In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of a new book that celebrates candy in its many forms—specifically, crafted into pirates, castles, cars, critters, and so much more. Candy Construction is Sharon Bowers’ new follow-up to her equally whimsical Ghoulish Goodies, which offered Halloween recipes and instructions for creepy eyeballs, cocoa bats, and monster cupcakes. While Candy Construction isn’t Halloween-themed, it still has plenty of fabulous ideas using all kinds of colorful sweet treats.
Check out this elaborate pirate ship. You’ll form the ship itself out of Rice Krispies Treats, pretzel rods, licorice, and fruit leather. An Oreo becomes the steering wheel, and there’s even a treasure chest made out of chocolate squares. The pirates are made from licorice, jelly beans, candy raspberries, and fruit leather.
Want to make your own candy creations but don’t feel up to tackling the pirate ship or castle? Here’s a Halloween-appropriate creepy critter that’s simple to make.
What You’ll Need
Caramel string or licorice string (such as Twizzler’s Pull-n-Peel)
Life Savers or other round candy with a hole
Royal Icing Glue*
Mini Dots or other small round candy
What to Do
1. Cut a length of caramel or licorice string and tie a knot gently in one end of the string, just big enough to keep the candy from falling off. Use another string (of a different color, if desired) to cut several strands about 3 inches long to serve as legs.
2. Start sliding Life Savers loosely onto the main string, varying the colors to make a pattern, or stringing them on in a motley array. After every three Life Savers, tie one of the leg strings around the central string, leaving the ends hanging downward. Then push the Life Savers up against it and continue until your critter is as long as you like.
3. When you reach the end, knot the string gently again, being careful not to pull so hard that you break it.
4. Select one end for the front, and use a dab of royal icing glue on two Mini Dot eyes. Use a toothpick to dab royal icing pupils on the eyes. Tie additional string just behind the head to serve as antennae, but turn this knot so that the strands point upward.
5. Trim the legs so that they’re even, to give a better impression of waving centipede legs.
*Royal Icing Glue
Makes about 1 cup
What You’ll Need
1 egg white (Note: There is a slight risk of Salmonella or other foodborne illness when using raw eggs. If you are concerned, you can use pasteurized egg white or 2 teaspoons of powdered egg white mixed with 2 tablespoons water in place of the raw egg white)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
What to Do
1. With a hand mixer, beat the egg white and lemon juice until frothy. With the mixer at medium speed, gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is thick.
2. Turn the mixer to high and beat icing until the mixture is thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Cover the surface with plastic wrap while waiting to use it.
Note: Royal icing will set to a firm, glossy finish when dry. Extra icing can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
(images: Kevin Kennefick, from Candy Construction by Sharon Bowers, used with permission from Storey Publishing)