QT Magazine - - FOOD -

THESE musk sticks taste like the ones we had as kids. A lit­tle crisp on the out­side, and ten­der in the cen­tre, these are the “goldilocks” of the musk-stick world — the aroma, flavour and tex­ture are just right. I must warn you they are rather more-ish, and all my guinea pigs agreed “they taste like musk sticks, only bet­ter”. You can dou­ble the batch if you have a big kid’s party on. Or even a big-kids’ party.


mild-flavoured cook­ing oil spray

4 small ge­la­tine sheets (6 g/¹⁄ oz in to­tal),

8 each about 7 cm x 11.5 cm (2¾ inches x 4¼ inches)

1 ta­ble­spoon liq­uid glu­cose

½ tea­spoon good-qual­ity musk essence a few drops of pure vanilla ex­tract

2 drops of red food colour­ing (op­tional) 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) ic­ing su­gar mix­ture, sifted Spray two bak­ing trays with cook­ing oil spray. Line the trays with bak­ing pa­per. (Oil­ing the trays first will help the bak­ing pa­per sheets ad­here, so they don’t slip around when you’re try­ing to pipe the musk mix­ture on to them.)

Soak the ge­la­tine sheets in cold water for 5 min­utes, or un­til soft and pli­able. Drain and squeeze out the ex­cess water.

Put the ge­la­tine in a saucepan with the glu­cose and 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) cold water. Stir over high heat un­til the ge­la­tine sheets have melted. Re­move from the heat and tip into the bowl of an elec­tric mixer fit­ted with a whisk at­tach­ment.

When the mix­ture is cool, add the musk essence, vanilla and food colour­ing, if us­ing. Add 125 g (4½ oz/1 cup) of the ic­ing su­gar and beat at low speed un­til well com­bined. In­crease the speed to high and whisk for 1 minute, or un­til smooth and evenly coloured.

Turn your ma­chine off and add the re­main­ing ic­ing su­gar. Mix in slowly, then in­crease the speed to high for about 3 min­utes, to en­sure it is all well in­cor­po­rated, and a lit­tle like a thick, raw meringue mix­ture.

Put the mix­ture into a pip­ing (ic­ing) bag fit­ted with a 1 cm (½ inch) star-shaped noz­zle and pipe 10 cm (4 inch) lengths on to the bak­ing trays. (If your mix­ture is too firm to pipe, sim­ply tip it back into the elec­tric mixer bowl and add ex­tra cold water, just 1 tea­spoon at a time, un­til you have a pli­able con­sis­tency. Just be care­ful not to add too much — a lit­tle water goes a long way in this recipe.)

Leave in a cool, dry place to set overnight. The musk sticks should be crisp and dry all the way through. They will keep in an airtight con­tainer for sev­eral months, but will soften over time, as su­gar is a fickle medium and its nat­u­ral mois­ture content de­pends on the weather.

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