|Moon Sugar; sweet and mysterious|
|Pure, uncut, from the wilds of Elsweyr. The first sample is always free. |
Image source Bethesda Game Studios.
The in-game picture shown above depicts pale but not colorless lumps or chunks of various sizes. It reminded us immediately of rock candy. Figuring that nobody really wants to wait a whole week for traditional rock candy to crystallize, eventually we found this easy microwave hard candy recipe, upon which we based the recipe below.
The land of Elsweyr is an exotic, somewhat mysterious desert land with a rich religious tradition, including some pretty hefty mythology about the moons of Tamriel: Masser and Secunda. There's plenty of in-game talk about Moon Sugar, but nothing specifically about which one, so it made the most sense to do a version for each moon.
|Masser and Secunda|
Image Source Bethesda Game Studios
Early recipes started with vanilla sugar and vanilla-cardamom sugar (vanilla bean pods and/or cracked cardamom pods scraped into a cup or two of sugar and left for a week to absorb the spices). That makes a good base, but I learned after a few trials that plain hard candy made this way will have a honeylike taste which tends to overwhelm the mildness of the vanilla. So it was back to the drawing board.
Eventually I came up with two good variations. The first was made with lavender sugar (made by putting two Tbsp of culinary lavender in with the vanilla sugar and letting it sit for a week, then sifting out the lavender). The end result is subtle and floral, with a lovely translucent golden color to it.
|Top: Sumac Moon Sugar (Secunda)|
Bottom: Lavender Moon Sugar (Masser)
It also occurred to me that any flavor we chose would have to fit in with a future Elsweyr Fondue recipe, which uses Moon Sugar as an ingredient. So instead of another sweet, floral herb found on the roads of Skyrim, we used Sumac.
I can hear you now: "What the hell is sumac?? Isn't that the poisonous stuff that gets you all itchy if you run into it in the woods??"
Well, that's poison sumac, yes... but culinary sumac is an entirely different animal. (Well, plant, really.) It's a small shrub which grows in tropical and subtropical zones across Africa, in dry desert lands much like the Khajiit homeland. The fruit is dried and ground into a rich purplish-reddish powder and used in Middle Eastern cooking. It's a little bit lemony, a little like cumin, and a little bit delicious and unfamiliar.
Here's the final recipe. For the Masser version, leave out the sumac.
1 cup vanilla, vanilla-cardamom, or lavender sugar (use standard white sugar only)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp sumac (for the Secunda version only)
Vegetable oil (a flavorless oil like canola) or vegetable shortening
1-2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Oil or grease a jelly roll pan. Mix the flavored sugar and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir. Cover again and microwave for another 2 minutes. Add the sumac at this point, if you're making the Secunda version.
|WARNING: SUGAR WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT!!!|
|You can dust with powdered sugar at this point, but there's an easier way. See below.|
Store in an airtight container.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this recipe will have you yowling to the full moon like a wild feline on a hot summer's night. You'll just have to try it yourself.