City of Ghosts & Candyman

Diana and Carrie discuss haunted cities, fish and fries er chips er crisps, pasta pizza, PB+B+CC, more 90s fancy pasta dinners, red wine, and honey candy. We don’t summon any demons (…).

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Traditional Korean Sugar Candy

SKKS Dalgona

In episode 17 of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Kim Yoon Hee and Lee Seon Joon are out about town (supposed to be figuring out where the geum deung ji sa is) when Yoon Hee spies a street vendor selling dalgona, also known as bbopki, or a simple Korean sugar candy, similar to honeycomb or some peanut brittles (without the peanuts). Today in Korea, it’s typically made like a flat lollipop, but sometimes, as back in the day, it’s simply a blob. A sweet, crunchy, airy blob with a touch of bitterness.

In the show, the vendor swirls the sugar mixture onto a long skewer, cotton candy-like, and hands it to the pretending-not-to-be-a-couple couple and Seon Joon shakes his head “no” when Yoon Hee hands one of the candies out to him. But then he takes it from her playfully and is pleasantly surprised by its flavor. Yeah, Seon Joon needs some sweet up in that sour face of his. 😉

SKKS screen shot 2 dalgona

I don’t have a large metal ladle* like what would be best for this recipe, so I used a large metal serving spoon over the open flame of my gas stove. If you don’t have a gas stove, use a big candle (this will probably take a little longer to heat up!) or one of those cans of flame (“Real Flame” or “Flame in a Can” etc.). I also went the lollipop route instead of the swirled-up blob, because it’s prettier :).

Dalgona/Bbopki Sugar Candy

  • 1 Tbsp. White or Raw Sugar
  • Pinch or so of Baking Soda

Line a large tray with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Have a small cookie cutter at the ready if you’d like a design in your candy. Put about a tablespoon worth of sugar onto a large metal spoon & hover it over the flame, stirring the sugar with a small skewer or chopstick. The sugar will gradually melt into a golden liquid. The darker the liquid gets, the more bitter.

Once the sugar is completely melted, stir in a pinch of baking soda & watch Science happen! Carbon dioxide is emitted, making lots of tiny bubbles so the mixture becomes foamy & rapidly increases in volume! Add a tiny bit more baking soda if you’d like, to really puff it up. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t overflow from the spoon & drip into the flame!

Quickly pour & scrape the mixture onto the parchment paper (or silpat) & place the tip of the skewer into one side of it. Usually the mixture is flattened with a quick press from flat metal, but I didn’t actually need to do that (you can though if you want). Press the little cookie cutter down on the mixture, not going all of the way through, but making a deep impression. When it cools, try to eat around the shape! In Korea, if you can do that with one you’ve bought from a street vendor, you get a second candy for free!

*If you have a large metal ladle, try 2 tablespoons of sugar & about 1/2 tsp. baking soda. or, experiment with a little pan & larger quantities! Have fun with it!

SKKS dalgona 3 straight
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 33: Sungkyunkwan Scandal

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Chocolate Caramels

AoGG choc caramel header

“I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I’ve often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always  wake up just when I’m going to eat them.”

–Chapter 3, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anne’s cup of happiness was full, and Matthew caused it to overflow. He had just got home from a trip to the store at Carmody, and he sheepishly produced a small parcel from his pocket and handed it to Anne, with a deprecatory look at Marilla.

“I heard you say you liked chocolate sweeties, so I got you some,” he said.

“I’ll just eat one to-night…I can give Diana half of them, can’t I? The other half will taste twice as sweet to me if I give some to her.”

–Chapter 12, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

AoGG choc caramels closeup html

Chocolate Caramels

  • 1/2 Cup Cream
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (I used Butter Vanilla emulsion)
  • 1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Course Sea Salt for sprinkling on top

Line a small baking dish with foil, & then spray the foil with non-stick spray. In a medium pot on medium heat, bring the cream to a bubbling simmer, & then place a candy thermometer in the pot. Add in the sugar, corn syrup, & honey & stir it constantly with a wooden spoon until the thermometer reaches about 257ºF. Quickly remove the pot from the heat & stir in the butter, vanilla, & fine salt (you’ll need to stir really well to get it thoroughly combined).

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined dish, spreading it out evenly, & let it cool completely. Coat a cutting board & large knife with some non-stick spray, & then flip the caramel block onto the board & peel off the foil. Cut the caramel into bite-size cubes, re-non-sticking the knife as needed.

In a double boiler (pot with a few inches of simmering water with a heat-proof bowl resting on top, not touching the water) pour 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Place your (cleaned) candy thermometer into the bowl & bring the chocolate, stirring occasionally, up to about 118ºF. Remove the bowl from the heat & stir int the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate bits until they melt & then temperature lowers to about 80ºF. Put the bowl back onto the pot & bring the temp. just up to about 87ºF, stirring so that it’s all nice and smooth. Remove the bowl again & you’re ready to dip your caramels!

Line a large tray with parchment paper. Using a fork, lower 1 caramel bite into the chocolate at a time & flip it around so it gets completely coated. Lift it out with the fork & place it onto the parchment paper. Continue this process until all of the caramels are coated & on the parchment. As the coating is still solidifying, sprinkle a little coarse sea salt onto the tops of the candies. Let harden completely & then share with your friends, family, & fabulous little orphan girls!

Adapted from a recipe in T Magazine.

AoGG choc caramel bite html
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 22: Anne of Green Gables

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