Dandy caramel treats

RECIPE FINDER

October 15, 2003|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Michelle Pennington of Centralia, Ill., wrote: "The recipe I would like to request combines a soft, buttery caramel wrapped around a marshmallow creme filling. The candies were rectangular in shape and wrapped in wax paper that was twisted at the ends. I bought these candies for years but can't find anything similar now."

Valerie Lowery of Louisville, Ky., responded. "This referenced request caught my eye as it is near and dear to my heart, being from Louisville, Ky., the birthplace of the Modjeskas, the candy I believe Michelle Pennington is looking for. It is usually placed in the limelight at the time of the Kentucky Derby Festival.

"These delicious candies are placed into gift baskets and are set out at parties as an exquisite example of what Kentucky can offer. ... Many sell these candies which can be shipped anywhere in the world."

Caramel-Wrapped Marshmallows

Makes about 20 candies

2 cups white sugar

1 cup light Karo syrup

1/2 pound margarine

1 large can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk

pinch of baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package regular-sized marshmallows

Allow 1 full hour for preparation and follow instructions exactly. Do not attempt on a damp or rainy day. Boil the sugar and Karo syrup until mixture reaches 254 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Add the margarine and stir until melted. Keep the syrup boiling as you add the milk, a little at a time and stir constantly. Add a pinch of baking soda and the vanilla and boil and stir until mixture reaches 237 degrees (or soft-ball stage).

Pour into a buttered pan, without scraping the sides of the pan. Allow to cool until comfortable to the touch. Cut into 1-inch squares. Take each square of caramel and stretch out flat enough to fold around a marshmallow. Wrap in waxed-paper squares. Or cut caramel into smaller square and dip in chocolate. Or just cut in squares and wrap as caramels. A modjeska is the caramel-wrapped marshmallow.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "As with all candy-making, be sure to proceed carefully - that sugar syrup is hot! The key with this caramel is to get that burnished brown color without taking the mixture past the soft-ball stage (the candy will harden too much if you take it up to 242 degrees (firm ball) or 250 degrees (hard ball) ).

"The other key point is that you need to mold the caramel while it's still hot (but won't burn you). Otherwise, it gets too firm to wrap around the marshmallows. The rich caramel would also be lovely wrapped around cashews or other whole nuts. Store the candies in an airtight, low-humidity spot and they will last several days. Beyond that, they get sticky."

Recipe requests

Nancy M. Stewart of Aberdeen is seeking a recipe for a dessert that she had at Morton's restaurant. She says that she believes it was "called a Chocolate Volcano." It was a chocolate-cake creation that, when cut, revealed a raspberry lava filling.

Linda M. Ott of Amsterdam, N.Y., is seeking a recipe for a spinach dip that she had when she dined at the Cheesecake Factory in Chicago. "It was served warm with tortilla chips and was delicious. We would love this recipe."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number.

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