Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Jolly Ranchers, The Tootsie Roll, The Cheese Thief and the Metamorphosis


Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls and Me.

What do these three things have in common?

They are always the last picked.  When I was in grade school, I wasn't athletic or popular, which is two strikes when picking teams in gym. More often than not I was one of the last picked, always a difficult decision between me and the boy who wet in his pants because he was so nervous for a the spelling bee. At least I won out to "Pee Pee Paul".. most of the time.

It is almost two weeks after Halloween.  Look in your candy bucket, what's left?  In our family it's always Jolly Ranchers and Tootsie Rolls.  At work, when my teammates bring in leftover Halloween candy, the bag is always brimming with Jolly Ranchers and Tootsies Rolls.  Even if they bring in other candy, the chocolate always goes first, then the Skittles and Starbursts, then the other non-candy like pretzels, but the poor Jolly Rancher and Tootse Rolls are left at the bottom of the tattered ziploc bag.

I am here to bring new life into these candy outcasts, you could call it "candy up-cycling."  Gather up the Jolly Rancher and Tootsie Rolls and prepare for the metamorphosis.  By simply melting Jolly Ranchers you can create the butterfly candy seen below.




First we make the wing molds out of an old soda can.
It looks as though I'm going to make stars out of a Pepsi Can!  But I'm not, just making butterfly wing molds.
Cut soda can open and cut into half inch by six inch strips.  Then mark the strips as follows with a  marker at the following lenghts:
.25 inches, 1.5 inches, 2.75 inches, 5.4 inches.  These will be the marks where you fold.
You want to make an even number of strips, as butterflies have two wings.

1. Line up ends of strips and fold over twice (this should secure the can together).
2. Notice that the can now stays together wthout holding.  Do this for all the strips.
3. Find the second marking that is 1.5 inches.
4. Fold over to make a "D" shape
5. Find the third marking (2.75 inches) and fold over slightly
6. Find the fourth marking and fold inwards.  So it looks like a "B".  This is the mold for the butterfly wings.  You can tweak the aluminum as you please to make it less pointy.  I pushed it to make it more curvy on the bottom.
Next step is making the crushing the candy
1. Put jolly rancher onto a piece of parchment paper.
2. Create a packet by sealing all sides.  (This is important, or else your kitchen will be a mess!  Trust me I know.)
3.  Take a pan and bang at the candy a couple of times.
Put something underneath before you smash the candy, as you do not want to damage your counter tops.
4. Candy should come out in small pieces.
5. Spray a little non stick cooking spray on molds. Place the molds on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Fill the molds.  Try not to leave any open spots.
6. Preheat oven to 295 degrees Fahrenheit  and place in oven for 5 minutes or until candy is melted.
Take candy out of oven once it is melted, as always when working with sugar it is very hot!  So be careful.
If some areas of the butterfly wings were not filled in because there was too little sugar you have two options.  One is to take a toothpick and move the sugar into the spot (if area is small enough, and you work fast).  The other is to wait for candy to cool silghtly,  add more candy and place back in oven for another five minutes or until candy melts.  You want to make sure you do not overheat the candy because it will turn yellow to brown.
Sugar will cool fairly quickly.  So once its warm to the touch you can take out the folded ends and release the wings.
  The wings will become more brittle as it cools.
If you break the wings, you can piece it back together on the baking sheet and reheat in the oven for a couple of minutes.
Unmolded jolly rancher butter fly wings.



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