One of my favorite things about this time of year is spending time in the kitchen with my boys.
I'll admit I don't love to bake (bread excluded, of course) but I do love to try new recipes. This year I decided to eschew the dreaded cookies, save for a few favorites that would lead to mutiny if left out, and instead focus my attentions on candy-making.
Something about pots boiling and roiling with mysterious combinations of flavors really brings out the mad scientist in me. I've recently discovered that if a recipe calls for a candy thermometer, I'm probably going to enjoy trying it out.
I found a recipe last night for homemade grapefruit gumdrops that sounded so interesting, I knew I had to give it a shot. When I mentioned it to my 13 year-old son, he was super excited and volunteered his assistance.
He had Boy Scouts tonight, so we didn't get started until about 8:00 p.m.
, juiced and boiled, each of us minding one of the two pots we had going simultaneously.
While we made a few goofs along the way, such as going a little past the soft crack stage on the thermometer, everything turned out wonderfully. We stuck the pan of gummy goo in the fridge for a little over an hour to speed the cooling process. This was essential
because I didn't have the heart to send my helper to bed without having the first taste of the finished product.
When the slab of goo was cooled, we cut them into tiny squares with a wet knife. Although the recipe said it would make 40-some gumdrops, we cut them pretty small and ended up with probably twice as many. We rolled them in sugar and let me tell you- they are
gorgeous. Ronald was so proud.
He also loved the taste. I liked the contrast of the tart grapefruit with the sweet sugar coating, but I wasn't so fond of the texture. Even though we technically overcooked them, I found them to be a little soft. Maybe this is typical of homemade gumdrops,
though. Having never made them before, I'm not sure. I do think, though, that time will be good to them. Since they are supposed to be stored only loosely covered, I imagine they will dry out a little and firm up some.
All in all, I'm glad we made them. I think next time we will use oranges instead of grapefruit just to mix things up a bit.