(the title is shamelessly stolen from an email written by a good friend about her envy-inducing Southeast Asian Adventure.)
These are facts about Kirstin:
– She loves to cook and bake and eat
– She doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping
– She has a growing scrooge-ness toward owning too many things that she projects onto other people
Therefore, for the Chon-Kemin white elephant gift exchange, I decided to forego shopping for a gift and contribute something that would have a short lifespan. With a 1000 som limit (~$20), it had to be special.
Therefore, I made candy for Christmas. When done right, homemade candy is 100% successful in impressing everybody.
Dark chocolate-covered candied orange peels from Smitten Kitchen. Homemade Almond Joys from Joy the Baker. Coffee Toffee from Smitten Kitchen. Salted butter caramels from David Lebovitz.
There were, of course, many challenges with making candy in Kyrgyzstan, such as being unable to find certain ingredients or tools. Here’s how I overcame such challenges:
– Need large quantities of chocolate? Suck it up and buy a dozen or so chocolate bars; I have yet to find bulk chocolate, chocolate chips or baking chocolate sold anywhere. (Although, I found that I used about 1/2 as much chocolate for dipping things in when it came down to it, and the results did not suffer in any way.)
– Corn syrup? Korean markets carry some (and brown sugar too!). I found a well-stocked one on Kievska-Erkindik.
– Silicon baking tools? I found a spatula and a rectangular mold at Tsum. One store carried silpats, but I didn’t find them until after I bought the mold. All of it cost a bit more than I would’ve paid in the states.
– Candy thermometer?! The one thing that every single recipe said I absolutely had to have for candy-making? After playing charades with many shopkeepers in Tsum and finally learning the word in Russian (“градусник”), they all told me they didn’t carry any. I studied many internet articles regarding the various stages of candy-making and had a giant bowl of ice water next to me at all times for constant checking. I waited a bit too long with the caramels (they were a bit too hard), but the toffee turned out lovely.
The homemade Almond Joys were my favorite.
I boxed up the majority of the candy and toted it out to Chon-Kemin, photographing everybody’s reactions after the big reveal.
Looks like it was well received.
Have I inspired you to try making homemade candy yet? And if I have, will you send me some? I bet it holds up really well through international postal systems.
Thank you for telling me where I can find corn syrup!
It seems like they only carry light corn syrup (just called “Korean Corn Syrup” on the bottle) but it worked fine for making caramel.
just now catching up with my blog reading…and loving the title of this post 🙂
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