It all started when...
I love to improvise and rarely just follow a recipe, even a tried and true one. I've had some great saves and successes, but also a few tremendous failures! One day I'm sure I'll learn not to change things and JUST FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS (unlikely though). Here's another instance of a sweet save from near disaster. I did learn that even recipes you've done dozens of times still require full attention and, apparently, real Marshmallow Fluff. I still remember the whole experience as if it was yesterday. It was very sticky, and comical, but mostly sticky.
I'd decided to make one of my favorite recipes from Taste of Home, called Chocolate Caramel Candy ( like Snickers, but better) to bring to Hospice. It's an older recipe from about 1998 or so and I’ve made it dozens of times over the years. It’s time consuming, but so worth it when you hear the oohs and ahhs. I thought I had everything I needed. Peanut Butter? Check. Salted Peanuts? Check. Chocolate chips? Check. Marshmallow Fluff? …uh oh..Not a plastic tub in sight. Darn. Luckily, there were tons of recipes on the internet for homemade fluff. All said about the same thing: one teaspoon corn syrup to 1 cup mini marshmallows, microwave about 45 seconds and then stir. Sounded perfectly doable. What the Fluff could go wrong?
Fluff Behaving Badly
So I started blissfully on the peanut nougat layer, melting the peanut butter and chips on the stove and making the homemade fluff at the same time in the microwave. When the microwave dinged, I took a look. It looked just the same as the white rubbery stuff from the store. Success, right? Seemed so. It had stirred the same as real fluff too. I took it out of the microwave and set it aside while I finished the nougat thinking all was well. But when I put the nougat into the homemade fluff and started stirring, it hardened immediately! I didn’t quite believe what I was seeing. The fluff is supposed to make the nougat thick, not crumbly. What had I done wrong? I looked back at the leftover fluff in the microwave bowl. It looked the same. I reached forward to touch it, stretching my fingers even as the not so tiny voice in my head yelled Stop! Danger! I didn't listen. It was daring me to come closer so I did. I quickly realized, however, that it was a grave mistake. I tried pulling back my finger, but its spidery white threads grabbed more fingers, then a spatula, a wooden spoon and a second hand. It was like Super Glue, only 'superer'. Quicksand, only quicker. It had a will of its own. If I didn’t act quickly, I’d be Frankenstein Fluff in no time!
As I sank deeper into the white abyss, a moment of clarity. I realized my elbows were still free. I dashed across the kitchen with the bowl to the sink and nudged on the water, hot water, with said elbow, and thrust the bowl, hands, utensils and all, under the warm waterfall. Ah, hot water beats sugar every time. Slowly the white blob retreated, turning back into its base ingredients and slithering down the drain. I was free, a mess, and so was the kitchen, but free. Whew! I'd won this round, or had I?
The Crime Left Behind
With clean hands, I turned back to my peanut butter nougat on the counter. It was already quite chunky and dry and I still had to add the peanuts. I might have defeated the Fluff, but it still left this treachery behind. Would it have the last laugh? I took a taste of the crumbly mess. Surprisingly, it tasted great, but just didn't look that great. Now, I’m not one to waste if I don’t have to, so I took a few moments to plan, then improvised. I sprinkled (instead of spread) the tasty, but granola-like nougat, fluff, and peanut mixture over the solid chocolate layer. The Caramel Cream layer came next, then more chocolate. These last two layers came out fine, but I wasn’t sure they'd hold together. Turns out, I was right (See below).
The little candies were crumbly, having separated between the caramel and nougat layers. Again, tasty, but not very visually appealing and who wants their candy falling apart before the first bite?
I refused to admit defeat. After a few minutes, I decided to go to my “save everything standby”: chocolate dip. What did I have to lose? Besides, a real snickers is covered in chocolate! So I melted and dipped and sprinkled some chopped peanuts on top. Success!
Moral: It's not always a lost cause, so get creative before pitching that hard work in the trash! Just watch out for the homemade marshmallow fluff. I'm telling you that stuff is downright dangerous.