by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Sunday, January 6, 2013
Homemade Seafoam Candy
However, my dad was a huge over of good, homemade candies and sweets, so he would often take me across that busy street and into the cozy shop that smelled of happiness. And sugar. Perhaps they were one in the same. I was mesmerized by the rows of chocolate in so many forms encased in those glass cases. Looking back, I can't remember what my favorite homemade candy was. It may have been the brightly colored clusters of rock candy sticking out from their wooden pole like a technicolor Christmas tree. Or maybe the fat bouquets of balloon-like suckers... or the candy canes striped like barber poles in the glass jars next to the cash register.
But I do remember what my dad's favorite candies were. He always, always brought home fat, homemade turtles and little chocolate-covered rectangles of seafoam. Those were the chocolates of my childhood. I tended toward the turtles - the seafoam seemed like such a grown-up treat to me. But every once in a while, I would crunch through one of those little cuboids to get to the airy center, and let it melt on the warmth of my tongue. I have not had seafoam since we moved away from Grand Rapids. It's been 25 years.
Or rather, I hadn't until a few days ago. I mean, it's something that I remember fondly. One of the good memories of my dad. It's just that I've never really seen it since. I'm sure it's around. Somewhere. Every once in a while I get little urge for some. It's been on my to-make list (aka my culinary bucket list) for a few years now. It finally just came down to that whole "what are you waiting for" thing.
Oh, and just in case that wasn't enough, I've found that some people also known Divinity as Seafoam. I can see that, since Divinity actually looks like a little cap of sea foam, but I'm going with the candy that I associate with the name Seafoam. And that is the crunchier, yet equally airy, deep-caramel-tasting version you see here.
It took me two tries to get the result that I was looking for. Not too shabby. My first go round yielded a somewhat holey, yet together all-too-flat version. Plus the amount of baking soda was so high that it gave both me and the husband a stomach ache. Not pleasant. After going back to the drawing board, I started a second batch - it uses only half the baking soda of what most of the recipes I've come across use. But it still produces amazing air bubbles and height. And the taste is spot-on to what I remember. I made my second batch in a loaf pan, just to see what would happen. I won't do that next time. It's fine, but it makes for difficult scoring and breaking. It tastes the same, it just looks more...shall we call it...rustic. If you're going for more uniform squares or rectangles to dip entirely in chocolate, you'll want to make this in an 8 or 9-inch square pan and probably score it just before it gets too hard to do so. But no matter which way you do it, it will taste the same.
So, what does it taste like? My daughter put it perfectly when, after her very first bite, she said "it tastes like a perfectly toasted marshmallow". Huh. I never thought of it like that before, but it really does. Not the texture, mind you... just that warm, toasted sugar taste. She likes it best plain. My oldest son, like me, loves it dipped in chocolate. My little guy, he's on the fence. I think he feels that "grown-up candy" thing I felt as a kid.
- 2 c. water
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs. corn syrup
- 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1½ tsp. sifted baking soda
- 12 oz. chocolate (milk, bittersweet, dark)
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil, optional
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.