WRV Introduction to Culinary and Hospitality students are ready to hand out candy and cookies prepared in class to all administrators, faculty, and staff.
As you already know, I associate Christmas time with baking. From the very first year I began teaching Family and Consumer Science, I had students make candy and cookies for the White River Valley faculty and staff.
It takes two weeks to make a variety of candy and cookies and we spend time learning all about the principles of preparing these products.
Like, did you know there are two types of candy and six types of cookies? And, did you know that they each have their own characteristics?
There are crystalline and noncrystalline candies and they both begin with a sugar syrup. Crystalline candy should be smooth and creamy like fudge. In order to get this consistency you must create small sugar crystals from your sugar syrup.
To accomplish this goal you must heat the sugar syrup to a specific temperature, cool it to a specific temperature and beat vigorously. Every year we practice making fudge using my Granny Mary Jo’s peanut butter fudge recipe.
The first year I taught students this my granny actually came to WRV as a guest and helped me teach them how to make fudge. Please take time to make this recipe this holiday season.
When making noncrystalline candy you do not want sugar crystals to form. There are a few ways to prevent crystal formation. One way is to heat the sugar syrup to a super high temperature. Another way is to add an interfering agent like milk. Some recipes have you do both.
This year we tried our hand at caramels and gummies. Unfortunately, neither one turned out as expected. They were delicious, just did not have the right texture. Cooking does not always work out just as you expect and candy making can be particularly tricky. We still learned a lot and I believe that you can learn even more from failing than from succeeding. So, we will try again next year.
Now, about cookies. There are rolled cookies, refrigerator cookies, drop cookies, spritz cookies, molded cookies and bar cookies.
This year we made the most sugar cookies I think I have ever made. We used Mrs. Louie’s recipe. She is a former WRV teacher. She taught fourth grade at L & M and each year would bring in bags of cookies for her students and friends. From what I understand she also handed them out to trick-or-treaters.
Her recipe made over 100 cookies. These cookies were delicious, so soft and savory. Students got to do so much rolling. Then we used a variety of Christmas cookie cutters and cut out so many shapes.
Students also prepared Double the Chocolate cookies, Molasses cookies, Haystack cookies and more.
It was so fun to work in the kitchen preparing candy and cookies with WRV culinary students. I look forward to it every year.
Granny Mary Jo’s Fudge
3 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks butter
2/3 cup Milnot milk
7 ounces marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package peanut butter chips
In a saucepan on medium heat combine the oleo sticks, sugar and Milnot milk. Stir together until it comes to a boil, then cook for five minutes.
Take off burner and immediately add one package of peanut butter chips. Then add seven ounces of marshmallow cream and one teaspoon vanilla. Stir with a large spoon until it blends together.
Pour into buttered 9” x 13” baking dish
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner