Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Last Person in America

I made a batch of Sponge Candy this afternoon for the very first time.

Actually that's a lie. I made it for the second time, because the first time I made it I didn't mix the baking soda in properly. There were pockets of undissolved baking soda throughout the batch.

From a quick survey of the internet, it appears that I am the very last person in America to try sponge candy. There are millions of websites and several Facebook groups devoted entirely to the love of sponge candy.

How did I miss this stuff?

It's easy as sin to make, and the results are a sugary, toffee, melt in your mouth crunchy treat. Before I made it, I thought that Sponge Candy got it's name from it's spongy texture. No. It actually looks like a sponge when you break it open. Plus you can dip it in chocolate. How cool is that, ladies?

Try it out:

Sponge Candy

1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 Tbs. baking soda

Line a 9-by-13 baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray. In a large saucepan (at least 3 quarts) combine sugar, dark corn syrup and white vinegar. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.

Insert candy thermometer and cook to 300 degrees (hard crack stage). Remove from heat, sprinkle with baking and stir very quickly, making sure it's evenly combined. The mixture will bubble and expand.

Pour into prepared pan. Do not spread, as mixture will spread itself. Cool.

When candy is thoroughly cooled,turn pan over and tap it to loosen candy. Break into pieces. Makes 16 pieces (but really more like 16 big pieces and 3278 broken chards).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just Me and the Chicks

My parents never let me have a puppy. (Insert pout here.)

My parents did, however, let me keep a little goldfish that I won at the Flowertown Elementary carnival when I was six years old. I named the goldfish "Spunky."

Then our family went on vacation for a few days to Atlanta, Georgia. My parents accidentally forgot to make proper arrangements for a pet sitter to take care of Spunky, and when we arrived back home, Spunky was sideways.

So, forget the fish. Forget the puppy. I'm all grown up and I can have whatever pet I want. After all, I clothe, feed and care for four children. And everyone knows that kids are way-hey-hey harder to take care of than a goldfish.

I want a chicken. I want two or three or four. (Ok, Josh, just three!) I want to raise them from tiny chicks so I can hear them go "peep! peep! peep!" I want to be like Cinderella in that scene where she's singing and throwing chicken feed to the chickens and they all swarm around her like she's a rock star. I want to take a darling little wicker basket lined with a fat quarter of quilting fabric to collect eggs in the morning. I want my children to clean out the coop so they can grow up to be hard-working, chicken-fearing adults.

Current zoning ordinances in my city don't allow chickens to be within 50 feet of my house or a neighbor's house. (Sure, those big, mean black birds can poop all over my car and terrorize my children, but cute li'l chickies can't roam freely in my yard?)

Can we change the 50 foot rule? My city councilman said that there is someone "working on it." I'm trying to go through all the proper channels to change the zoning ordinance. It may even take up to a year.

In the mean time, I'm going to keep in touch with my councilman, write letters to the mayor and start sewing a darling little ruffled apron to wear when I feed the chickies.