Candy Making Tips
Most of these tips were found on various internet sites like WWW.tipnut.com , www.betterhomesand garden.com , www.tasteofhome.com
and various instructions that I have used through out the years of my candy making..
There are two main factors that affect the taste of your candy: the ingredients you use and the procedure you follow. By educating yourself about common candy ingredients such as chocolate and sugar, and by selecting the best ingredients you can find, you will go a long way toward ensuring successful, delicious candy.
There is nothing terribly mysterious or complicated about making candy, but if you are new to the world of confectionery, you might find some of the recipe instructions confusing. Candies that are based on a sugar syrup—sugar and water boiled together—often give instructions to boil the syrup to a specific temperature. To make these recipes, you will either need a candy thermometer, or will need to be familiar with the “cold-water method” of temperature checking. Some traditional recipes call for the candy to be “pulled,” as in taffy or ribbon candy. Pulling candy takes a little practice.
After sugar, chocolate is probably the most common candy ingredient, so it is important to know how to successfully work with chocolate.
In general, candy making does not require much in the way of specialized equipment. Many candies can be made using basic kitchen tools that most people already possess. But there are a few tools that reappear in recipes over and over again, like a candy thermometer, and if you anticipate making candy on a regular basis, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used candy and chocolate equipment.
Make sure that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
Although it's important to read and thoroughly understand any recipe before you begin, with candy recipes, it is essential.****** Start by reading the recipe through and noting (1) what equipment is needed, (2) how much attention is required, (3) how long it will take to cook, and (4) if any cooling, beating, and/or drying time is required. Be sure to use the proper equipment and allow plenty of time to prepare the recipe successfully. Don't be fooled into thinking that a short recipe is necessarily going to take little effort or be fast to prepare.
A medium-sized saucepan with a heavy bottom and straight sides. It should be large enough to hold 3 to 4 times the volume of the ingredients; this will help prevent boil-overs
A bowl, large enough to hold the saucepan, lets you cool the candy while it's still in the pan. The temperature of the sugar mixture continues to rise even after it has been removed from the heat. Immersing the pan in cold water or an ice water bath stops the cooking at just the right time
A long-handled wooden spoon
A pastry brush reserved exclusively for candy-making. Some recipes will call for brushing down the sides of the pan with water to prevent crystallization
A good candy thermometer. Although it is possible to make candy without one, a glass candy thermometer is a must-have for beginners, and a useful tool for professionals. Choose one with a metal clamp that attaches to the side of the pan
If you make candy on a more regular basis, you may want to invest in a marble slab and a copper caramel pan.