I just finished cleaning up the worst food catastrophe of my life, except this stuff refuses to be cleaned. My fingers are sticking to the keyboard. Lesson, never trust a recipe if it sounds too easy. Compare it to a couple of others just to be safe.
I love peppermint sticks, but I haven't had any in years and years because, to my knowledge, there isn't any in Israel. I got the idea to look up a recipe online and I found one that sounded really simple. It even came with a recommendation from some guy who made them with his son on a rainy day. No mention of any special skill needed or special problems resulting.
The next thing was to find peppermint extract here. Janglo gave me the answer to that. One store in all of Jerusalem had just one bottle. I made a special trip and it didn't come cheap. I rationalized the expense by telling myself I'd give bunches of them for Chanukah treats.
I kept putting it off. I couldn't find a good block of time to devote to it, but then I realized Chanukah is not that far away now, so tonight was the night. OMG!
The first problem was that I don't think I cooked it long enough. The recipe said til hardball stage (that's candy-maker speak for a high temperature, but I don't have a candy thermometer). I know softball because I make fudge. Hardball is just harder right? Only I find out much later that it really should have been softcrack ( a higher temp still). Go figure!
I divide the candy mixture into two greased platters as instructed and begin to add blue food coloring to half of it (red is too much like xmas). Only thing, this blue food coloring came out brown and smelled suspiciously like vanilla. AGH! It's ruined, so I quickly divide the other half into smaller halves and quickly add red food coloring because I can't trust my eyes to find blue this late at night.
It was already cool to touch, so I started mixing in the food coloring with my hands. OMG! The recipe said to form it into ropes. It said nothing at all about "pulling" the candy like the other recipes I checked out after the fact. OR USING PLASTIC GLOVES!!!
The more I tried to pull it off my hands the more they got stuck. I couldn't even wipe it off on the edge of the platter. Then my glasses started sliding down my nose. I tried to push them back up with my forearm, but then one ear piece came loose and then there was no stopping them going plop into the goo that I wasn't able to scrape out of the platter.
I finally gave up trying to salvage the disaster and threw about half of the stuff onto a greased cutting board. The rest I tried to wash off my hands with soap and very hot water. OMG! I had pink candy coated dishes all over the kitchen. I gave up trying to keep the red and white separate. (I figured if I get out of this one, to heck with the alternating colors.)
The pot I cooked it in was so glued to one of the platters that I actually thought it was stuck there for good. The stuff that was stuck onto my glasses was like cement. But the wad of goo itself wasn't getting hard.
The dishes are all cleaned now and my glasses survived, thank G-d. There are three pink puddles on my glass cutting board, but I'm afraid to touch it. I think I'll just leave it there and see what happens when my granddaughter sees it in the morning.
I've lost any desire I had for peppermint.