This is the first time that I have participated in the Get Your Chef On challenge, and I am very excited about it. The challenge is hosted by Julie from White Lights on Wednesday and Jen from Four Marrs One Venus. The ingredient this month is applesauce, which reminded me of a recipe that I have been wanting to make and post for awhile now.
In north central Washington State is the town of Cashmere. One thing that Cashmere is famous for is that it is the home of Liberty Orchards. Liberty Orchards makes wonderful, jellied fruit candies from apricots, apples and other fruits. When most people have an Aplet, they immediately fall in love with it’s fresh apple taste contrasted with crunchy nuts. It used to be that if you did not live in the Pacific Northwest, you could not get this candy. Now, with the internet, you can order the candy and have it shipped anywhere.
Fortunately, many years ago I found a recipe in Farm Journal’s 1970 Homemade Candy book called Northwestern Apple Candy that produced a very similar candy. They, of course, could not call the candy Aplets. The candy is not difficult to make, but it must be allowed to set overnight. Over the years, I have adapted the recipe to suit our tastes.
Although the candy may be made starting with fresh apples, I usually take the shortcut and start with purchased unsweetened applesauce. Two tablespoons of unflavored gelatin are needed. This will not necessarily equate to two packets of gelatin so the gelatin must be measured. Most of the time, I find that it is necessary to use almost three packets to get the two tablespoons. I add a couple drops of red food coloring to make the mixture a pretty pink, but it is optional and can be omitted. Normally, I use walnuts, but almonds and pecans are good also.
Like many candies, these are best if not made on a day with high humidity. It causes the confectioner's sugar to dissolve into the candy. This does not affect the taste but does make the candy remain a bit sticky.
Pink Applesauce Candy
adapted from Farm Journal’s Homemade Candy
2 c. applesauce
2 T. unflavored gelatin
1/2 c. cold water
2 c. sugar (reduce to 1 1/3 c. if using sweetened applesauce)
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
T. lemon juice
3/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
red food coloring (optional)
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch (up this amount to 1/2 c. if the humidity is high)
Place applesauce in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until very thick, stirring often. This will take about 10 minutes. Soften gelatin in the cold water. It will become very thick. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add to the applesauce, stirring well. (There will be some foaming) Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is again very thick, about 15 minutes. Add gelatin; stirring until it is dissolved and the mixture is very thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, nuts and a few drops of red food coloring. Turn mixture into an 8-inch shallow glass dish that has been rinsed with cold water. Let stand 24 hours. Sift confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch into a shallow pie pan. Cut candy into 8 strips, turn and cross cut candy into 8 strips. This will make about 64 pieces. Roll each piece in the sugar mixture. Place on a rack until the outside is dry. Repeat rolling if necessary. Store in covered container. Makes about 1 lb., 12 oz.
If you would like details about the Get Your Chef On Challenge, you can visit this information page at White Lights on Wednesday.