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Author Notes: If there’s one romantic gesture that’s sure to woo, it’s naming a candy after the object of your affection. That’s exactly what Louisville, Kentucky, candy maker (and French immigrant) Anton Busath did to spotlight just how enamored he had become with Polish actress Helena Modjeska. In the late 1880s, the Shakespearean actress had a large cult following in the U.S., and often performed in downtown Louisville where Mr. Busath would watch, dreamy-eyed, during her shows. Ms. Modjeska was also the first person to produce a Henrik Ibsen play in the country (A Doll’s House, of course) in 1883.
While the story didn’t end quite happily ever after for Mr. Busath and Ms. Modjeska, this caramel-covered marshmallow candy has gone down in history as a testament to love and, well, super-fandom.
Recipe adapted from Kentucky Sweets. —Sarah Baird
Makes about 15 candies
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vanilla marshmallows, store-bought or homemade: https://food52.com/recipes/39603-classic-vanilla-marshmallows
- Generously grease a marble slab or baking sheet and set aside. If using homemade marshmallows, cut into 1-inch squares. If using store-bought marshmallows, slice in half crosswise.
- In a heavy-bottom pot with a candy thermometer attached, combine sugar, syrup, and 1/2 cup of cream over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Pour remaining 1/2 cup of cream into a small saucepan and warm (but do not boil) separately over low heat. Once the sugar mixture begins to boil, add the remaining warmed cream in a slow, steady stream. Add butter a half a tablespoon at a time, stirring until combined, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow the mixture to boil until the temperature reaches 238°F, “soft ball” stage.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in salt and vanilla extract. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and in that time, grab your greased baking sheet or slab. Using a fork, dip the marshmallows in the caramel until completely coated on all sides, then place on the greased baking sheet. Repeat to your heart’s content. Allow candies to rest for 2 to 3 hours until fully set, then wrap individually using wax paper. Store in a cool, dry place.