We got the 411 on how this tradition got started from Lee's grandmother.
As told by Grandma Malad:
My mother, Flora, and her brother, Walt, started this candy making tradition years ago. Walt got the skinny on how to make chocolates because he was friends with one of the Cummings brothers who started Cummings Chocolates in Salt Lake. Walt thought it might be a good thing to learn to make their own chocolates because they spent too much money buying chocolates.We're part of the 4th generation to continue this awesome and most tasty tradition!
The first thing that Lee's mom, Mom K, taught us was how to make the fondant cream centers. We started with the basic Big Batch of Fondant recipe--a mixture of cream, sugar, karo syrup, and salt. When cooking the fondant on the stove, the mixture is white to pale-yellow in color.
The fondant mixture cooking
The fondant is then poured onto a cold, cold marble slab--we usually borrow Mom K's and stick it outside on the porch and wipe it down when we're ready to use it. The cold slab cools the hot liquid.
Then you start "working" it. We purchased at the Home Depot a couple of putty knives--these are the perfect tools for the task.
|Putty knives used only for candy making--no putty allowed!|
Lee demonstrates how to "work" the fondant. As you can see in the video, there is a lot scrapping and flipping and folding of the fondant. He's definitely developed his own style!
The fondant is rather glossy looking when you start out, but as you work it, the glossiness disappears and the fondant starts looking creamy and hopefully, tasting creamy too!
|Glossy, pale yellow colored fondant at the beginning of the "working"|
|As you can see, the fondant is starting to look more opaque and white|
We learned a trick from Mom K, that if the fondant starts getting to sugary (aka a super saturated solution), that you can ditch one of the putty knives and start working the fondant with your hand and the other putty knife. The heat from your hand will warm it up and you can sometimes bring it back from a grainy, sugary texture to creamy.
This is Lee's main job during the entire chocolate-making process--he is always burning up and his hands work wonders on any grainy fondant!
|Hand + Putt Knife Combo works wonders!|
After it's properly worked and is creamy, you flavor your center. There are the traditional flavors and recipes for the cream fondant centers that we've done--orange, mint, french vanilla, cherry nut, bavarian mint, raspberry, lemon. We love those flavors!
But, we like to make "weird" flavors each year too. We made a Spice Cake center (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger) and Spumoni center (strawberry + pistachio). I guess they're not as weird as last year's (Bacon Truffle and Chile Truffle), but they turned out beautifully.
What "weird" flavors would you want to try? We'd love to hear your suggestions for next year!