The name of this dessert is created by me since I have never know the real name for it. What I know is that this dessert has been around for maybe thousand or year in China. Since I was small I always curious at tasting this dessert because when I was small I like watching Kung Fu movies and usually the pretty girls in the movie likes to go to the market on the street and they love to buy this dessert for obvious reason, because they taste good!
So when Richard brought me to Taipei Night Market for the first time many years ago and I saw this dessert for real for the first time, I just got to eat it and I am hooked since then. I love strawberries but usually they are always so sour. The way I like to eat my strawberries is by dipping them into sugar. Now, this dessert has the same taste except it is crunchier and it's easy to eat it while you are walking around in the night market.
That's why I was so happy to find this dessert at Richmond Night Market. Even though it cost $ 3 for 3 strawberries on a stick, I am gladly pay for 2 sticks, one for me and one for my son.
The next day, I went to search my candy recipe book for this recipe. The last time I went to Taiwan, I saw a DIY ( Do It Yourself ) candy recipe book that actually is written in Chinese but when I saw this recipe, I bought it. Normally I only buy Taiwanese recipe book that is written bilingual in both Chinese and English so I don't have to asked Richard to translate it for me. But this time I need his help.
When I make this dessert I found that the recipe or maybe Richard translation ( I doubt that I made the mistake ) is wrong. First of all the amount of salt is too high. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt, no way that is right. I think it should be just a pinch. Then the boiling temperature is I think is also wrong. The recipe said I should boil the sugar mixture until it reaches 145 degrees Celsius and when Richard converted Celsius into Fahrenheit it comes to :
145 degree Celsius = 293 degree Fahrenheit
That is even above hard crack temperature when I think I should reach only soft crack temperature which is 260.
260 degree Fahrenheit = 126.7 degree Celsius
Then another problem that I encounter is, because this recipe is for home making so the recipe is just for a small amount and because the sugar mixture is just a little, it is hard to dip the fruit completely and fast. Why is it has to be fast? Because the sugar mixture is extremely hot and it cook the fruits and the fruits start to leak and slide from the stick and the fruits start to slide off the stick and went into the sugar.
So what I did was I use my silicon spatula as a spoon and I pour the sugar coating onto the strawberries. The problem with this system was it takes longer and because it takes longer the sugar get cool fast and the coating becomes to thick. And when the coating is too thick, it's hard to bite it because is like trying to bite through a hard candy. Another thing that I add is the red food coloring is just because those strawberries that were sold in Taipei Night Market are usually dip in a red sugar mixture, it gave a nicer red shine to it. So next time I made this again, I will need to do a lot of changes to the recipe.
CRUNCHY SUGAR COATED FRUIT ON A STICK
a pinch of salt
few drops of red food coloring
15 Tomato or 15 strawberries
Wash and dry the tomatoes/strawberries. stick a few for each stick.
Boil sugar, malt, salt, and water with medium to low heat. Stir constantly and wait when it reaches 260F or about 126C ( soft crack ) dip the fruits ( strawberries or tomatoes ) in and cool down. You have to do this fast.
Another nostalgic candy that I found at the Richmond Night Market is this dragon beard candy. The first time I ate this candy is when I was in Singapore. I like it because it looks pretty cool when they made it. Here is picture of a dragon beard maker in Taipei's market.
Then this is the picture of the Dragon Beard candy that I bought from Richmond Night Market. I show it in this picture what the filling looks like, it just ground peanuts and sugar maybe with a little bit of sesame seeds too.