By Kit Shaw – WEEKEND Staff Writer
WEEKEND Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 50, 1955
Clear toy candy has been associated with Christmas ever since, generations ago, Santa started stuffing it into the stockings of good girls and boys. Though traditional as turkey, its popularity seems to have dwindled in the last decade. This may be partly due to the candy manufacturers who regard the making of clear toy candy as a far from sweet job. Because of its slow processing, high breakage and limited-seasonal sale, they would prefer something less risky – like peanut brittle.
A few weeks before Christmas for the last 35 years, Mrs. Henri Gauthier, who lives in Crabtree Mills, Que., a village in Joliette county northeast of Montreal, has set aside a day for making ‘bonbon clair’, or in English, clear toy candy. For best results, she says, the day should be sunny, dry and snapping cold. Even then, it is a sticky, tricky business. For though the ingredients are simple, one false step in the process and you are left with a useless and almost indestructible lump from old rock candy mountain.
If you would like to make clear toy candy, this is Mrs. Gauthier’s recipe. You will need white granulated sugar, cream of tartar and some colouring. Combine in a two-quart saucepan, two pounds of sugar, one cup of water and one-eighth teaspoon of cream of tartar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and boil over direct heat two or three minutes. Uncover and boil without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Ad colouring. Wipe off crystals that form on the side of the pan with a fork wrapped in a damp cloth. At exactly 305 degrees, the syrup is dumped into a large funnel and poured into molds that have been chilled and brushed with olive oil.
Candy molds are not easy to come by (Mrs. Gauthier’s are made of iron and are nearly 100 years old), but you could use small cookie cutters, jelly molds, or tin tops.
For more of Edith’s candy recipes, click here.