Saturday, October 24, 2009
Our newest endeavor is making candy. We've been short on cash in this house and the candy business has been our answer. Laae and Toamwane had been making the candy to earn some money for their daughter's first birthday party. Since then Laae had been pretty tired and not home very much to keep it up regularly so Conn and I decided to learn the process to help out more. This will add to our contribution for the family needs. So, in the evening around 8:30 or so, Conn puts the kids to bed and I start cooking the candy. The main ingredient is sweetened condensed milk. We use 6-8 cans each batch. I put a little oil to cover the bottom of the pot, then empty the cans into the pot cleaning them out as well as I can with a metal tablespoon. The pot goes onto the stove on high, stirring constantly until it boils. When it comes to a full boil (watch out because it splatters), reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir constantly making sure it doesn't stick and doesn't burn. While I am stirring (6-8 cans takes about 40-50 minutes), Conn puts a big of oil in a large mixing bowl and two trays. Also a bit of powdered milk in another bowl to roll the finished candies in. Conn usually takes over the last 10 minutes of stirring because I'm usually tired by then, and because it's getting really thick and hard for me to scrape the bottom. We know it's done when it's thick and dark caramel brown. The candy gets scraped into one tray so it can spread out and cool enough to be rolled by hand into balls. Bit by bit it goes into the bowl so that part will cool faster and get rolled. Usually Conn pinches off the right size pieces and I roll it into a ball and regulate the size. The other tray is for the balls to cool and harden enough before tossing them in the powdered milk. The rolling process takes about an hour. When we're finished, we count them from the powdered milk bowl into containers to be taken to school and sold for 10 cents each. 6 cans makes about 200 1 inch balls. The candies are very similar to caramel, although Conn says they're not. It's a bit tiring, but we prepare mentally for it all day, and we only do it Sunday-Wednesday and sell leftovers on Friday. We sell all the candies by Friday so we've been doing good so far. We're going to make a bit more this week (30 cans of sweetened condensed milk) and see how we do. This money pays for laundry soap, gas for the stove, rice, fish, sugar, flour, etc. for the household. We're also hoping to save up for the long term break from school in December when we won't get paid and school will be out so we won't sell as much candy. It's pretty easy to make once we've gotten the hang of it, and it gives Conn and I time to talk together and talk with his sister and her husband when they help roll the candy. The kids really like to eat the candy, especially Parker, so we try to make it at night when they're asleep. Let me know if any of you try it at home. I'd like to know how it turns out. I'll probably keep making it (in much smaller quantity) when we return to the US.