Introduction to Candy Making


Soft Ball 234 - 240 F
110 - 115 C
Forms a softball in cold water, and flattens when removed
Firm Ball 242 - 248 F
115 - 120 C
Forms a firm ball in cold water, retains its shape when removed, until pressed
Hard Ball 250 - 268 F
120 - 130 C
Forms a ball that retains its shape but is still pliable
Soft Crack 270 - 290 F
130 - 145 C
In water, seperates into hard, but not brittle threads
Hard Crack 300 - 310 F
150 - 155 C
In water, seperates into hard, brittle threads
Caramel 320 - 350 F
160 - 175 C
Do NOT use cold water test. Mixture will coat a metal spoon and forms a light caramelized mass when poured on a plate.

ALTITUDE CONVERSION CHART To use this chart, when the temperatrue reaches the indicated degrees either Fahrenheit or Celsius in the first column, the you subtract the degrees indicated in the second column. For example, when testing you thermometer, if the water boils at 204 F and the recipe calls for the cooking to be 238 F, subtract 8 and cook to 230 F. Most recipes have a 1 to 2 degree cushion built into them, but try to be as accurate as you possibly can. If the water boils when the thermometer reaches: then subtract from the recipe. 200 F 93 C 12 F 7 C 201 F 94 C 11 F 6 C 202 F 94 C 10 F 6 C 203 F 95 C 9 F 5 C 204 F 95 C 8 F 5 C 205 F 96 C 7 F 4 C 206 F 96 C 6 F 4 C 207 F 97 C 5 F 3 C 208 F 98 C 4 F 2 C 209 F 98 C 3 C 2 C 210 F 99 C 2 F 1 C 211 F 99 C 1 F 1 C 212 F 100 C 0 F 0 C Now that you have the temperature chart for stages, and for altitude adjustment, I will begin this section with an introduction to candymaking. This Introduction will contain information on equipment/cooking utensils and a list of commen ingredients that will be used in the recipes to follow. EQUIPMENT & COOKING UTENSILS The recipes that will go with this information have been developed in the home and prepared with normal kitchen equipment, so you probably already have most of the equipment needed. Saucepans- For fondants, fudges and caramels, you will need a heavy aluminium, steel or copper saucepan. A 4 quart capacity will be pleanty large enough for most of the recipes that will be provided. For recipes that do not contain cream, milk, or chocolate, a lighter weight saucepan will do fine. The heavier wieght helps keep candies from scortching. Cooling Pan- Glass or metal 9" x 13" or larger for cooling fondants, and for melting chocolate in the oven. An 8 or 9 inch square baking pan for caramels, truffles or fudge. Electric Fry Pan- used to make toffee and to control the temperature of chocolate while dipping. Electric Mixer- used to beat egg whites for truffles; divinity can be beaten by hand or with a mixer Boards/Trays- Wooden boards, metal trays, or baking sheets covered with waxed paper ( grease proof paper ) are needed for the placing of chocolate centers and for finished chocolates. Spatulas, Scrapers and Knives- A long metal spatula is ideal for lifting cooling candies from the cooling surface. Wide-bladed putty knives found in hardware stores are useful for scraping chocolate and fondant. Scissors- Very useful for cutting butter mints and taffy. Regular household or kitchen scissors will work fine. Pastry Brush- Useful for washing down the sides of the cooking pan to make sure all sugar granuals are dissolved. Wodden Spoons and Paddles- Useful for a couple reasons, the handles don't get hot so they are comfortable to use, and you can detect undissolved sugar granuals by feel and sound. A wooden spoon is necessary when stirring fondants and fudges; a metal spoon can bend or make blisters on your hands. Please note: After stirring a sugar mixture, be sure that the spoon is thoroughly rinsed before returning it to the pan for more stirring, as even a single sugar granual can make an entire batch of candy grainy in texture. Marble Slab- Yes, you can get away without having one, but a marble slab is extremely useful when making fondants, as the slab stays cold, which allows fondants to cool quickly without movement. If you don't have a marble slab, use a chilled jellyroll pan size 9" x 13" or larger. Dipping Fork- Are used if you do not wish to dip with your hands, and for dipping maraschino cherries in melted fondant. Molds- Metal or specially treated plastic molds can be purchased at most specialty shops. They are used for hot syrups (lollipops and hard candies), note the syrup is extremely hot and would melt the plastic molds used for chocolate. Keep the molds free from scratches, as the smoother and shinier the surface of the mold, the shinier the finished candies will be. Thermometers- A good candy thermometer is not absolutely necessary, but is very useful. When looking to buy a candy thermometer, look for one that has 2 degree markings, as 5 degree markings are not accurate enough for candy making. Before the initial use of your thermometer, you need to test it, and then again occasionally but not every time thereafter. To do this, place the thermometer in a pan with enough water to cover the bulb. Bring the water to a boil and let the water boil for several minutes. Read the temperature at eye level; if you look down, the temperature will appear to be lower than it actually is. Note the temperature at which the water boils. It will probably be between 200-212 F (95-100 C). There are 2 factors which cause this variation in the reading. First, each thermometer, even those of the same brand, are different; and second, temperature is affected by your altitude above sea level. Water boils at 212 F at seal level and decreases approximately 2 F for each 1000 feet rise in altitude. Almost all recipes, including those in this entire candy making section of this site are written for sea level. I have included above, a chart to help determine the correct temperature for where you live. Find the temperature at which water boils where you are at and subtract the approperiate degrees from the recipe. Even though I have included Celsius Degrees with all these charts and recipes, I recommend using a Fahrenheit thermometer as the wide range between degrees o nthe Celsius scale is not accurate enough for candymaking. If you choose to use the Celsius thermometer, be sure that your readings are as accurate as possible. It is not true that you can't make candy in wet weather. You can, because its not the humidity that causes the problems, its the air pressure. So if you intend to make candy when its humid, raining, or snowing, be sure to test your thermometer and adjust the recipes according to the altitude chart. In humid or wet weather be sure to store you candies in air tight containers to keep the moisture out. COMMEN INGREDIENTS Solid Sugars Granulated Sugar- white table sugar, either cane or beet. Brown Sugar- both light and dark brown sugar are available, and its a matter of personal preference to which kind you use. NOTE: When measuring brown sugar, pack it firmly in the measuring cup and level it off with a knife or metal spatula. Powdered Sugar- commenly called confectioners sugar, is sugar that is very finely milled and has cornstarch added to it. Liquid Sugars Corn Syrup- is used to control the amount of graining. There are both light and dark corn syrup and each recipe that uses corn syrup will state which to use. Molasses- is occasionally used in some of the recipes provided. Honey- an invert sugar that causes a softening acton to take place in the finished candies. I recommend a mild honey asn the flavour of the honey is left in the candy. Milk Products Whipping Cream- has a butterfat content between 35-40%, is used in many recipes. Do NOT substitute evaporated milk for the cream. Milk- provides extra milk solids, which makes caramels have more body. Evaporated Milk- also provides extra mild solids, but do not use it unless the recipe specifically calls for it. When using evaporated milk be sure to stir continually as it scortches easily. Sweetened Condensed Milk- is whole milk which has sugar added and the amount of water reduced. There is no substitute for this milk. Fats Butter- I prefer to use butter over margarine in these recipes as the flavour it provides is far superior to that which margarine gives. Unless otherwise stated, use butter not margarine. Chocolate Baking Chocolate- a.k.a. chocolate liquor- is pure chocolate with no sugar added. It is very strong, very bitter and contains a hight cocoa butter content that causes fat to come to the surface when stored at too hot of a temperature. Baking chocolate is used to flavour fondants and caramels. Unsweetened cocoa- is similar to baking chocolate except it has less cocoa butter and is finely ground. If you need to substitute unsweetened chocolate for baking chocolate or vice versa, use this equation: 1 square (1 ounce) baking chocolate=3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of butter Dipping Chocolate- is best purchased prepared. The process of making it is complex. Emulsifiers are added to chocolate liquor to keep fats suspended, as in sugar and additional cocoa butte. Milk chocolate has mild solids added to give it a mild flavour. There really is no substitute for dipping chocolate. If you can't find dipping chocolate in your area, contact me, and I'll do my best to find a supplier for you. Miscellaneous Ingredients Compound Coatings- are available under a variety of names. Most commen are, almond bark, molding chocolate, bon bon coating, white chocolate and Ice Caps to name a few. They are made from a vegetable base rather than cocoa butter, and contain sugar, milk solids, flavouring and colouring. There are many shapes, colours, and flavours available. Marshmallow Creme- adds a light fluffy texture to fondants, and is optional in some recipes. It can be either purchased at the supermarket, or made with the recipe provided in the recipe section. Cream of Tartar- used to chemically change a sugar mixture. It adds an acid that rearranges the molecules of sugar, thereby producing a soft candy. Citric Acid- Used for flavouring fruits, and to cause fondants to become smoother. It is available dry or liquid. Food Colours- Here I recommend using the pastes, as they give a more vibrant colour and allow you to add colour with out adding any extra liquid to your recipe. These are available to purchase wherever cake decorating supplies are sold. Flavourings- either as extracts or as oils. Oils are twice as strong as extracts, so use accordingly. Oils are necessary for hard candies as extracts cause too much steam. Salt- used in most of the recipes for a couple of reasons: first, it enhances the other flavours and second, it cuts the too-sweet taste of some candies. If salt is an ingredient that you are avoiding, feel free to omit salt for any of the recipes as it is not a necessary ingredient. Nuts- always use fresh, and keep refrigerated or frozen until ready to use. Due to the high amounts of fat contained in nuts, they tend to spoil quickly. The most commen nuts used in these recipes pecans, walnuts, cashews and macadamias, to name a few. Well that is the end of the introduction to candymaking. So, I'll start you all off to your candymaking adventures with an easy no-fail chocolate fudge recipe. NO-FAIL CHOCOLATE FUDGE 1 (8- ounce) package of semisweet chocolate squares 1/2 butter 2 eggs 1 (1-pound) package of powdered sugar 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 cup of whole nuts Butter a 9 inch square glass baking dish, and set it aside. In a 1 quart saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Over a low heat, stir occasionally until completely melted. Cool till lukewarm. In a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and blend well. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the nuts. Then pour this mixture into the baking dish you set aside. Refriferate for a minimum of 2 hours, until firm. Cut into 1 inch squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes approximately 81 pieces. Cooks note: If you do not have a glass baking dish, you can use a metal pan, but be sure to line it with plastic wrap so that they fudge doesn't not pull the metal flavour from the pan.