I’m going to start off this blog with the story of out attempt at making Turkish Delight. It’s a wonderful dish that comes from (I think) Europe. It’s a gelatin sweet covered with powdered sugar and corn flour and is absolutely delicious. Some of you may remember it from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie. You know, when Edmund sells out Mr. Tumnus for ‘Sweeties’. Honestly I love the Chronicles of Narnia series, though that may just be my fascination with the actor Ben Barnes who plays Caspian. He’s such a pretty man!
Moving on. We had decided to make this sweet because many of our baking attempts come from recipes we find on a website called “The Geeky Chef” which deals with foods one would find in all sorts of fandoms from The Legend of Zelda to Harry Potter to Star Trek and then back agiain. To those who know the Geeky Chef kudos and to those that don’t and have a hankering for butter beer I recommend you check it out.
Now my dear friend Risky and I have been trying to successfully bake together for a couple of years. It started out with superhero sugar cookies, which, surprisingly, turned out rather well if not a little too sweet from the abundance of icing we used to coat them. However since then our attempts have been saddening and very misguided. Trying to bake simple chocolate chip cookies had ended in disaster when our first batch burnt to a crisp and when second batch finished the chips we had used were very, very stale. Pudding that Risky made refused to thicken and ended up becoming a frozen pudding popsicle and our Lembas Bread (From the ever popular Lord of the Rings franchise) was more like Lembas Brick after we kneaded the dough far too much. Recently we had decided to try our hand at Lemon Tarts and ended up causing them to taste severely of burnt sugar. It was a rather disheartening experience.
But to top all of that was our adventure in trying to make these Turkish Delights. I admit it was rather late in the evening and it had been a long day but it was still no excuse for the events that followed.
Our first attempt at the Turkish Delight began like many other of our endeavors to try and bake something delicious and praise worthy, with a hopeful optimism that was tinged with fear that this dish would end in failure like our last stab at baked goods.
Unlike some of the other times we began by actually reading and rereading the directions before jumping right into the cooking pot, so to speak. When we had thought we had committed the recipe sufficiently to memory we decided that we were prepared to begin.
With giddy smiles we gathered the necessary ingredients and tools (as well as accessed the google search engine because I can’t translate ounces to cups and teaspoons).But all too soon our hopeful smiles turned into worried frowns as we realised that one package to gelatin was far too much to put into only one cup of water. With reluctance, because we had wanted to accomplish our goal without relying too much on outside sources such as Google, (I kid, Google is god), we looked up the appropriate amount and proceeded to add it and wait until the gel had become ‘spongy’ before we added our next ingredients: the sugar and citric acid. This was fairly simple, we thought, because now it would just be a matter of stirring the mixture until the sugar had dissolved.
At this point we felt it necessary to double check the recipe and add the next ingredients: rose water, vanilla and food coloring (of which we had chosen blue because we were fresh out of red). As we mixed in the new additions we went back to the recipe yet again, only to discover that we had read it wrong. .. We were supposed to have allowed the gelatin/sugar/acid mixture to boil before adding new ingredients. It didn’t take much for us to know that there was no way to salvage the mixture (or our pride) at this point and decided it was best to start over. We were determined to get this right.
Attempt two started with my mother, who is actually a very good cook, chastising us to properly read the recipes. One of us is in university, we should know how to properly read directions. After a threat of destruction to the woman who gave me life, (in a joking manner of course), she left us to our devices.
This time, still determined to get this down, we proceeded to follow the directions up to the point where the sugar was supposed to dissolve. Almost immediately we noticed that something was wrong, very wrong. Unlike our first attempt the liquid mixture had turned a cloudy white instead of clear and a white film had formed on the top. Unsure if this was supposed to happen or not we decided that bringing the mixture to a boil (as we were supposed to do) would likely help clear the mixture. I will tell you now that it didn’t. Sadly it dawned on us as it reached a boil that we had yet again forgotten something important… the citric acid. In a flurry of swearing and flailing limbs we rushed to add the acid, hoping that it could save our concoction from destruction. But it was too late, Attempt number two had bested us, and like the first, had to be poured down the drain.
By the time attempt number three was made it was nearing twelve thirty in the morning and our actions were becoming increasingly clumsy despite numerous cups of tea and rock opera music. We had managed to spill water everywhere when we actually managed to add it to the pan with the sugar. This time we successfully remembered the citric acid, but it was at a cost. Too much was added. In our enthusiasm that came of doing something right we had overcompensated our abilities to properly measure the correct amount of the liquid. Our effort to try and do something right had gone horribly wrong and we had to start yet again.
Attempt number four also begins with more spilled water, this time accompanied with curses about our failed batches. We never suspected that this attempt had also been doomed from the moment we added the sugar and citric acid. This time, unlike any other time, we hadn’t realized that we had not allowed the gelatin to set first. In fact, we had not added the gelatin at all! We were literally making sugar water!
At this point it became like one of those movie moments where the main characters fall to their knees and break down into hysterical laughter, which is exactly what we did. It must have been a mixture of exhaustion and caffeine that caused this, but whatever it was or wasn’t we rolled on the floor for a few minutes, overly appropriate music playing over the radio as we mourned the loss of our sanity and an entire bag of sugar.
When we finally collected ourselves from the floor and fetched another bag of sugar from the pantry. We decided to make for attempt number five. We remembered the gelatin this time. It wasn’t much of an accomplishment at this point but we didn’t care. We were tired and tomorrow already seemed much too far away. When we had managed to dissolve the sugar properly with the water and citric acid, we were very excited that we had finally reached the boiling stage without any bungles on our part. We set the timer for twenty minutes, the time in which we were not allowed to stir the mix while it boiled. It was the longest twenty minutes of our lives. There was constant checking and fretting as the mixture began to bubble and froth. Amidst it all there were questions of “Is it supposed to do that?” and replies of “I think so.” It was tempting to go and stir the mix but assuring each other that this was what we were supposed to be doing, we managed to restrain the compelling urge. However the constant checking of the timer didn’t stop for longer than a whole minute.
When the boiling process was over we began to ready out other ingredients but checked the recipe again, just in case. Thankfully, this spared us from another dignity- and soul-crushing failure. We had to let the mixture sit for ten minutes off the heat before adding the rest of the ingredients. It is another ten long minutes filled with wondering whether or not we had done everything right.
Against all odds our mixture seemed to have thickened properly and we mixed in the rest of the ingredients with a sad epiphany that it had taken us so long to do something so seemingly simple. We scooped the gel into the pan after it was mixed and put it into the fridge to set further. Shortly after we retired to bed, exhausted from what had seemed like a terrible ordeal, for some much needed rest.
The morning came quickly and, after a breakfast of more tea and cinnamon rolls (that my mother, not us, had baked) we were back at work. The gel had seemed to set well but there was a slight snafu. We couldn’t get it out of the pan! Trying to cut it out proved that it just caused the gel to distort and clump. It was then we recognized our error, we were supposed to have wet the pan (which we had done during attempt two but had since dried it). There was no way the Turkish delight was coming out of that pan with anything short of magic.
The sweet, gelatin treat had bested us. And though after a little while we were able to get some out and dust it with the powdered sugar, it was still not what we were hoping for. It was lumpy, sticky and altogether looked unappealing. We are not made for baking it seems and sadly another confection had outwitted us.
Cookie Justice!!!! young Justice cookies plus Catwoman cause she’s awesome. Made by myself and friend Risky!~