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Time to grab your backpack, notebook and Dixon Ticonderoga #2’s—it’s back-to-school time! But hey, let’s make this year a little more interesting, shall we?

How about candy-coated pencils for sucking in class? YES!!! *fist pump* (Remember, I’m from Jersey.)

I don’t deserve credit here. Back in 1994, just a few years after Roald Dahl’s passing, his widow Liccy compiled truly inspired recipes for the book ROALD DAHL’S REVOLTING RECIPES, based on his darkly humorous children’s tales.

There’s George’s Marvelous Medicine Chicken Soup from GEORGE’S MARVELOUS MEDICINE, Mr. Twit’s Beard Food from THE TWITS, and Mosquitoes’ Toes and Wampfish Roes Most Delicately Fried from JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. And while these treats might not be on your next tea party list, there’s also sweet favorites like Bunce’s Donuts from FANTASTIC MR. FOX and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake from MATILDA.

But considering the time of year, I thought it would be fun to share a recipe for making daydreaming in class a little sweeter.

CANDY-COATED PENCILS FOR SUCKING IN CLASS

Makes 6

You will need:

  • 6 pencils (Dahl’s favorite were Dixon Ticonderoga #2’s)
  • Play-Doh or other modeling clay (for standing pencils up)
  • candy thermometer (optional)
  • buttered 8X10 rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper
  • buttered knife
  • 1/2 pound sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP water
  • large pinch cream of tartar
  • few drops flavoring and food coloring
  1. Put sugar and water in saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Raise the heat. When syrup is almost boiling, add cream of tartar and a warmed candy thermometer.
  3. Boil without stirring to 250 degrees F, or until a little bit of the syrup dropped into cold water forms a hard ball (a ball that will hold its shape but still be pliable).
  4. Remove from heat, add flavoring and coloring. Do not over-stir and be careful, mixture is very hot.
  5. Pour mixture into rimmed, lined baking sheet. Edges will cool more quickly then the center, so as the mixture cools, turn the edges inward with a buttered knife, but do not stir.
  6. Working quickly, lay 2/3rds of a pencil (not the pointed end) on top of the mixture. Using the buttered knife, lift up the candy and gently wrap it around the pencil. You can create all sorts of shapes before it hardens. When the candy is almost set, stand the pencil point side down into the clay. Try not to touch the candy now, as you’ll leave fingerprints.
  7. Repeat step 6 with other pencils.

Note: Do not double the recipe to make more. Make additional batches instead.

That’s it! Now suck away in class, but don’t tell your teacher who gave you the recipe! I don’t want to get in trouble!

While ROALD DAHL’S REVOLTING RECIPES seems to be out of print, it has been resurrected several times. I suspect it will be released again. But if you just can’t wait to devour SNOZZCUMBERS or LICKABLE WALLPAPER, I suggest checking for a local indie seller.

Bon appetite!

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HarperCollins
July 2021

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Sourcebooks eXplore
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Little, Brown
2022

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