Everyone loves candy, but few people try to make it at home. To many, making candy seems to be a daunting task, one that people just don’t do on their own, but the truth is that with a little knowledge and a bit of practice, most people can master the art of making their own candy. Whether you prefer fancy chocolates, caramels, or hard candies, making your own isn’t out of reach.
Common Candy Ingredients
One of the most important things that determines the quality of any candy is starting with good ingredients. Some of the most common candy ingredients include:
- Sugar: This is the main candy component in most recipes, and therefore, the quality matters a lot. Make sure that the sugar you decide to use has no contaminants.
- Unsalted Butter: It’s important to use unsalted butter because you want to be able to control the salt content of your recipe. The flavor and texture of the candy can be determined in part by your choice of fat.
- Chocolate: If you’re planning to make molded chocolates, you’ll need to buy the right kind for the recipe and treat it with care.
Most candy-making tools will already be in your kitchen, but there are a few implements you may need to buy.
- Saucepan: This is the main tool that you will need. Make sure it is large enough to hold your ingredients based on how many candies you wish to make.
- Wooden Spoon: You will need this for scooping, and it’s best if you pick one with a long handle in order to keep your hand far away from boiling sugar.
- Candy Thermometer: This is the most likely of all candy accessories not to be in your kitchen already, but it’s the most important to have for making candy. Using a candy thermometer can make the difference between perfect candies and a burned mess.
- Pastry Brush: Use a pastry brush to brush the sides of a pan of boiling sugar with water to prevent crystallization from taking place.
Tips for Working With Sugar
- Add sugar into the liquid ingredients at low heat and bring it to a boil.
- Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Cook it until you attain the desired temperature. You can check using a clean candy thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat after attaining your desired temperature unless you are following a recipe that states otherwise.
- If you need to chill your candy quickly, you can place the entire pan inside a large bowl of ice water.
- Be careful when dealing with hot, melted sugar: It can cause nasty burns.
Tips for Making Chocolate Candies
- Be careful when chopping the chocolate, and make sure to make the pieces uniform in size.
- When tempering chocolate, watch the temperature carefully.
- Be careful about adding water or watery liquids when melting chocolate, as this can cause the chocolate to seize.
- Always measure the ingredients before you start the cooking process; it can be a quick process, and leaving the candy on the heat a moment while you’re scrambling to reach for the next ingredient can ruin the batch.
- The best time for making candies is on dry days.
- Ensure that your thermometer is accurate to avoid mistakes when measuring temperatures.
“Candy” can mean many things, from marshmallows, caramels, and hard candies to chocolate candies like molded chocolates, bars, and truffles. With a bit of practice, you can make any of these things and much more in your own kitchen. Try out candy-making yourself and the results are sure to impress.
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