Friday, November 2, 2007

ARF / 5-A-Day: Real Hallowe'en Candy!

With the candyfest known as Hallowe'en just past, I was thinking about how much fun I have handing out all the sugary junk to the kids in our area, seeing how cute they are dressed up as witches, fairies, superheroes, clowns, and the occasional baby dressed up as a pumpkin. Every year I talk to Andrew and make him promise that for our baby's first Hallowe'en (when we have kids, that is, which now is eons away) we can do the same thing.

Personally, my Hallowe'ens were always marked by my poor, gracious mother sewing my sister's and my costumes on our antique Singer sewing machine (no lie, this thing used to belong to my great-great-grandma). Whatever we desired to be, she would take us to Fabricland and we could pick out the patterns and the fabrics, then spend easily two weeks in the basement sewing away, with mahvelous results. She wasn't limited to costumes, either. Over the years, she's made 14 play costumes for our MLCP productions, 2 flower girl dresses, 2 capes, and 16 years' worth of detailed Hallowe'en garb. Thanks Mom, I wish that sewing gene had passed along to me, since the dang machine stalls every time I try to use it!

This is a more grown-up version of a Hallowe'en candy, still sweet but with a distinct taste from the pumpkin. The maple sugar adds a nice touch and crunchy sparkle to the bright-orange, antioxidant rich pieces of pumpkin. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging. For a complete nutritional breakdown you can take a look here, but even if you don't it's easy to tell that these gems of Fall are packed with goodness. Heck, even the maple in these candies has antioxidants and nutrients! Whatever your reason for trying this recipe (and I do hope you will, they are tasty!), they are a great addition to your personal candy bowl and an excellent addition to the ARF / 5-A-Day roundup over at Sweetnicks! Hope Nicholas has a great Hallowe'en too!

True Halloween Candy
Serves 8
1 quart pie pumpkin meat; fresh (cut into 1- inch pieces)
2 ½ cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple sugar

  1. Place the cubed pumpkin in a saucepan and cover it with water, about 2 to 2-1/2 cups.
  2. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, until the pumpkin is just tender.
  3. Remove the pumpkin with a slotted spoon. There should be about 1-1/2 cups of liquid remaining.
  4. Add the brown or maple sugar and dissolve over low heat.
  5. Place the pumpkin pieces back in the pan and bring slowly back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Let the pumpkin pieces stand in the syrup overnight.
  7. The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove the pumpkin pieces from the syrup and spread them out on a wire rack so the pieces are not touching one another.
  9. Let them stand in a 140F oven for 3 to 4 hours to dry.
  10. Roll each piece in the maple sugar, and store them in a dry, cool place.
  11. Do not stack or crowd the candy together.

1 comment :

  1. This sounds very interesting. When you say roll the piece in maple sugar, do you mean in the syrup in which they were cooked, or fresh sugar?
    It looks from the picture as if the pieces were cut , rather than rolled. What is the best way?


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