Tips for making candy
Tip #1 - Boil water to test your candy thermometer. If the water test reads 212 Fahrenheit or 100 Celsius, then it is correct. If it is off in any way, adjust the recipe up or down accordingly for better results.
Tip #2 - The basic idea in making hard candy, is to change the composition of the sugar crystal from a solid to a liquid and back to a solid (only better). There are two basic ways to make this happen and I will give you both recipes for testing. I believe that using water and allowing the natural process of evaporation to cook out the water obtain the best results. This gives smoother crystals in the end.
- Cook on the Stove:
- Advantage: flavor and long lasting (within reason)
- Disadvantage: time. This could take 20 minutes or more.
- Advantage: Speed cooking
- Disadvantage: Shelf life.
- If you want to save time and microwave the candy, the drawback is durability. Without additives or mold inhibitors (which I don't use) the candy will revert back to a crystallized state. Micro waved hard candy crystallized faster than the old fashioned cooked method.
Tip #3 - Hard candy will not last forever. If you are wondering if the candy is still good then take a good look at it. If you can see crystals, it is old. If you eat it and it feels like there are crystals, it is old. Hard candy should be smooth and break cleanly. If it is at all soft, it is old or had not been made properly.
Tip #4 - Sources of candy flavors and accessories. One source is www.lorannoils.com ie. TWISTING WAX PAPER - (100 sheets) 4 1/2" x 5 1/2", package of 100 opaque sheets. I cut my caramels into small rectangles and then cut these paper sheets in half. It is surprising how fast you go through a hundred.