August 7, 2007

How not to make candy corn

For the 13th post here at inediblog, it seems only fitting to talk about something that occasionally goes wrong.

On the left, we have a proper candy corn charm. On the right, we have what happens when the candy corn charm falls to the bottom of the oven and roasts for 20 minutes directly on the element. Burnt or dead. Perhaps oddly appropriate for Halloween, but still not exactly what I was aiming for. Eeek.

There is absolutely nothing more frustrating than sculpting a perfect charm, only to have it burn. Screwy shape? Smush clay and begin again. Wonky glaze? That can be fixed too. But there is absolutely nothing to be done for a burnt charm.

Thankfully, after many years of working with this clay, I've learned some baking tricks. Bake on parchment paper, use an oven thermometer and check the calibration of the oven monthly (it does go off), bake in smaller batches (20 ruined charms is much better than 100), and always keep some really good chocolate in the house. Why? Because nothing will make you feel better about having burnt several hours of work, but a bar of Lindt or Cadbury's Fruit and Nut will at least soften the blow. Whiskey will work in a pinch, too.

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