Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America
Mother said we were going to make a special sweet today. It will require a great deal of time and patience. Josh and I are not very patient people. But Brent was very excited. He likes to do things properly so he will be patient. I hope he will like it when it is completed. Brent likes everything that is sweet. Josh is going to watch us. No one can see Brent or Josh so I know it will be safe to have them near Mother and Sister. We don’t often make these types of sweets as Mother prefers to use our cone of sugar with fruit. Father likes to have a special treat now and then and Mother enjoys surprising him. We are all eager to begin.
Mother cooks the sugar until it turns brown. She calls it caramelized sugar then. It is boiled until casse. It has to be very sticky before it turns the right color. Mother will not let me near the kettle. Sister told me if any should splatter on my skin it would burn because it would not run off easily. I do not think I would like that. I am not allowed to even help pour the mixture. It smells good and the color is a brown with gold. Sister has hair that is that color. She is always rinsing it in vinegar water because she thinks it catches the color of the sunlight. She is not THAT tall.
It would be good if this mixture would not turn hard. I would like to taste the flavor of it on other things. Perhaps cake, or ice cream. Brent explained to me that this would be a good “sauce”. Sauce is not made to eat by itself. It is used to make something else taste better. Josh agreed. He must also be familiar with “sauce.” I think that is a very good idea. Brent told me that he thinks milk added to this confection would make it even better. I do not know. I like this hard boiled sugar very much but perhaps he has a new recipe that Mother has not tried yet…………….
*Barley Sugar – Boil some clarified loaf sugar to the crack or caramel degree, using a little acid to prevent its graining: pour it out on a marble slab, which has been previously oiled or buttered. Four pieces of iron, or small square bars, are usually employed to form a sort of bay to prevent the sugar running off the stone, which is necessary in large casts. When the edges get a little set, remove the bars, and turn them over into the centre. This is occasionally flavored with lemons. When it is required, pour a few drops of the essential oil of lemons in the centre, before the edges are folded over, then cut it into narrow strips with a large pair of scissors or sheep-shears. When nearly cold, twist them, put them into gasses or tin boxes, and keep them closed to prevent the access of air. It is seldom boiled higher than the crack, and saffron is used to make it the color of caramel.
*The Complete Confectioner, Pastry Cook and Baker