Monday, October 17, 2011

Martha Monday--Broken glass cupcakes

In the October issue of Martha Stewart Living, there's an entire spread of spooky treats and crafts for the Halloween season.  These "broken glass" cupcakes caught my eye, and I knew I had to make them for my October BUNCO fun night.  

The "glass" is actually caramelized sugar/water and it gave me a really hard time. I'd never made caramel before, and the instructions in the magazine were surprisingly vague.  I consider candy making to be fairly difficult, and a lack of clear directions only made the situation worse.

The first time I tried to make the "glass," I boiled the water and sugar mixture for too long (30+ minutes).  It hardened almost immediately when I poured it onto my baking sheet, but it was opaque.  I wanted my glass to be just like Martha's, so I tried again.

The second time around, I boiled the sugar/water mixture for 10 minutes and poured it onto the pan.  I let it sit for 18 hours, and it never hardened up. Basically, I had a nice simply syrup but no "glass."  So I decided to try again. 

On the third try, I let the mixture boil for 17 minutes.  It set quickly on the baking sheet, but part of it turned opaque and part of it remained perfectly clear.  When I tried to get the "glass" off the sheet, however, I had problems. The opaque stuff was coming off, but the clear "glass" was incredibly pliable.  Too pliable to work with, as it turns out...trying to get it off the pan was like pulling taffy.  It wouldn't shatter or break at all.

Finally, with my BUNCO pals due to arrive in just an hour, I choose to use the opaque parts of the third batch of glass and pitch the rest.  I used maraschino cherries and the juice to simulate the cut flesh look.  Creepy!

Because I didn't have enough "glass" for all the cupcakes, half of them remained plain for my shindig.  That's just as well, I suppose, as not everyone wants to be biting into a dessert that resembles a stabbing victim. 

Any advice for better broken glass for next time? The picture in the magazine was amazing, but obviously my attempt at "glass" fell short.  I'd really like to get this right before Halloween.  If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it goes.  Happy caramelizing!

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