I love Halloween – in fact, I would go so far as to say it’s my favourite holiday and my favourite time of year. It’s not the same thing over here – while you get the crisp autumn nights, there’s no leaves turning, no treat or treaters at the door and no trips to Milburn’s Orchards for apple cider.
I used to be so into Halloween that I used to draw a map of my neighbourhood as to how to get the most candy in the short amount of time between sunset and when I had to come home.
It’s hard to recreate all the things I loved about American Halloween in London, but I’m starting by baking with some of the treats I loved (and some new ones this year!)
You can see Caramel Apple Milky Ways, autumn coloured M&Ms (although I think these could also be used for a Thanksgiving treat), pumpkin spice Hershey Kisses (ditto), candy corn M&Ms in my beloved white chocolate and finally, the illusive Candy Corn Oreos (subject to much internet chatter).
I’m excited to show you all my autumn treats and I wanted to start with the quintessential autumn candy: maple sugar candy. Having grown up on the east coast of the US, I’m quite snobby about my maple syrup (none of this Aunt Jemima imitation crap for me!) because we always brought gallons home from family trips to Vermont. In London, maple syrup is almost worth its weight in gold as it has to be imported from Canada, so this is a delicious, if costly autumn treat.
Maple Sugar Candy (adapted from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Sugar Baby)
1 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
7g unsalted butter
a pinch of salt (not pictured)
Hint: this, like other candy recipes, cannot be made without a candy thermometer. End of.
Heat the maple syrup, unsalted butter and salt in a saucepan to 235F. Use high heat and stir fairly constantly. As soon as it hits 235, take it off the heat (this is the point where we pour it into a glass jug) and leave it untouched until it cools to 175F.
Once it cools to 175C, you need to QUICKLY mix it for a few minutes until it looks a bit lighter and thicker (want to trap more air in it, but you need to work fast). Pour into the moulds (I have a lovely set of maple candy moulds).
Let them set overnight. And then eat. Oh, yes. Try to resist eating them all in one go!
Other fall treats include: