Tips for making homemade candy
Do you love making homemade candy gifts for friends and family at home, or do you always enjoy homemade over store-bought? Here is: If you are an experienced candy maker, pass this on to friends and family who can use the information.
Homemade candy making is easy with just a few tips on how to get started and the general process. This is important because candy making requires constant attention and you may not have time during the cooking process.
Make sure you are using pure sugar, not one with additives.
Invest in a good candy thermometer. If you already have a candy thermometer, you can test its accuracy by boiling a pot of water and checking the thermometer reading. Remember how many times you were off. Attach the thermometer to the side of the pot and make sure the bulb does not touch the bottom or sides for an accurate reading.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test the candy using the cold water method.In this method, about half a teaspoon of liquid is dropped from the pan into a bowl of cold water (not ice water) and placed in a soft ball. and see if you can get a hard ball. Some recipes say a soft ball stage, a hard ball stage, or cook until the syrup forms thin threads, etc. Below is a list of the various stages, what each stage means, and the temperature at each stage.
- Thread stage – 230 -235 F – Syrup forms thin threads
- Softball Stage – 235 – 240 F – Syrup forms softballs in cold water
- Firm Ball Stage – 245 – 250 F Syrup forms a sticky ball while retaining its shape
- Hard Ball Stage – 250 – 265 F syrup keeps its shape
- Soft Crack Stage – 270 – 290 F Can be stretched between fingers and split into hard threads
- Hard Crack Stage – 300 to 310 F Syrup coagulates but separates into hard, brittle threads
- Caramel Stage – 320 – 335 F Syrup drops to pale golden color on plate
Use a wooden spoon when making candy as it will not get hot while cooking.
Sunny and cool days are perfect for candy making. Rain or moisture may prevent the candy from setting.
Unsalted butter is better than margarine for candy making.
Doubling up on homemade candy recipes can go awry, especially with fudge recipes.
Store candy in an airtight container in a dry, cool place. Do not store different types of candy in the same container. This will bring out the flavor. Do not store hard and soft candies together. Moisture from soft candies causes hard candies to soften and become sticky. Most candies are stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks and frozen for up to 1 year.
When making the fudge, keep stirring over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Once boiling, do not stir until ready. Remove the fudge from the heat and let it cool to 110 degrees before hitting it to keep the candy from becoming gritty. Score the fudge with a sharp knife while warm and make it easier to cut when cool.
Easy Chocolate Dip Recipe:
1 tablespoon shortening (not butter)
8 ounces solid chocolate
Melt together in the microwave or microwave. Use for dipping.
Candies pictured above:
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