Today we are moving a long way away from the garden or growing food and square into pop culture. Tootsie Rolls® are one of Jake’s favorite candies. Figuring he has enough toys, I decided to make some of these for his birthday. Even though his birthday was a couple of months ago, we just got around to making the Tootsie Rolls over Thanksgiving. Last winter I made a variety of chewy caramels – caramel with nuts, with chocolate, a little grey salt, cayenne pepper, and some with a mix of these. They were a hit. I thought I remembered reading that to get to a Tootsie Roll like candy you just add coco powder. In reading various recipes for Tootsie Rolls I never did find a recipe for adding coco powder to chewy caramel to get what I am after, even though that is what I was looking for. I did find a lot of completely different, but generally similar, recipes for Tootsie Rolls.
This is one of those times where the new recipe is infinitely easier than my expectations. No thermometer, no boiling sugar and adding cream at just the right time, no waiting around for it to cool before you can start having fun with it – a long time from start to finish. All you do is mix all the ingredients by hand like kneading bread. Roll it out and cut to the desired lengths. If it is too dry, just add a little butter to get it moist enough to combine. This recipe is from Allrecipes.com.
There is apparently a substantial difference between “dry milk” and “instant dry milk”. Finding non-instant dry milk turned out to be a challenge. I ended up getting it from a natural food store, after looking in a few different stores and even going to a nutrition store that had it on sale on the website but when we arrived they had no idea what it was or why it was on their website. This little hiccup was similar to making truffles last year when I ended up going to a dozen stores to find good chocolate and a half-dozen stores to find hazelnuts. I guess I have to accept that there will be some seemingly common ingredient that will not be readily available and start going to stores early. With some advanced planning I think internet orders are in my future; I already have a few good chocolate manufacturers bookmarked for truffles this winter. They sell better quality chocolate at reasonable prices (meaning, less expensive than the production chocolate available around here).
I was able to enlist helpers over Thanksgiving because of the lengthy delay in making these. I started the kids off with mixing the ingredients in cheap plastic bags. That was a mistake. The amount of kneading that ended up being required was almost too much for the bags so we switched to sturdy freezer bags part way through. After an extra squirt of corn syrup to help moisten the mixture and a lot of kneading we had Tootsie Rolls. They tasted very similar to the regular ones with more of a chocolate flavor and were much softer. If we had been so inclined we could have cut various shapes with cookie cutters. As it was we just left it in the bag and pulled of pieces when we wanted some. I think these are going on the list of easy candies to keep.