Fruit canes, striped or plain These candy canes get their fresh fruit flavor and color fromconcentrated fruit purees or juice.
They are attractive plain, but ifyou prefer them striped, follow the sequence pictured on pages 80 and81. To make the color concentrates (they can be made days ahead), boilfruit puree or fruit juice to greatly reduce its volume. Of the manyfruits that we tried, the following worked well.
(Many fruits scorchand lose their color and flavor at the high heat required for makingtaffy.) For intense colors, start with frozen raspberries or blackberriesor cranberry juice cocktail. Canned drinks of peach, guava, and passionfruit reduce to make delicate shades. You can also use pomegranate concentrate; it’s sold in some stores. Fruit Taffy Canes 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup light corn syrup Water 1/2 cup fruit concentrate (directions follow) Butter or margarine In a 1 1/2-to 2-quart pan, combine sugar, syrup, and 2 tablespoonswater. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a rolling boil over highheat. Position a thermometer in the boiling syrup and cook, withoutstirring, until candy reaches 310| to 315|; this takes about 5 minutes.
As the syrup cooks, wash off spatters of syrup as they accumulateinside the pan, using a stiff brush dipped frequently in water; ifcrystalline bits of sugar are not washed away, the taffy may hardenbefore it is pulled. At once add fruit concentrate; if using a metal-mountedthermometer, use it to mix concentrate thoroughly into the bubbly syrup(if thermometer is removed and allowed to cool slightly, it will notrespond quickly enough when returned to pan). Stir constantly untiltemperature returns to 270|. If using a glass thermometer, leave it inpan but stir syrup with a spoon. Immediately, pour hot syrup onto a well-buttered 10- by 15-inchrimmed pan. With a buttered wide spatula, push syrup from one side ofpan to the other (butter exposed pan and spatula often to reducesticking) until taffy is cool enough to handle quickly, but still hot. Coat hands with butter.
Working quickly, pull and stretch taffyuntil it begins to turn opaque, lighter in color, and stiffer but stillmalleable; at this point, it should be cool enough for children tohandle. Divide taffy into 4 equal portions, cutting with buttered scissors.To keep taffy malleable, put pieces well apart on a freshly buttered panand put in a 150| oven up to 1 hour (taffy will flatten as it rests). To make plain canes, pull a portion of taffy at a time until itturns opaque and satiny. Then, pulling and squeezing, shape taffy intoa rope that is the thickness you want. You have to work fast; the taffyis easiest to manage if you work in a warm part of the kitchen. Cut taffy rope into desired lengths with buttered scissors.
Leaveropes plain or twist for a textured finihs; curve tips to make canes, ifdesired. (To make striped fruit taffy canes, see page 80.) Put canes flat in a single layer on buttered pans and chill untilhard. Serve; or wrap individually, airtight, in plastic wrap or smallplastic bags. Refrigerate or freeze up to 4 month; on longer standing,the canes may become crumbly or sticky.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 pounds taffy, or about 2 dozen10-inch canes. Fruit concentrates. Choose from the following fruit for the coloryou want. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, boil the fruit puree or juice onmedium heat, uncovered, until it is reduced to 1/2 cup; stiroccasionally. Use hot or cool; to store, cover and refrigerate as longas 3 days, or freeze.
Red. Thaw 1 bag (12 oz.) frozen raspberries with sugar.
Pureefruit and juices in blender or food processor; rub through a fine wirestrainer and discard seeds. Bright pink. Use 3 cups cranberry juice cocktail. Pale orange.
Use 2 cans (12 oz. each) peach nectar, guava nectar,or passion fruit drink. Burgundy. Thaw 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen unsweetened blackberries.
Puree fruit and juices in a blender or food processor; rub through afine wire strainer and discard the seeds. Toast. Use 1/2 cup bottled pomegranate concentrate. Do not cook;add directly to hot taffy syrup. Photo: Tuck individually wrapped fruit canes into Christmasstockings–or pass them around as tasty treats