Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pop Rocks (pop music)

Let's start off with some pop music.

Among the first concepts to successful cooking is "Mise en Place" which is the French way of saying "Get your shit together."
That's all the tools and ingredients I am going to use. That cast iron hammer is one of my favorites. You have to love a recipe that calls for a cast iron hammer. It's not as fun as a blowtorch, but it's close.
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup citric acid crystals (+1 tsp for later)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup light karo (or other corn syrup)
1 tsp lime flavoring oil (this is a specialty item used in making hard candy)
2 drops leaf green coloring gel
powdered sugar for dusting
cornstarch for dusting
First lightly dust a standard baking sheet (I like one with a slight lip) with powdered sugar and cornstarch.
Combine the sugar, water, and karo in a medium sauce pan over high heat. stir just enough to dissolve the sugar (the sign that this has happened is when it goes clear). Big time kitchen hack. You can measure the karo and the water together, but before you do that, spritz the measuring cup down with cooking spray (I used a spray of olive oil, but canola, peanut, or anything else will do). This allows for a much easier pour that is closer to your desired amount. It also makes for an easier wash.
Then cover tightly and wait five minutes. Uncover, use a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan to prevent any crytals of sugar from forming, and insert your candy thermometer (this is NOT negotiable, you need this) and allow to continue at a full boil until the temperature reaches 300 degrees F, or, as candy chefs will say "Hard Crack."

Now, leave the syrup alone, to cool to 175 and then add in the 1/4 cup citric acid, baking soda, flavoring and color agent. Turn that out onto your baking sheet.
Dust again with cornstarch and powdered sugar.
Cool for a half hour, while you're waiting do the dishes now. The pot, the spatula, everything that touched the syrup. Do. Not. Wait. Do. It. Now.
I'm not kidding. If you slack off at this point you'll never get your pan and your tools clean. Ever.
After a half hour, while the candy is at a pliable taffy consistency, use a stout wooden spatula to take it off of the baking sheet. The better your dusting job was at the very beginning, the easier it will be.
Cool this on a rack until hard.
Then take the cast iron hammer, bust it up into little bitty pieces, seal that with the vacuum sealer (or punk out and use a zip lock bag, but I love my FoodSaver and use it a lot)

When they make PopRocks they send in CO2 at 700 psi into the syrup, since that isn't something that can be duplicated at home, the introduction of the citric acid and the baking soda, will, instead of a pop, produce a nice little fizz. Since this is going to be a grace note to the larger chord, a nice little fizz will suffice.


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