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Old 12-23-2008, 07:41 PM   #1
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ISO help with Aunt Bill's brown candy

I'm new....I just tried to make Aunt Bill's Brown Candy from a recent Bon Appetit. My mother used to make it when I was a child and I loved it, but she has demenita now and can't help me. I'm not sure what I did wrong - I used a candy thermometer and followed the directions, but what I now have is basically brown sugar with pecans - delicious and possibly a topping for ice cream, but not the candy I wanted. Any ideas? d

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Old 12-23-2008, 07:52 PM   #2
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Can you post the recipe so that we can see what the directions are?
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:56 PM   #3
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Aunt Bill's Brown Candy Recipe at Epicurious.com
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:02 PM   #4
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If you aren't careful when you brush down the caramel--you can have crystals form. These can be problem number one. Next, it can take some perserverance to have the caramel dissolve in the saucepan. The baking soda keeps the candy from becoming too hard--it is why Rose Levy Beranbaum uses it in her version of Mahogany Buttercrunch toffee. I wonder if like fudge you stirred to much or not enough--that can be hard to judge if you haven't done it before and it is another place where problems can occur.

What did you wind up with?

Maybe ChefJune can offer you more help as I am just a home baker and candymaker.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:30 PM   #5
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Yes, the recipe is as posted by PieSusan from epicurious. I truly ended up with an 8x8 pan of light brown sugar with pecans - it doesn't stick together, it is a powder....
I stirred when the recipe said and swirled when the recipe said....
I wonder if my candy thermometer could be the problem - can't remember the last time I used it....
I tried to resurrect the product in the microwave - now I have toastier brown sugar with pecans
Any ideas are welcome. d
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:48 PM   #6
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ChefJune what do you think?
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:49 PM   #7
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Aunt Bill's Brown Candy Reviews at Epicurious.com

Comments from those who made it--perhaps this will help you see what you did wrong Dee ts

Molly Wizenberg even answered someone who failed.
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:33 PM   #8
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If your candy crystalized -- turned back to sugar -- then either you stirred it during the cooking or sugar crystals got into the mixture.

Looking at the recipe (at Epicurious) two things jumped out at me.

1) You should never add a hot mixture (the caramel) to a cool or cold mixture (the dissolved sugar), so make sure that sugar mixture is good and hot before you add the caramel.

2) When making the caramel the sides of the pan should be brushed down at the beginning, not the end of cooking (you can avoid this by covering the pot for one or two minutes, letting the steam wash it down, too).

Also, very important in making candy is not disturbing the pan once the sugar starts to cook. From the moment your combined mixture goes over the flame until it reaches 160 degrees you shouldn't touch it at all, doing so could release the suspension and the result will be grainy or crystalized candy. Myself, I don't like to cool my sugar mixtures in the pan. I pour it out on cool marble, wait for it to cool completely, then kneed with metal spatulas -- difficult to do at first but well worth learning.

Lastly, never scrape the pan. You should expect that some of your mixture is not destined to become candy. Adding those last bits dramatically increase the chances of crystalizing your candy, or just as bad, adding burned bits.

Hope this helps.
wm
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:00 PM   #9
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Thanks for the specifics - I'll incorporate this info and give it another try. d
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