The Trick To Making Your Own Halloween Candy? Swallowing Your Fear

Candy GIF

Credit: Maggie Kirkland

Candy is not a food famous for a use of rational ingredients. In fact, it hardly qualifies as a food during all. But Jami Curl, a confectioner behind Portland’s Quin candy shop, is perplexing to change that.

In her book, Candy is Magic: Real Ingredients and Modern Recipes, Curl crafts caramels and gumdrops and lollipops out of all from roasted fruit to simmered-down booze to cream infused with creatively popped corn. Because it turns out that — notwithstanding what we competence consider from looking in a Halloween basket — candy can be finished from tangible ingredients.

Candy Is Magic

Candy Is Magic

Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes

by Jami Curl

Hardcover, 303 pages |


But evangelizing homemade candy requires a bit of a open preparation campaign. Not customarily do many people consider we can’t make candy from genuine reduction — they don’t consider a normal chairman can make candy at all.

“I consider it’s frightful to some people, since it’s unequivocally hot, and it involves a thermometer. People don’t wish to do things that are fussy,” observes Curl.

And candy is different from other forms of kitchen magic. Bake a cake a bit too long, or over-salt your soup, and we can still redeem things — trim off a burnt edges and slather on some frosting, or toss in a few handfuls of rice (respectively), and all is redeemed. But move your sugarine to a wrong temperature, and we might be left with caramels that spin to goo, or candies that could mangle your teeth. That mutation can be a bit revengeful and intimidating. But also kind of magical.

“That is a necromancy behind it,” laughs Curl. “You put things in a pot that is a liquid, yet afterwards we make a candy that stands adult on a stick. That is flattering powerful, we have to say. Those things that take a biggest tour are a things people get a many vehement about.”

But, Curl acknowledges, we do have to be careful. “Making candy is all about determining sugar.”

And that control comes down to bringing it to accurate temperatures (thermometers are compulsory for a lot of candy-making), measuring reduction delicately (candy requires accuracy, so squeeze a digital scale), as good as finessing a earthy structure.

“As shortly as we warp it, sugarine wants to spin a crystal,” Curl explains.

Curl’s fruity Dreams Come Chew candies

Maggie Kirkland

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Maggie Kirkland

Curl’s fruity Dreams Come Chew candies

Maggie Kirkland

Remember creation stone candy as a kid? With all those crystals magically “growing” around a fibre from a dissolved sugarine solution? That’s what we’re articulate about. To make certain sugarine doesn’t re-crystalize when we don’t wish it to, we have to be clever about doing it — swirl, don’t stir (which would inspire a sugarine to re-bond to itself). Many candy recipes also use an “interfering agent” that keeps a sugarine from branch behind to a clear — customarily glucose, yet corn syrup can do a pretence in a home kitchen.

This can be a bit intimidating — nobody wants to have a wave in a kitchen. “You have invested your time,” Curl notes, “which is precious for everyone. And afterwards we have invested in ingredients. And afterwards we screw it up. And that fear is what keeps people from experimenting.”

But, Curl stresses, that investigation doesn’t need to be scary. Really, it’s just a recipe.

“All candy starts out a same. You put a sugarine in a pot, and afterwards we warp it. And depending on what temp we prepare it to, it does opposite things. Low feverishness equals soft, chewy candy. If we prepare it to a high temperature, it caramelizes, and gets to a hard-crack stage.”

And, if you’re Curl, we afterwards use that structure of delicately tranquil sugar, and fill it with big, healthy flavors. At Quin, they qualification lollipops finished of fruit and wine, caramels flavored with coffee and popcorn. And, Quin stresses, it’s flattering easy to get a flavors in there. While sugarine that’s taken to a hard-crack theatre (like a lollipop) will bake off a lot of a pointed flavors, for many confections, we can get some extraordinary formula from elementary ingredients.

“In caramel, for example, cream is a unequivocally good car for removing season into a candy. You can flow prohibited cream over popcorn, let it sit, afterwards aria it, and a cream itself tastes like popcorn. And that carries by right until we uncover it,” says Curl.

She uses this same infuse-the-cream technique with all from orange liking to black peppercorns. And fruit — uninformed or solidified — lends a note to all from gumdrops to marshmallows (after a discerning roasting in a oven, to mislay dampness and combine a season and color). Curl still remembers a initial time they succeeded in such a recipe.

“To take blackberries that we’d picked, and in a few hours, get them to mount adult as a lollipop on a hang — it was this other universe for me. we still wholeheartedly trust it’s magic.”

But, Curl, stresses, removing season from all these dishes does not meant you’re finale adult with some arrange of health food. We’re still articulate sugar, after all — it’s still a treat. But there is a space in life for treats. And a provide we can make yourself — from genuine ingredients? That’s also utterly a trick.

Popcorn Caramels

Curl’s Popcorn Caramel

Maggie Kirkland

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Maggie Kirkland

Curl’s Popcorn Caramel

Maggie Kirkland

Makes about 115 caramels if finished in a pan

Without a doubt, this candy combines a span of good flavors: caramelized sugarine and tainted popcorn. The popcorn is introduced into a candy in dual ways. First, a popcorn infused cream that fundamentally tastes like popcorn-flavored milk; and second, a covering of popped corn that’s pulpy directly into a caramel after it’s baked and poured, so that any tiny block of candy is studded with a heart or two. Between a season and a texture, it’s tough to confirm what we like best. When a caramel has set, see pages 164 to 165 for slicing tips, minute instructions, and illustrations.


438 grams glucose syrup

800 grams granulated sugar

265 grams Popcorn Cream (see below)

7 grams kosher salt

18 grams vanilla extract

295 grams unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces

90 grams Every Day, Popcorn (see below)

Lightly butter a 9 by 13 –inch pan. Weigh a glucose syrup directly into a heavy-bottomed pot, afterwards set a pot over medium-high heat. Allow a glucose to comfortable until it liquefies and afterwards starts to bubble. Once a glucose has bubbled a bit in one spot, whirl a pot to discharge a heat. Add a sugar, about one-third during a time, trace it over a glucose syrup. Using a high-heat spatula or wooden spoon, poke (no stirring) a sugarine down into a syrup after any addition. Keep watch to make certain no hulk lumps of dry sugarine sojourn before we supplement a subsequent installment of sugar. If we see lumps, poke them down into a glucose. Once all of a sugarine is combined and has been poked down into a glass so it’s wet, stop poking.

Pour a cream into a tiny saucepan and supplement a salt and vanilla. Stir to mix, afterwards set a vessel over low to middle heat. You’re not looking to boil a cream; a thought is to simply comfortable a reduction so they’re not cold when they go into a prohibited sugar.

Meanwhile, let a glucose and sugarine cook, swirling a pot occasionally, until a reduction is dim amber, or a tone of a copper penny. Time-wise, you’re looking during 13 to 15 mins for a caramel to strech a aim color. At initial a sugarine will spin dim brown, afterwards darker brown. This might occur in spots around a pot, so it’s critical to whirl a pot as a sugarine cooks. Once a sugarine is a uniform color, prepare it for a second or dual longer until we feel good about a color, remembering that we wish it to compare that dim amber target.

Remove a pot from a feverishness and really delicately supplement a warmed cream mixture, immediately followed by a butter. Whisk a candy for 5 minutes, until totally emulsified. This means that a fats have been totally churned into a sugarine with no possibility of separating. The reduction will be homogenized, with no greasy subdivision or pieces of anything burnt floating around.

Pour a caramel into a prepared pan, nudging it into a corners as needed, and concede it to rest for 5 minutes. Shower a popcorn uniformly over a tip (see below) and press down easily to safeguard a good stick. Allow a candy to lay until cooled and set, during slightest 3 hours or preferably adult to overnight, before cutting.

Topping The Caramel

When commanding a chunk of candy with an ingredient, either it’s salt, popcorn, seeds, sprinkles, coconut, or shards of chocolate, it’s critical to showering it from a good height, rather than only an in. or so above a candy. Don’t trust me? Try it. Grab a few fingers full of salt and try to showering them all over something from an in. or so away. See what happens? The salt all ends adult in one vast pile. Now, do it again, yet showering a salt from 18 inches above a surface. This time a salt is distributed many some-more evenly, and you’ve avoided removing too many in any one spot. Knowing how to showering any part is critical since we will be trace it on prohibited candy — and we can’t scold your mistake once a trace is done.

Popcorn Cream

Makes about 270 grams

Probably what we adore a many about popcorn cream is a fact that if we splash it, it tastes like buttered popcorn or a night out during a movies. (But who would splash complicated cream? Anyone? Only me? OK.) You need a food processor for this recipe, and a play and a blade of a processor contingency be totally dry. You wish to spin a popcorn into dust, and that won’t be probable if there’s any dampness around.

One some-more thing: a popcorn in this recipe is popcorn you’ll cocktail yourself on a stove top. I’m always astounded by a series of people who use a x-ray to make popcorn when a stove-top process (especially when popped in coconut oil and a tiny sugar) produces such higher results. You might be tempted to make this cream with prepopped bagged things or even a chemical-laden x-ray imposter, yet a season will never be a same.


100 grams Every Day, Popcorn (see below)

500 grams complicated cream

Place a popcorn in a play of a food processor propitious with a blade attachment. Pulse a popcorn until it turns into a excellent dust. Empty a popcorn dirt into a heatproof bowl.

Pour a cream into a tiny saucepan, place over middle heat, and move to a peaceful boil, stirring a integrate of times while you’re waiting. Once a cream is bubbling, immediately flow it over a popcorn dust, nudging with a ladle to make certain that each pinch of dirt is jam-packed with cream. Cover a play with cosmetic hang and concede a cream to high for 30 minutes.

Set a excellent filigree sieve over a tiny play and flow a cream-popcorn reduction into a strainer. It will demeanour like some kind of mush, yet it will smell like cream and popcorn (and, if you’re like me, you’ll start to get excited). Press a popcorn paste opposite a sieve with a behind of a vast ladle to recover as many of a pleasing cream as we can. Discard a mush.

The cream is now prepared to use, or send it to an indisputable enclosure and cold for adult to 1 week.

Everyday Popcorn

Makes about 300 grams

The genuine idea here is popcorn that can be used to make popcorn and cream, a pivotal part in Popcorn Caramels.. we cocktail my corn in polished coconut oil since a oil can mount adult to high heat. Beware! Once a aroma of creatively popped popcorn fills your home, a break conflict is inevitable. You are going to needs 100 grams of a popcorn for creation a cream and another 90 grams or so for commanding a caramels. The remaining popcorn? Snack away. And don’t be astounded if you’re tempted to make this popcorn each day.


114 grams coconut oil

230 grams popcorn kernels (white or yellow)

75 grams granulated sugar

10 grams kosher salt

Put a coconut oil in a vast pot (with a lid nearby), set it on a stove top, and spin a burner to medium-high. Once a coconut oil has liquefied, showering a popcorn kernels uniformly over a oil, afterwards showering a sugarine uniformly over a kernels. Place a lid on a pot and wait for a kernels to start popping. While we are waiting, get out a piece vessel and put it nearby a stove. Once a popcorn is off to a start, mount by and listen.

You’ll wish to keep a pot on a feverishness until there are prolonged pauses between pops. Those pauses should not final some-more than 10 seconds. As shortly as a popping starts to slow, spin off a burner, take a pot off a heat, delicately mislay a lid, and flow a popcorn onto a piece pan. Sprinkle a salt all over a popped corn.

The popcorn is prepared to use, and (once cool) can be stored in an indisputable enclosure for adult to 1 week.

Reprinted with accede from Candy is Magic, copyright 2017 by Jami Curl. Published by Ten Speed Press, an impress of Penguin Random House LLC.