Wonders Of Halloween

Now I know we are getting in early but this is the month for Oh Hallows eve …. For those in the know understand that I am meaning the tradition of Halloween … some think its an American tradition , How would you feel if I told you it dated back further then that….

Halloween or Hallowe’n (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as All Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of All hallow tide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed. Though it didn’t use to link with this holiday over the years The Mexican day of the dead has been changed to coincide with this date. In old times it use to be celebrated for 3 days , In this day in age its only done on 31st October.

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First of all make it a whole family thing … Get the kids involved in carving a pumpkin , you can find some neat patterns online … They don’t have the be perfect that’s the joy of jack ‘ o lanterns they aren’t meant to be perfect. Just have fun with the kids or the family doing them … They also can be done in any sort of pumpkin not just the orange ones.

images (4)If you don’t want to carve them , Paint some … If you dont want to paint some pumpkins .. Paint some balloons and hang them up.

If you are like me and you don’t want to be giving out just any old sugar full candy you can try some of these healthy tips for when the trick or treaters come calling.

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Our Gummy Bears , Fresh Mints , Organic lolly pops  or our Children Treats are great to give out as they are , they are wrapped and the kids do think they are getting a lolly or two and in truth you are giving them a healthy alternative.

Another one you can do is purchase some of our lovely Mints and Gums , Put a couple of mints and a couple of gums into some little snap lock bags and give them out … The good thing about this is if you want to get a little creative you can either print off some Halloween stickers or buy some from your local $2 shop and put these on the bags and make them Halloween candies.

f you are really creative or you are having a Halloween party you can try making some of our sugar free candies … Don’t turn your nose up on this we don’t add the nasty sugar substitute aspartame we use our amazing Xylitol … this is good for your teeth and your waist line.

If you are making it for the kids to be handed out you can again put it in little snap lock bags and then put the spooky stickers on the bags .

 

Xylitol Halloween Candy

What You Need:

Ingredients:

xylitol

flavoured oil or concentrated candy flavouring  (NOT alcohol based extracts such as vanilla)

cream of tatar (potassium bitartrate) (NOT tartaric acid)

citric acid – fine crystals or powder. Sometimes sold as ‘sour salt’ for cooking( don’t mix this up for ascorbic acid they are different

Equipment:

double boiler or two nesting saucepans

silicone baking mat or heavy duty aluminium foil

stove top, burner or other controlled heat source

small kitchen scale or set of small measuring spoons (1/16 teaspoon, 1/8 teaspoon etc.)

Packaging:

Glass Mason jar (1/2 cup size), or

Small metal tin with tight fitting lid, or

Food safe plastic container

Making the Xylitol Candy & the Recipe

General Process:

  1. Melt xylitol, cream of tartar and citric acid to make syrup
  2. Remove from heat and add flavouring
  3. Pour syrup out onto cooling surface
  4. Let crystalize/set
  5. Break into serving size pieces

No need for candy thermometer. DO NOT add water to make the xylitol syrup (unlike what you do for sugar hard candy or taffy).

Xylitol Crystal Candy Recipe

1/2 c. xylitol (sugar alcohol)

1/16 tsp. (1 pinch, .4 gram) cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)

1/16 teaspoon (1 pinch, .4 gram) citric acid

Flavouring (Peppermint oil or another oil based flavouring you wish to use) DO NOT use vanilla extract or other cooking extracts with water- they are two weak and the water will interfere with crystallization (hardening) of the xylitol.

 It’s All in the Details

Details:

  1. Use a double boiler(or a small pan floating in a pan of boiling water)- do not let water splash into the xylitol – it will interfere with crystallization)
  2. Place xylitol, cream of tartar and citric acid into top of double boiler, mix well. Heat over boiling water (simmer) until melted. Should take about 15-20 minutes to melt.
  3.  Crystal will melt around the edges first, then gradual wet the entire pile of ingredients. Do not stir until everything is ‘wet’ looking. Best to let it melt without stirring until it is a pretty clear syrup.
  4. You can stir last few lumps, but more stirring seems to produce more small crystals in the final candy. Syrup crystalizes very quickly on the spoon, so use a fresh spoon each time. The goal is a clear syrup.
  5. When fully melted, turn off heat. Quickly stir in flavouring(2-4 drops pure oil like peppermint oil or other flavouring you wish to use). I got harder candy using flavourings with less water, the ones that listed other ingredients before water.
  6.  After adding flavour, remove top of double boiler and quickly wipe the bottom dry with a cotton towel.

 The Aftermath

  1. Immediately pour syrup onto a silicone baking mat or a sheet of heavy duty aluminium foil (shiny side up). you can even pour it into some candy silicone molds if you have these. Work fast and efficiently – more scrapping of the pan seems to cause more crystals to form. If the syrup freezes in the pan before you get it all out, reheat pan over boiling water to re-melt and finish pouring. Best if the mat or foil is on top of an insulated surface (air bake cookie sheet, wood cutting board – not cold stone counter top). We want the crystals to form slowly so they are bigger and harder.
  2. Let syrup self-level,should be about 1/8-3/16 inches (3-4mm) thick.
  3. Set aside in dust free area to set. White/opaque areas of sheet crystal will form, usually starting in the areas where the last bits of scrapped syrup fell. Good candy will form shiny flat crystal sheets. It may take up to 3-4 hours for sheet to fully crystalize. If the whole things sets in less than five minutes you might find the candy is fragile and grainy as it is made up of many tiny crystals. In this case, you can re-melt the candy, adding extra acid. The flavouring may evaporate, so add a little more right before you pour the syrup.
  4. 10Break candy into small pieces (about thumbnail size), put into decorative tinglass mason jar or plastic container with a tight lid. Keep xylitol dry and it will stay fresh for months. (I’ve never had any last longer than a couple months before it got eaten). Xylitol does not seem to absorb moisture like sugar candy does, so it’s unlikely to get sticky and should keep a long time.

 

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Trouble shooting:

Xylitol crystal candy crumbles or breaks easily: If the surface looks grainy and dull, the crystals might be too small. Add more citric acid or cream of tartar. Make sure your flavouring is not high in water, water may slow down crystallization. Make sure that water does not splash into your pan. Try stirring the syrup less – be patient and let the ingredient liquefy on their own.

Xylitol syrup takes many hours to solidify, or stays sticky: You can add some seed crystals, just use grains of xylitol straight from the package. Use less acid. You can re-melt the sticky candy and add plain xylitol to dilute the acid concentration. (Note: the xylitol syrup will almost always set, but it might take overnight.) Reduce the amount of flavouring.

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Now remember just because its not your holiday doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean something to other people ….Also just because you celebrate it doesn’t mean other do… respect each other for the differences we have as that is what makes us human…. And if you really want to celebrate Halloween in all its glory and want to celebrate more then just eating heaps of sugar … Go visit those loved ones that have left us and Honour them on this day as well.

 

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And for those of you Not celebrating the day … Have a wonderful day also , If you try making the candy everyone please share the photos on our Facebook page we would love to see them.We might even look at doing a prize for the most creative candy made.

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