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Stark Mary Jane

By Todd Wilbur

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In 1914, Charles H. Miller came up with this molasses and peanut butter candy and named it after his favorite aunt. His candy company flourished, selling many confections, but none as popular as the Mary Jane. Eventually all other candies were discontinued and Mary Janes were the only candy produced by the Miller company. Miller tried playing with the formula to improve the candy, but none could compare to the original. In 1985, Stark Candy Company bought the Miller company and added the Stark name to the wrapper. Even though ownership has changed, the Mary Jane recipe is the same as it was over 100 years ago.

Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Cornstarch for dusting
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    • Instructions

      1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan over medium heat.

      2. Heat, stirring, until the sugar begins to boil, then continue to cook, using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.

      3. When the sugar reaches 240 degrees, or the soft-ball stage, beat the egg white in a microwave-safe bowl until it is stiff and forms peaks. Divide the beaten egg white, and throw out half. (We only need 1/2 egg white for this recipe, and it is easier to divide when beaten.)

      4. When the sugar reaches 265 degrees, or the hard-ball stage, stir in the molasses, then pour the mixture in thin streams into the egg white while beating with an electric mixer on low speed.

      5. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes and then pour half the mixture into a 9x9-inch greased pan and let it firm up in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.

      6. Combine the peanut butter and powdered sugar.

      7. When the candy is firm spread a thin layer of the peanut butter mixture on top.

      8. Microwave the remaining candy mixture for 1 minute on high, or until it becomes soft again.

      9. Pour the softened candy over the peanut butter layer.

      10. When the candy is cool but still pliable, (about 20 minutes later) turn it out onto a surface dusted lightly with cornstarch. Use a cornstarch-dusted rolling pin to roll the candy to about 1/4 inch thick.

      11. Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut the candy into 1 1/2x1/2-inch rectangles.

      Makes 30 candies.

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