“Hey, when’s Halloween?” a coworker asked me yesterday.
After recovering from shock, I realized that without kids, this holiday might not register on everyone’s to-do and to-plan-for list. So I carefully explained to this childless dude that Halloween was already here.
It’s not how we remember as kids, I said, with one night of trick-or-treating. It’s grown to a full week (maybe more) of decorations, costumes, and candy. As further proof after my last blog, this week Logan’s school had Halloween events # 4 and #5.
With a sick husband this week, I was already in tackle-the-world mode. I picked up the kids, engaged with them as they demanded attention while trying to cook suppers (thank god for frozen fish), helped Logan with his homework, bathed them both and washed their hair, brushed teeth, helped them into pajamas, read books, tucked into covers, and cuddled (how do single moms do it all!). And on top of all that, in the few hours after work I also added packed in making Halloween treats.
On Friday morning, Logan’s kindergarten class will be having a Halloween parade, where, of course, they’ll get lots of candy. So Tuesday night I decided to learn how to make chocolate candy. I should note I have never–never–made candy before.
Cocoa butter taking its own sweet time to melt
I promised the kids that after supper, their treat could be some of the candy we were making. This was my first mistake.
The cocoa butter took ages to melt. Seriously, we played three games of CandyLand in the time it took to liquefy (which, if you’ve ever played CandyLand with a 3-year-old, feels like a lifetime). When that finally happened, I stirred in the cocoa powder, lakanto*, and vanilla. I was feeling pretty accomplished, having managed to not scorch anything yet, when I read the next step: pour this mixture into my candy mold.
Pour it? Each mold was slightly bigger than a Skittle. How could I drip just a tiny amount from my saucepan without splashing everywhere?
“I want to do it!” Sadie declared. “Me, too!” Logan exclaimed.
Hooray, I thought–more to clean.
My sloppy candy mold, after I cleaned up most of the drips
There was also way more than there should have been, which makes me think I did something wrong along the way. I poured the rest into a mini-cupcake sheet, cursing as I did because I could feel the chocolate hardening–and it looked as though it was separating, into the more granular mixture toward the bottom and think liquid at the top.
And then the candy had to cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, so Logan and Sadie had to go to bed without getting their promised treat. Thank god they were somehow both OK with that.
You’d think my candy woes were over, but no. The next morning, when both kids begged for a piece of the candy they’d “made,” the chocolate wouldn’t budge from the mold. How the hell was it supposed to come out?
I thought I knife would help coax the candy out of the mold. I was mostly wrong.
At least they tasted pretty good. (Though some definitely taste sweeter and feel more grainy, and others taste more bland and feel smoother.)
For Halloween event #5, on Friday afternoon, Logan’s class will be making a special spider snack, out of Nilla wafers, vanilla frosting, pretzels, and raisins. So Wednesday night I gathered the energy to once again take on my nemesis. You can see how well that went.
Danielle Walker’s “Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies”… and mine
Note how my cookies in the foreground look absolutely nothing like the picture with the recipe, adapted from Against All Grain. (This might be because I did forget to add the lakanto while blending the first few ingredients and only realized it before I slid them in the oven–I quickly hand-mixed it in instead.) Sigh. But again, at least they taste all right, and they should be an OK substitution for a Nilla wafer spider body.
Tonight: Tackling a substitute for white frosting. Bring it on, coconut milk.
Feeling: Thick-skinned. I think by now I’m used to failing in the kitchen!
*Lakanto is a sugar alternative.