I am treating myself to some candy today as I am facing another challenge in my home. I’m making Miss N. Decker’s Cream Candy from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book since it requires few ingredients and no cream.
I measured two cups of sugar into a saucepan and added 3/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water. I decided it might be better to add the vanilla near the end of the boiling. I let it boil for the 1/2 hour recommended in the recipe. It ended up just a little longer as it didn’t seem very thick. Then all of a sudden it was caramel coloured so I removed it from the heat and added the vanilla. I poured it out onto plates to cool.
Miss Nellie K. Decker was a shoemaker according to the 1901 census. It shows 19-year-old Nellie living with her parents John and Veronica along with two older sisters, six younger sisters and three younger brothers. Mr Decker is a shoemaker and is listed a Lutheran but his wife is Roman Catholic. The oldest girl appears to be listed as a another religion but it is very difficult to read. The children of working age are in manufacturing (shoes, buttons, and boxes). Ten years later the older children are out of the house but there are still seven at home. I’m assuming Nellie married as she doesn’t appear in the 1911 census under the name Decker.
Nellie’s sisters and brothers must have loved the days she decided to make candy. I think this is intended as a pull type of candy, perfect for a family with lots of hands to help make and eat it. She says to flavour with vanilla but I added some rosewater to some of the candy and other flavours could be added instead. I stretched and pulled the candy but still ended up with something more like taffy than the hard candy I expected. The colour lightens as it is pulled. I accidentally used pickling vinegar instead of regular vinegar but it doesn’t seem to have affected the taste of the candy as I feared. The nice thing about candy is that even when it doesn’t turn out as expected it is usually still edible. I might try making Miss Decker’s cream candy again on a less humid day.
1 pound white sugar, 1 wine glass vinegar, 1 tumbler water, vanilla, boil 1/2 hour and pull if you choose.