatin, the remainder is combined with the fruit, fresh lemon zest, juice and granulated sugar. This thick mixture boils and bubbles away slowly to extract as much flavor as possible and until a candy thermometer registers firm ball stage (about 244 degrees).

Once we reached that magical number, we removed the syrup-y mixture from the heat and stirred in the bloomed gelatin. At this point, you need to move with a little more vigor as it starts to set somewhat quickly. So the end candy is silky smooth, all of the skins and seeds need to be remove - this is accomplished by straining the mixture through a fine sieve. Use a sturdy wooden spoon to carefully mash as much of the hot sticky liquid as you can out of the two berries - the resulting mixture is then poured into a baking pan to set. After a few hours at room temperature, the jelly needs to chill in the refrigerator which will make cutting them a little easier.

While the jelly is firm and set, it is still very s-t-i-c-k-y, so you need to make sure your cutting surface is generously dusted with granulated sugar and your knife is lightly oiled between cuts - just be patient and take your time. Once cut into small squares, all cut surfaces are coated with sugar and are left to dry at room temperature for a few more hours. The texture of the finish candy is soft and very chewy - the first description that came to my mind was a gumdrop that had an intense fruity flavor you might find in a jolly rancher. I was a little nervous that the sugar on the outside would push the sweetness of them over the edge, but it did not at all - they were sweet yes, yet because the cranberries are quite tart, the jellies had a nice balance to them. Fun, different and worth the effort!


13 comments:

  1. Oh, my...those look really good! Hmmm...I'm always buying those big gum drops in raspberry flavor...these seem to be the same thing...and I can make them myself!

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  2. What a perfect looking chewy candy!

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  3. Wow! You put so much effort into your treats--they are so impressive!

    Running errands today sure felt good in our "heat wave," didn't it?!

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  4. Sara - Yep! They are not difficult, they just take a bit of time and patience!

    Jep - Thank you!

    Courtney - I wish... it still seems very cold to me! The sun did feel good though.

    Tiny Morsels - Thanks!

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  5. Send a box home, my son will eat those in no time. They look so good.

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  6. These look fantastic! They are so pretty, I would feel bad about eating them...but, I'm sure I could quickly get over that, great blog!

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  7. You are quite brave! I've never really worked up the patience (or dexterity) required for candy-making.

    Thus, any recipient would undoubtedly feel blessed with these jewel-coloured beauts.

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  8. Helene - Thanks!

    Madeline - hee hee... yes, the taste makes the guilt go away quite fast!

    Shelley - Candy making can look a little daunting, but it really is fun and not too difficult!

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  9. Gotta love Turkish Delight.

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  10. I cannot wait to make these treats, but I don't have a dutch pot, can I use a regular boiling pot?

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  11. Monica - as long as the pan is big enough and has a thick bottom, go ahead!

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