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Making Allergy-Friendly Candies

By Pamela Lee

Making your own is a great way to come up with allergy-friendly candy – for the holidays and beyond. And it’s creative. The following recipes are free of Canada’s top 11 allergens (includes the U.S. top 8), and I avoid using corn syrup.

Sunflower Cups

Here’s a favorite: an alternative approach to the peanut butter cup.

To make cups

  1. Mix the sunflower seed butter and icing sugar together to form a thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Using a candy thermometer, in a double boiler temper the chocolate chips by melting until the temperature is 125 degrees F, then cooling to 84 degrees. This results in a glossy finish and a snap when cooled. (If you melt the chocolate without tempering, it won’t look as good.)
  3. Spoon the chocolate into  molds, making sure to cover, not just the bottom, but also the sides with chocolate.
  4. Let chocolate set (become solid), then spoon in the sunflower mixture.
  5. Spoon on the top layer of chocolate. Leave in the mold until ready to eat.

Next: Boiled Candies

Next are our boiled candies: lollipops, toffee and caramels.

Boiled Candies

Working with boiling sugar requires total attention, but the results are so worth it.

Tools: You’ll need a large, heavy pot (for instance cast iron); a candy thermometer; a pastry brush; a wooden spoon; a long-handled ladle; food grade silicon  molds (I used Lekue  molds); lollipop sticks; and parchment paper (to pour the candy on and wrap finished candy).

• Work with a glass of iced water beside you, and stay at th­e stove while sugar is heating. As the mixture boils, dampen a pastry brush and run it around the inside of the pot to stop sugar crystals forming.

• Heat the mixture slowly until the heat is high enough to keep the temperature going up – but low enough that the sugar doesn’t burn. The finished mixture will be extremely hot.

• Before you start, pour a few inches of warm water into your sink and prepare your molds. Plan your steps while waiting for the sugar to boil.

Next: Raspberry Lollipops

Raspberry Lollipops

To make syrup 

  1. Over medium heat, stir together 1 cup (250 mL) frozen raspberries (or other berry) and 1 cup of sugar. Cook until a thick syrup forms, then strain to remove seeds.
  2. Stir in zest of one lemon.

To make lollipops

  1. Dissolve the sugar in water at low temperature, then increase heat to medium, making sure the temperature is high enough that your candy thermometer level is increasing, but low enough that the sugar won’t burn (this takes at least 20 minutes).
  2. Now boil until the temperature reaches “Hard Crack” – 290 degrees F (143 degrees C). Remove the mixture from the heat, and carefully place the pot into the warm water in your sink. This stops the cooking.
  3. Add syrup, stirring until completely incorporated.
  4. Make sure your molds are handy (I place them on parchment paper so spills are easy to clean), then ladle the boiling hot mixture into silicon molds.

Next: Caramels




 To make caramels

  1. Mix together all ingredients except vanilla, and heat until mixture reaches “Firm Ball” stage – 242 degrees F. This takes at least 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, and place your pot into a sink with warm water to stop the cooking. Add vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour into parchment paper-lined 9 x 13-inch pan while still warm. Use the back of a knife to score into 1-inch square pieces.
  4. Let cool completely overnight and break into pieces. Caramels can be wrapped in parchment paper or cellophane.

Next: Toffee



To make toffee

  1. Mix all ingredients and heat until temperature reaches Hard Crack stage – 290 degrees F. This takes at least 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from heat, and carefully place pot into a sink of warm water to stop the cooking.
  3. Pour into parchment paper-lined 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan, then score with a knife into 1 inch pieces, and let harden. It should break into pieces easily.

First published in Allergic Living magazine.
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