I’ve recently reconnected with a friend from grad school days, Tamara, who turns out to be Dutch like Barb and myself. When I mentioned something about making Banket, Tamara chimed in with appreciation and anticipation of her own banket-making enterprise. She also mentioned that one of the Dutch family heirloom recipes that she inherited from her grandmother was Babbelaars, which Tamara explained are a kind of hard butterscotch candy that you pull like taffy. OF COURSE I begged the recipe from her, which she graciously shared. Here they are, in Tamara’s words:
Here’s the full text of my grandmother’s recipe:
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup dark Karo syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 t. salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 T. vinegar
Boil till hard crack stage. Pour into buttered plates and pull when slightly cooled. Cut in pieces.
My grandmother used to make these regularly when my mom was a girl (we only make them at Xmastime), and she used to give my mother a babbelaar during church — just before what my mom called the “long prayer” — to keep her from getting fidgety. 🙂 They are tasty if you like to suck on hard candy — a nice sweet taste that’s not overwhelmingly sugary.
I asked Tamara to clarify what “hard crack stage” is, and here’s her note on that: I checked with my mom, and she says it’s about 300 or 305 degrees. Many candy thermometers will indicate the different stages (soft ball, hard ball, soft crack, and hard crack) right on the thermometer. Or, you can test the candy the old fashioned way (the way my grandmother did). You spoon a tiny bit of the molten candy and toss it into a cup of cold water. If it’s solid when you pull it out, you’re at “hard crack” — if it’s anything softer than solid, you’re not there yet. And my mother warns not to go beyond hard crack — babbelaars burn quickly once you pass that point, and then they taste burnt. Good luck! 🙂
One last note. When I told Barb about this recipe, she said, “OH! I remember having those when I was a little girl!” I don’t remember them, so I must’ve been a baby when our grandparents brought some as treats for Christmas. In any case, many thanks to Tamara for sharing this family treasure (and please feel free to share any other family heirlooms with us!)