Always wanted to try this, ever since I read Louis May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl when I was nine. Saleratus, by the way, is sodium bicarbonate: baking soda
Melissa, as Bryony, had a close relationship with the housemaid’s little daughter, Anna, much to John’s chagrin. They shared spiced hot chocolate at bedtime, and Melissa looked the other way when Anna sneaked candied orange peels.
Of course, once John was gone, the fun began in earnest. Melissa would hijack the kitchen to make molasses candy with Anna or share an entire boiled fruit pudding with the little girl for supper.
1 quart molasses
1 teaspoon saleratus, dissolved in a little warm water
Boil molasses until a small amount, when dropped into cold water, becomes crisp. Add saleratus and beat well. Pour into a buttered pan. Let cool 5 minutes, butter fingers, and pull until tan in color. Cut into sticks.
From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"
All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.
Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com/Dalton_s_Dry_Goods.html.