by MadamePince, McGonagirl, Hermi2
Menu: Butternut Toffee | Sherbet Lemon | Chocolate Caramel Chews | Black Licorice Pastilles | Toothpaste Chocolate Mint | Strawberry Nut Fudge"Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater."
That's the common and conventional wisdom in the wizard world. Yet many regretted their choices and tried to make amends, even though they might be imprisoned, tortured, or killed for their earlier mistake by either the Ministry of Magic or by Voldemort's minions. One who managed to survive is Severus Snape; he is essentially a double agent. Where do his real loyalties lie?
Knowing that Snape would always be shadowed by doubt, Albus Dumbledor made sure there were plenty of opportunities for the former Death Eater to prove himself. This included allowing him to teach Harry Potter occlumency, making him head of a Hogwart's house ... and most personally important to Dumbledor, had Snape satisfy the headmaster's sweet tooth!
Dumbledor always kept a supply of candies in the antechamber of his office, and Snape is required to keep the candy dish filled, and he must make the candies himself. By taking on the responsibility to the headmaster himself, he could control what Dumbledor and his guests would eat ... and if anything bad happened, everyone would know who made the candies!
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TIP #1: Very specific cooking temperatures are given in these recipes. Do not guess! Get a candy thermometer! In candymaking, the temperature of the sugar determines its properties. You do not want to get it too hot (or brittle or burned!) or pull it off the heat when its too cool (chewy or grainy).
TIP #2: Get a gauged frying thermometer. You can use it for both frying and for candymaking.
Menu: Butternut Toffee | Sherbet Lemon | Chocolate Caramel Chews | Black Licorice Pastilles | Toothpaste Chocolate Mint | Strawberry Nut Fudge
Everyone loves a toffee, but knowing when to stop cooking the sugar is the key to making a firm but silky toffee that's just a little sticky to the teeth. Snape had many opportunities to use poisoned nuts, or rancid butter or cream for a "off" flavor ... he could even cook it too soft so the headmaster and his guests suffered "lockjaw"!
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, butter and vanilla and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. You will need to boil and stir for about 30 minutes use a candy thermometer. The mixture is ready when it reaches 244°F / 117°C to 248°F / 120°C ... the temperature is called "firm ball stage" and is very specific. (Use a candy thermometer!)
Add the nuts to the candy and stir in well. Remove from the heat and pour into our prepared pan or tray. Using the buttered spoon to spread the candy out to ½ inch / 1¼ cm in depth. Cool till it's firm but still warm and slightly pliable. Using a buttered knife, cut into bite-sized pieces and wrap individually in cellophane or greased paper.
Makes 1 lb / 450 g of butternut toffee.
Sometimes Dumbledor requested specific sweets to provide Snape with the required temptation to harm him. Other times, because he did implicitly trust Professor Snape NOT to do him harm, he requested things he craved. And yet other times, he needed to change the password to activate the staircase to his office. This recipe fits in all three categories.
It's tempting to invite someone else to help with the pulling of the taffy-like candy, but Snape knows that he cannot risk someone else adding something they shouldn't to their buttered hands before pulling ... No wonder the potions master is grumpy on days he makes this sweet!
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, place the water and butter over high heat till boiling. Stir in the sugar, then remove the stirrer, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-high. After 3 minutes, remove the cover, and put the candy thermometer into the liquid (not touching the sides or bottom of the pan).
Cook to a "hard-ball stage" which is at 260°F / 125°C. When it reaches this temperature, have your cold pan ready and pour the hot sugar into the pan. Do NOT scrape the sides of the pan or the mixture could turn into a big grainy mass.
Allow the sugar to cool a few minutes, till it stops boiling. DO NOT TOUCH THE SUGAR AT ALL DURING THIS STEP. Once its cooled down enough, use a heat-proof spatula to lift the edges of the sugar blob toward the center. This will help cool down the mixture so you can handle it with your hands.
Butter your hands, then WHEN THE CANDY IS COOL ENOUGH TO HANDLE, evenly pour the flavoring and (optional) food coloring onto the candy. Form the candy into a ball, then pull it into a long strip. Fold it over onto itself and pull again this is "taffy-pulling." Keep doing this until the candy becomes whitish and airy. It's done when there are parallel puffy looking ridges or threads that hold their shape. This is the key to the "sherbety" texture of this candy.
Pull the candy into a strand or rope about ½ inch / 1¼ cm in diameter. Using the buttered kitchen shears, cut the rope while its still pliable to 1 to 2 inches / 2½ to 5 cm bits. They will look like pillows. Toss them in powdered sugar, then place in an airtight container for at least 24 hours to allow them to harden up and even out their flavor.
Makes about 1 lb / 450 g of candy.
Chocolate Caramel Chews
Everyone loves chocolate caramels. The best candies are often very simple, with so few ingredients that one couldn't believe that such delectable sweets could be had for so little. This recipe reminds Snape each time he makes it that broken trust is a hard thing to recover from. Simple, unbroken trust is the only way to beget a continuation of trust. So he refuses to let the simplicity of this recipe make him complacent, for if he screws it up just once, no one may trust him again.
The original recipe didn't stipulate a temperature, but Snape found out the hard way that if the ingredients are undercooked, even by one or two degrees, the caramels will be too soft and will not have the proper flavor. If the ingredients are overcooked, the candies will be too firm. So he uses a thermometer!
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar with stirring, till the granulated white sugar is dissolved. Then put the candy thermometer into the liquid (not touching the sides or bottom of the pan).
Cook to a "soft-ball stage" which is at 238°F / 114°C. When it reaches this temperature, lower the heat and add the finely grated chocolate and continue stirring till the chocolate is melted and the mixtures thickens a bit.
Add the sifted powdered sugar into the chocolate and stir till it dissolves and blends into the chocolate. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Turn the caramels out onto a clean, cool surface. Dip a sharp knife into cold water and cut into 1-inch / 2½ cm cubes. Wrap in cellophane or waxed paper. Store in a cool place, like the refrigerator.
Makes about 6 dozen caramels.
Black Licorice Pastilles
This is a variation on the licorice snaps which Dumbledor tempted Harry with, on that evening Harry discovered and fell into the pensieve. These are pastilles or "drops," without the spell that made them bite and jump!
But in fact, he first learned to make these sweets as a Death Eater on humid or rainy days, the drops never dried and they'd stay unappealingly sticky ... which is maybe how one feels if one were trying to escape the dark lord. And if you were overenthusiastic when adding the food coloring, the coloring came off on your fingers and your lips and tongue! So be scant with the color! (Tell that to Karkaroff, eh?)
For the record, Snape did NOT make the snaps Harry wrangled with he took his candymaking responsibilities very seriously and would not have made something that could be construed as evil for Dumbledor's candy dish. He considered the black color and strong anise flavor quite evil enough!
Set a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and add the white sugar, brown sugar, water, and corn syrup and stirring till the sugars are dissolved. Put a lid on the pot and let it come to a steaming boil.
After a minute, remove the cover, and put the candy thermometer into the liquid (not touching the sides or bottom of the pan).
Cook to a "hard-crack stage" which is at 290°F / 143°C. Stop the heat and remove the thermometer. Add the food coloring and anise extract and stir carefully to blend it in. Try not to agitate the sugars unduly.
Using a small spoon, drop the candy onto the greased baking tray they do not have to be round. Reheat the pot gently to soften the candy if it gets too hard for spooning. But it's better to simply work quickly. Allow to cool completely in a cool room (not in the refrigerator, which is too humid). Peel off the sheet and wrap individually in cellophane or waxed paper.
Makes 3 dozen candies.
Toothpaste Chocolate Mint
Severus Snape came from a background of deprivation. His father abused his mother, they were poor, and the young wizard grew up in fear and poverty. In fact, the only "sweet" he had in his life before he came to Hogwart's was ... toothpaste! He developed this easy-to-make recipe as a more socially acceptable form of edible toothpaste.
Some recipes require a long cooling or drying time, and to ensure no one tampers with the candies while they sit and rest, Snape sits with them. He always has work to do while he waits, but sometimes he needs to dash off to class when substituting for others, or a crisis occurs with his students. This recipe originally required the nougat be dipped in chocolate, but one day when Snape was too busy to do that step, he skipped it, wrapping up the naked pieces. Dumbledor commented on the strong "toothpaste flavor" of these incomplete candies, and said he found the result rather refreshing, though too "dental." It's much nicer half-dipped in chocolate, and if you like, use these at a chocolate fondue party!
In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg white with the mint extract will the mixture is frothy. Add the powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time while beating until the mixture is rather dough-like and able to hold its shape.
Dust a work surface and a rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll the egg white mixture out into a ½-inch / 2 cm thick slab. Quickly cut the candy slab into cubes and place on the prepared baking tray set in a cool, dry place. Allow to sit and dry for four hours.
Melt the chocolate bits in bowl set over simmering (not boiling) water, stirring occasionally to a smooth liquid. Using fork, dip one end of each candy into melted chocolate. Set on wire racks to set. Wrap individually in waxed paper or cellophane.
Makes about 3 dozen pieces.
Strawberry Nut Fudge
Dumbledor often received gifts of food from witches and wizards for many a reason, whether to thank him for some kindness toward their son or daughter at school or as a gift from a foreign dignitary. But Snape, as the appointed provider of sweets, extended his responsibilities to ensure the headmaster was not as risk from such gifts. He'd check each gift with potions tests and spell bindery to make sure each substance was "clean." He even checked gifts from trusted colleagues like Molly Prewitt Weasley, who made a strawberry jam and orange liqueur that she knew her former professor enjoyed in his younger days.
Molly would have been angered to know that Snape confiscated every jar or bottle she'd sent, but that's not to say Dumbledor was unable to enjoy them. By the time Snape had checked and tested them, there wasn't much left of the liqueur or the jam ... just a scant cup or spoonful. So he developed this "fudge" to use the leftovers, so that Molly could be placated and honored when she came to visit and saw the product of her gifts in Dumbledor's candy dish.
Obviously, to earn and keep trust, Snape was forced to never trust others!
Line a (jelly roll) pan with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.
Also prepare a large pan, pot, or bowl of ice cubes and water to use as a cooling bath. Have another pan, pot, or bowl that can be set into that one, without touching the bottom pan.
Finally, heat the strawberry jam and orange liqueur together till the jam become loose and liquid. Force the mixture through a strainer so it's smooth.
Set a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add cream and sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar had dissolved completely. Increase the heat to high, and remove the stirrer and do not stir again. Using a candy thermometer, heat to 240°F / 116°C.
Quickly pour the hot mixture into the waiting clean, dry pan (or pot or bowl), then place that into the ice bath. Stir the hot cream and sugar mixture, so it cools quickly in the cold environment.
When cold, remove the container from the ice bath. Add the prepared jam mixture and soft butter to the cream and sugar mixture. Beat with a mixer till its thickened and rather foamy pink in color.
Pour out the mixture into the prepared pan and cover with foil, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set. With a knife dipped in hot water, cut the gummy/taffy-like mixture into cubes. Toss or roll in the chopped nuts, then wrap individually in cellophane or waxed paper.
Makes about 5 dozen pieces.
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