March 25, 2014

turkish delight bars

I remember way back when I first starting cooking with chocolate, thinking it would be so difficult. I was a bit intimidated by the thought of it, but as it turned out, it was quiet simple. Candy is a whole other story. My pastry chef cousin gave me a pretty cookbook for Christmas and of all the delicious looking macarons and cookie and cake confections I selected the most complicated recipe to try first. It's not a two person job by any means, but I was thankful for JD's help, especially with the gelatin / boiling sugar parts. The recipe was clearly written for someone who had done this sort of this before. I had to read the directions several times and redo the gelatin because it was out of order.


For the base:
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup self rising flour, sifted

For the Turkish delight:
4 teaspoons of gelatin (the equivalent of two packets of Knox gelatin)
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup water, extra
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons rosewater
red food coloring
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 12 inch pan and line with parchment paper, letting an inch or two hang over the sides. I ended up using a 9 x 13 inch pan as I didn't have the proper size on hand. It worked fine, but the bars came out a little thiner than preferred. 

With an electric mixer, beat butter, superfine sugar, and extract until combined. 
Stir in sifted flours. Press mixture evenly over the base of the pan. Lightly rake a fork over the surface and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Now comes the tricky part.

Reserve one tablespoon of the "extra" water. 

In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir the extra water (minus one tablespoon) and white sugar together, without boiling, until it dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to a boil and let it be, uncovered, without stirring until it reaches a temperature of 240°F. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes without stirring, regulating the heat to maintain a temperature of 240°F. Remove from heat.

*A candy thermometer is recommended as it reads those higher temperatures, but we ended up using a regular meat thermometer. The dial will continue to go around, you just need to eye where the marker should be. 

Stand a small heatproof container in a small saucepan of simmering water. 

In the small heatproof container, add the two tablespoons of water (note: this is not the "extra" water). Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and stir until it dissolves. 

*We used a measuring cup for this part and it worked out much better than our first attempt with a larger bowl. 

In a separate bowl, blend cornstarch with the reserved 1 tablespoon of "extra" water, gelatin mixture, rosewater, and a few drops of red food coloring until smooth. Stir into the sugar mixture and return it to heat, a simmer. Stir for about 3 minutes or until the mixture becomes opaque. 

Next, you strain the mixture over the bar base. This is important because there will be quite a bit of undesirable clumpy things that you wouldn't want on the bars. Let stand at room temperature for 3 hours or overnight. Use a hot wet knife to cut the bars as the candy will be difficult to cut otherwise. 

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and enjoy!

This recipe makes approximated 24 bars. The recipe recommends storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

The bars came out pretty good if I do say so myself. JD and my mother liked them as well. Though, as previously mentioned, it would have been nicer had the candy layer been a little thicker. Candy is still intimidating, but I did learn a good deal. It will be much easier the next time I make them.

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