With Halloween just around the corner, we start to think about what sweet treats we can provide for the trick or Treater’s that knock on our door, well instead of mass buying sweets from your local supermarket, why not try some homemade sweet treats that are sure to please even the most disconcerting palette.
Now, you may be thinking that you don’t have the time to create these masterpieces, however this is not true! If you set aside a few hours, you can create these tasty sweets in next to no time, and the best part, you will of course have to taste test them We recommend making a few extra as one is never enough!
We have selected 2 of our absolute favourite lavender sweeties, that are not only delicious but can be wrapped for ease when the trick or treater’s start their rounds.
¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon culinary dried lavender
200 ml (5/6 cup) heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Rodelle organic vanilla extract)
3 tablespoons honey
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for the pan)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel
Read all the directions before getting started. Stuff happens so fast and you want to make sure you’re prepared for what’s coming next. The times in this recipe are estimates and will depend on the side of pot you’re using, so use the temperatures as your guide. Also, make sure that you have an accurate candy thermometer – 5 degrees off will drastically change the texture of your caramels from soft and chewy to more like sugar daddies.
Begin by making lavender sugar. Pulse the sugar and lavender in a food processor until the lavender is finely ground.
Butter an 8×4-inch baking pan and line the bottom and edges with parchment paper, cutting slits in the corners so it will lay flat. Butter the parchment paper, as well. (I used a glass bread dish for one batch and another smaller baking dish for a second batch. If you only have an 8×8 pan, double the recipe.)
In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream and vanilla over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low to keep it warm while you prepare the rest.
Heat the sugar and honey in a separate small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and it starts to boil, about 4 minutes. (I recommend between a 1.5-quart and 2.5-quart saucepan; any larger and you’ll have a hard time using the candy thermometer as it won’t full submerge in the caramel).
Stop stirring and clip a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot. Let the sugar boil without stirring at all, until it reaches 305°F, about 3-5 minutes. While it boils, grab a clean wooden spoon or rinse and dry the one you were stirring with before.
Add the butter and kosher salt, and slowly stir in the warm whipping cream. Be careful, as it will react and sizzle quite a bit when you start adding the cream. The temperature will also drop when you add the cream.
Keeping a close eye on the thermometer, continue stirring until the temperature is back up to 250°F. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan. DO NOT scrape the pot or you’ll end up with crispy bits in your caramels.
Sprinkle the fleur de sel on top and set the pan on a wire rack to cool until fully set, at least 5 hours (I kept mine overnight).
Use the parchment paper to pull the caramel sheet out of the pan and place it on a pastry board or cutting board. Peel the parchment paper down from the edges. With a large sharp knife, cut the caramels into bite-sized squares (I cut 13 rows of 4) and wrap them tightly in wax paper or parchment paper squares. The caramels will keep wrapped for up to one month.
4 tablespoons powdered gelatin
1 cup (240ml) warm water
660g caster sugar
1 1/3 cups glucose syrup
2/3 cup water, extra
3 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
200g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
35g (about 3 tablespoons) corn starch
Place the gelatin and warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer, stir well to combine and set aside.
Place the sugar, glucose and extra water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for 5-6 minutes or until soft ball stage (115ºC/240ºF) on a sugar thermometer.
With the mixer running at high speed, gradually add the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture. Add the lavender and beat for 10 minutes or until thick and fluffy.
Pour into a lightly greased 25x35cm (10x14in) baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper, cover with lightly greased non-stick baking paper and refrigerate overnight (I used regular baking paper and oiled it very well).
Place the icing sugar and corn starch in a bowl and stir to combine. Turn the marshmallow onto a surface lightly dusted with a little of the icing sugar mixture and carefully remove the paper. Cut into 5cm (2in) squares – to make cutting easier, dip the knife in boiling water and wipe dry between each incision.
Dust with remaining icing sugar mixture and store in an airtight container