I was on a candy-making roll after last week's Homemade Sour Patch Kids, so I decided to try another homemade version of a classic - Tootsie Rolls. However, like the sour candy, this concoction adapted from The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook is a bit more refined in flavour and texture. For one thing, I used the best bittersweet chocolate I could get a hold of - we're talking 75% cocoa - which made for divinely "grown up" tasting nibbles. A touch of brown sugar deepened the molassesy sweetness of the dark corn syrup, and those two components worked in tandem to make the resulting "rope" of candy pliable enough to cut and melt in your mouth but sturdy enough to hold its shape. In a sense, to compare these to a Tootsie Roll is like comparing homemade chicken soup to Campbells - for all appearances they are alike, but one taste and you never go back.
Of course, divine candy - even something that is relatively simple like this one - has a price. For these, this means a lot of waiting, greasing, scraping, kneading and cleaning! I started off thinking that a quick swipe of oil on my hands alone would do the trick, but discovered that this candy is one that gets over everything - eventually I just got a cereal bowl, dumped some shortening into it and used it almost like soap to keep the candy in motion. Kneading felt like forever because of the sticky factor (it was really only about 15-20 minutes), and I would definitely invest in a bench scraper and a silicone mat for the greatest ease (some may call it a cop-out, I'm just too lazy to keep cleaning!). The "waiting" portion comes in the form of a "curing" stint that's at least overnight (although I didn't get to mine again until 3 days post-knead and it hadn't suffered). All this is so worth it in the end, though, (and a really good reason not to skip either kneading or curing) since it's a lot easier to cut into chunks, roll into chocolatey "snakes" and slice individual pieces when it's had a chance to chill out and rest. The rolling, cutting and wrapping is also a great activity for kids to get involved with - there are a lot of pieces and many hands make light work!
When all's said and done, and you pop that first candy into your mouth, the reason for those efforts you put in becomes clear as day - it's a grown-up, more "gourmet" version of the Hallowe'en candy fest the kids will be diving into, and it's as free of additives and fillers as you'd like it to be (depending on the chocolate you choose!).
Since it is the Sunday before the biggest candy nosh of the year, you know the #SundaySupper group has to bring our Halloween game to the table! This event is being hosted by Kathia of Basic N Delicious - Thanks Kathia!