People often ask me if I ever have cooking disasters when making hundred-year-old recipes. And, I usually say, “No, that’s very rare. I like some recipes better than others, but most recipes turn out fine. A few I really like and they become part of my regular recipe repertoire, and I make them many times.”
But today’s post is an exception – I made a hundred-year-old recipe for Glace Nuts that was a disaster. Let me explain.
I wasn’t quire sure about using a pin to dip the nuts in the syrup as described in the old recipe, but I had some fairly long pins so decided to give it a try. (Did they use hat pins a hundred years ago when making Glace Nuts?)
First, I put the ingredients a saucepan and brought the mixture to a boil. I regularly checked the temperature with a cooking thermometer – 240° F. . . . 264° F . . . 285 ° F . . . 296° F. I decided that it was time to get some waxed paper (it probably was similar to oiled paper) out to put the nuts on after I dipped them in the sugar syrup.. I put pieces of waxed paper on several plates, and then looked at the boiling syrup – oh dear, it was brown. I turned off the heat and grabbed the candy thermometer. – 320°. Maybe the syrup was only slightly discolored.
I put some cold water in the sink and lowered the saucepan into it for a few seconds. Then I put some water in the microwave to heat. When it was hot, I poured it into a shallow pan, and then set the saucepan with the syrup in it. I inserted a pin in a walnut and carefully dipped it into the syrup; then I removed the sugar-coated walnut, and laid it on the waxed paper. I repeated the process with four more nuts – as the syrup rapidly began to thicken and then harden in the pan. Clearly not watching the cooking syrup closely enough and letting it reach a temperature of 320° was causing problems. I also noticed that the dipped nuts were sticking to the waxed paper.
I decided to make a fresh batch of the sugar syrup. Sugar doesn’t cost much. It would only take a few minutes to make the syrup, – and I’d watch it like a hawk to ensure that I took it off the stove at exactly 310°.
Twenty minutes later I had a another batch of the sugary liquid. I put it in cold water then, then set the saucepan in some hot water. And, I inserted a pin in a nut and began dipping once again.
One nut. . two. . . three. . . four. . . five nuts. . . the syrup again began to get very thick. I inserted a pin in the sixth nut, and immersed it into the syrup. The rapidly thickening syrup began to pull the nut off the pin. I instinctively reached with my hand to grab the nut before it fell off the pin – and my middle finger and thumb slipped into the hot sticky syrup. OUCH! I’m burned!
Dang it! My fingers hurt – but then I smiled. I always seem to have a minor crisis or disaster during the mad rush in the days before Christmas. This apparently is my disaster this year.
I do not recommend this recipe – and since I don’t recommend it, I not going to update it for modern cooks.