Did you know that Nostradamus spent his free time making candy? Before prophesying, Nostradamus wrote a cookbook named The French Confectioner that included recipes for candied fruit and marzipan. I would love to get my hands on a copy of his cookbook one of these days to understand the candy tastes and techniques of his day. And what a delight to learn that I have esteemed company like Notradamus in the candy making department! This week, I created Handmade Lime Gumdrops – a delicious treat and perfect for those up-and-coming Easter baskets. Inspired by Nostradamus, I’m writing my own prophesy for these candies: They won’t last very long in my house! xo Maggie Louise
HANDMADE LIME GUMDROPS*
● 1 c. granulated sugar
● 1 c. light corn syrup
● 1.75 oz. powdered fruit pectin (1 box, generally found in the baking aisle)
● 1/2 tsp. baking soda
● 3/4 c. water
● 2 drops of lime oil for flavoring (note, lime extract is not as potent as lime oil and requires additional drops)
● 1 drop of mint green gel coloring or other food coloring
● sparkling sugar or granulated sugar for decoration
Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with vegetable spray. In a large saucepan, stir the sugar and corn syrup together. In a second saucepan, combine the pectin, baking soda and water; the mixture will foam. Over high heat, cook both mixtures simultaneously, stirring both until (1) the sugar mixture comes to a rapid boil and (2) the foam on the pectin mixture begins to thin. This generally takes 3 to 5 minutes.
Slowly pour the pectin mixture into the boiling sugar while stirring continuously. Spend 1 minute on the pour. Then, cook and stir the combined mixture for one minute. Remove the pan from heat. Add the flavoring and the food coloring. Note that the mixture will be very, very hot so do not taste or touch the mixture until it is suitably cool.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Once cool, cover tightly with saran wrap. Let the candy stand at room temperature for 4 hours, then refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and run a knife around the outside of the candy. With a spatula, gently lift up on the candy to remove it from the pan in one piece. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut the candy into squares. You may need to spray your scissors with vegetable spray. Roll each square in sparkling sugar (I used mint green sparkling sugar) or granulated sugar.
*For these treats, I looked to my current go-to candy cookbook, Candy by the Editors of Time-Life Books, 1981, which references Daphne Metaxas Hartwig’s book, Make Your Own Groceries.