Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peppermint Humbugs

Peppermint humbugs are the next treat on our long list of Harry Potter foods. Funnily enough, they only appear in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The second time they appear is at the Start-of-Term feast, but the first time is the morning after Harry learns he is a wizard:

"Hagrid's coat seemed to be made of nothing but pockets-- bunches of keys, slug pellets, balls of string, peppermint humbugs, teabags... finally, Harry pulled out a handful of strange-looking coins"
(Sorcerer's Stone 62).

Can I just say that I love the name of this sweet? Traditionally they're black and white, but come in lots of colors today. Apparently they're a bit of a joke in Britain, but they taste pretty good, and are the first candy I've succeeded in making 100% correctly (yay!). Also, it would be really easy (and much more attractive) to split this recipe in half and color it two different colors to be twisted together, like Dinah Bucholz suggests. It is her recipe that I'm using today.

You Will Need:
1/3 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
food color of your choice 
Cooking spray

1. Spray an 8"pan (I used a bread loaf pan, which worked fine) with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a small-medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cream of tartar, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has started to boil. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash them down.
3. Place a andy thermometer in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 260 degrees.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract and food color. Mix well.
5. Pour the syrup into the prepared pan and let cool for a few minutes.

6. (If you have a low tolerance to heat, wear heavy rubber gloves, oiled with cooking spray for this step) Oil your hands with cooking spray and pick up the candy. Begin pulling and twisting, folding in half often and as necessary. This might be difficult at first, as the texture will still be a squishy glob.

7. Repeat over and over, pulling, twisting, folding. Eventually it will become opaque and shiny.

8. When the candy is too stiff to fold/twist/pull anymore, snip the rope at 3/4" intervals (with scizzors you can wash/don't mind getting sticky). The candies will look like teeny little pillows. Don't let the candies touch each other, as they are still very sticky.

9. Cut pieces of parchment paper (or commercially-produced candy wrappers) into squares and use them to wrap the candies individually. Store in an airtight container. Apparently after 2-3 days, they will fully recrystallize. 

And enjoy! They make pretty delicious little breath-minty candies!


  1. I think when you said "andy thermometer" you meant "candy thermometer." Typos: we all understand.

  2. My candy never turns out like that. It's always so crumbly. How would I make it not crumbly?

  3. I tried the recipe twice and it ended up crumbly too. Something is wrong with the instructions.

  4. Note that it is 260° Fahrenheit