This is the second of two mozhee recipes I have for you. The first, Mozhee #1, is an old recipe that lists “barrel molasses” as an ingredient which will yield a strong flavored candy which some people find it a bit bitter. This recipe is an old Pa. Dutch one and uses table syrup (like King’s Table Syrup or Turkey Brand Table Syrup) which yields a milder tasting candy. The basic method of preparation is similar for either.
Mozhee (aka Moshee, Moche, Mozhy among others; meaning molasses related), is a hard molasses candy and a Coal Region favorite for generations. It is often sold at bake sales and fundraisers. It always seems to sell out quickly and people often request the recipe here. Many people often recall their mother or grandmother making it and many cooks continue the tradition, especially during the holidays.
Mozhee needs to be cooked to what is known in the candy making world as the “hard crack” stage – 300 to 310 F degrees. Brittles and lollipops are made from syrup heated to the hard crack stage. As a sugar syrup is cooked, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, and the temperature rises. The highest temperature that the sugar syrup reaches tells you what the syrup will be like when it cools.
A candy thermometer can be a cook’s best friend when making cooked candy, whether the cook is a novice or expert in candy-making.
Whether you are experienced at candy making or not, a good-quality candy thermometer can be your best friend and help eliminate “goofs” due to incorrect cooking. To use the thermometer, stand it upright in the candy syrup so the bulb is completely immersed in the liquid. Do not let the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Clip it in place.
Some very experienced candy makers use the “cold water method” when making candy from sugar syrups. During the cooking stage, the pan of candy is removed from the heat and a small spoonful of sugar syrup is dropped into a bowl of very cold water. The cook immerses their hand into the cold water and tries to form the sugar into a ball then removes it from the water.
By examining the shape and texture of the resulting candy blob, the cook can determine the approximate temperature of the sugar syrup. This method takes a fair amount of practice and may result in several failed batches while you learn the method.
Mozhee #2 (or Moche)Course: Snacks, Candy, DessertsCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
This treat is a hard molasses candy and a Coal Region favorite for generations.
3/4 cup King’s Syrup or Turkey Table Syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water
Optional – chopped English walnuts, chopped peanuts, and/or shredded coconut
- Prepare your choice of either pie pans or muffin tins by buttering generously. Set aside.
- Combine sugar, molasses, butter and water in a heavy 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Cook until a brittle thread forms in cold water, or use a candy thermometer and heat to 300 to 310 F.
- Remove from heat. Add vanilla.
- Pour quickly into well buttered muffin tins, (about ¼ inch of candy in each) or into buttered pie pans sprinkled with nuts and/or coconut, if desired.
- When cool, pop out of tins and wrap in waxed paper. To eat: smack candy against hard surface to crack into bite-sized pieces.
- Makes 20 to 24 muffin sized pieces.
- Work quickly but carefully when pouring; the candy mixture is very hot and starts to harden quickly.