From Redwall to the Imager Chronicles, the Hunger Games to the Lord of the Rings, good food plays a huge part in the spec-fic novels we all love. Surely I can’t be the only one who has wanted to try Lembas, or whose mouth watered at the descriptions of the feasts set in the red-stone Abby.
I and a few other bloggers have banded together this holiday season to bring to you some of our favorite geek recipes. More on that below—on to the yummy goodness!
One of the first fantasy series I read, the Chronicles of Narnia have had a prominent place on my bookshelf and in my heart since. And one of the most iconic scenes for me ever since I was a little kid was when Edmund first met the White Witch…
The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very center and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious…
Turkish Delight has since taken on a significance of epic proportions to me. When I first read that paragraph as an eleven-year-old, I’d never before heard of Turkish Delight and had no idea what it could be. From the description, I think I imagined something very sticky-sweet and fluffy, like a marshmallow. Even seeing the movie version didn’t change my mind—I just revised the marshmallow from white to pink, and rolled in powdered sugar.
A few years ago, when I started developing a bucket list of things to bake (yes, I know…), Turkish Delight made it promptly to the top of the list. And as soon as I was invited to join this blog hop, Turkish Delight popped right to mind. I didn’t settle on it right away (how could I, with so many other yummy options like Lembas, butterbeer, and pumpkin pasties?) but in the end, I kept coming back to that delicious candy that, combined with magic, convinced Edmund to sell out his siblings.
I started searching for recipes and quickly discovered that it could be really finicky. Really finicky. “Oh boy,” I muttered to myself, and kept pressing on. I texted a nerdy friend who also liked to cook, and asked if she’d ever made Turkish Delight.
“Yeah,” she texted back. “Don’t make the traditional rose-flavored kind. It tastes like old ladies.”
Being the weird people we are, that led to a few cannibalism jokes before she replied, “You know what I mean. The little old ladies who wear that super strong rose perfume you can smell a mile away.”
So, rose was out. But my friend recommended orange flavoring. Turns out, you can do almost any type of flavoring—I even found mentions of black licorice flavored Turkish Delight, which is almost what I chose. But I wanted there to be a chance that someone other than me would eat the stuff, and my husband and son both think I’m insane for liking black licorice.
The recipe I used was found in this Christianity Today article: Why You Won’t Like Turkish Delight As Much As Edmund Did.
The article is kind of fun to read, but here’s the recipe itself if you don’t want to click through:
- 2 c sugar
- 1/2 c cornstarch
- 1 1/2 c water
- 1/2 ts cream of tartar
- 2 tb rosewater OR one of the following to taste:
- 1/2 ts rose food flavoring
- 1/4 c fruit juice
- 1 tb vanilla extract
- 1 tb orange extract
- 1 tb Creme de menthe liqueur
- Food coloring (optional)
- 1/2 c chopped toasted pistachios or almonds (optional)
- confectioner’s sugar, granulated sugar, or desiccated coconut for dusting
Combine sugar, 1 c water, cream of tartar, and flavoring(s) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch with remaining water, mix completely, and slowly stir into sugar mixture. Boil over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture reaches “Firm-ball stage,” or 245ºF (120ºC) on a candy thermometer. Apply non-stick cooking spray to a form (ice cube trays will do nicely), shallow pie pan, or jelly-roll pan. Pour the hot mixture into the pan or form and allow to set. When cool, release from form or cut into cubes as applicable and roll each piece in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or coconut.
Store at room temperature in airtight container.
Note: with the exception of the sugar, cornstarch, water, cream of tartar, and cooking technique, this recipe may be greatly altered according to taste and/or occasion.
Here are the pictures of my process:
So, ultimately, what do I think of the fabled Turkish Delight?
Edmund had poor taste in friends AND candy.
OK, to be fair, it wasn’t awful. Justin even said that if it was firmer and chewier, he would really like it. My son…well, he doesn’t count, because I’m pretty sure little kids just like sugar anything. To me, it tasted like super-sweet, slightly-more-tasty jello, and I’m not a big fan of gummy candies anyway.
Still, I’m glad I took the time and made it. It was kind of a fun experiment, even though to be honest, I will never make it again.
All right, now for the fun stuff! As I said earlier, I’m doing this along with several other bloggers. Here are their blog links:
Be sure to go visit them on their days, because some of us are giving away some fun stuff! CLICK HERE for the main giveaway, a Geeky Chef cookbook bundle.
I am also giving away a signed copy of my Celtic urban fantasy novel, Forged Steel. To enter, please GO HERE to sign up for the Magical Ink Media newsletter–it’s run by me and two other authors, and we only email quarterly with news OR when we have a new release. I’ll pick a name at the end of the week! 🙂
Have a Merry Christmas!