Homemade Candy Making
Secrets and Recipes
Candy making is fun to
do with the kids, and our easy candy recipes are
for those old fashioned sweets you used to see in stores, but sadly no
more. We share some secrets with you to make great candies at home as
well as what utensils, ingredients and instructions you need.
candies have been made by women, so there is nothing stopping you
carrying on the tradition today within your own families!
Sooner of later most cooks want to try their hands at candy making,
even if only to try the simplest toffee or peppermint creams. I
remember the first time I made candy I was about 11 or 12 and made
coconut ice. I absolutely hate coconut ice, but I made it because I
knew that it was an easy recipe and that I probably wouldn't fail - and
I didn't. Everyone else benefitted from my efforts!
Homemade candy makes lovely
gifts, and one that is always appreciated,
for the personal touch adds so much to the pleasure of receiving.
Prettily wrapped, arranged, and presented, candies can look very
attractive, and there are so many different types of candy you can make
from fudge, truffles, nougats, jellies, Edinburgh rock, butterscotch
Best of all, most of the equipment needed is already in your
kitchens. However, there are one or two items that we do suggest you
and one of them is a good candy thermometer.
This is especially
important if you are making hard candy as you need to get the
temperature fairly accurate otherwise you can end up with a total
disaster. And I am sure you have had your fair share of those.
I know I
certainly did back
the early days of candy making.
Candy Making Equipment
This is absolutely a
must-have, especially if you want good results. It takes the guess work
out of guessing the state of the syrup. Any good kitchen supply store
will have a selection. But if you are looking for a good
sugar thermometer buy one that registers up to 400 degrees F.
if you still want to try candy making and you don't have a thermometer
we do tell you how to test your sugar state the old-fashioned way,
without using a thermometer. See below.
Marble Slab -
Not only is this wonderful
for pastries, but great for sweet making too. If you cannot afford a
slab of marble you can substitute with a large, well-oiled plate or
baking sheet if you are pouring out liquid fondant or toffee. or you
can use a pastry board well dusted with icing sugar for most other
For candy making you really
should invest in a good, heavy-bottomed pot. An ideal saucepan
for making candy is one that is deep and rounded, narrower at the base,
brass, stainless steel, thick copper are all suitable. A thin pan will
not withstand the great heat needed for some candies and the mixture
Palette Knife or Sugar Scraper
- A broad,
bladed palette knife or even a spatula will work. You need something
that you can use when working with fondant, or toffee on the marble
slab or scraping together marzipan.
tin or two should be reserved for your candy making. They should be 1/4
inch deep for setting toffee, fudge etc. and will also need them for
drying your candies off.
Other than that, you need a few extras such as:
- liquid measure
- wooden spoons
- sharp pointed knife
- kitchen scissors
- pastry brush
- rolling pin
you have the above basic candy making equipment you will be fine.
However, if you have decided to go into candy making very seriously
there are other items of equipment you can buy:
- candy cutters
- peppermint rings
- fondant mats
- marzipan molds
- starch tray
- crystallizing tray
- dipping fork
Candy Making Ingredients
you put into your candies make sure that the quality is good, and
choose natural flavorings where possible. Keep away from artificial
dyes. First of all they are not good for your health and secondly, why
make homemade candies with the same sort of rubbish you can buy at the
store with no effort involved? It kind of defeats the object, doesn't
Sugars - are you your main ingredients.
Usually granulated sugars are used, but a variety of brown sugars are
also called for in some candy recipes: Demerara, dark and light brown,
soft, moist sugars, castor and icing sugar.
you can buy this at your drug store. This is often used to assist in
keeping the property of the sweets and to prevent graining.
The best results in candy making is using unsalted butter, but ordinary
butter can be used if you don't have any, but only use in small
Nuts - Walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts,
brazils, almonds, pistachios, pecans, etc. can all be used in candy
Cream of Tartar and Tartaric Acid - These
are occasionally used instead of glucose to prevent graining. Also used
as flavoring in some candy recipes - such as Acid Drops.
are a number of other miscellaneous ingredients which are worth keeping
on your pantry shelves if you are wanting these to be readily at hand:
- Gum Arabic crystals - get
these from your drug store
- Glace Fruits - apricots,
cherries, pineapple, ginger
- Chocolate - the superfatted
kind for coating, or ordinary plain or milk chocolate for flavoring
- Essences and Oils
- buy in as concentrated form as possible; vanilla, peppermint, almond,
lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry, rose water, orange flower water
- Liqueurs are also useful
flavorings, but rather more expensive
- Rice Paper - for nougats
- Decorations - chocolate
vermicelli, angelica, crystallized rose and violet petals
- Wax Paper
- Starch - confectioner's starch
is best but cornflour will work as a good substitute
- Golden Syrup, treacle
- Evaporated milk, condensed milk
Homemade Colorings for Candy Making
mentioned before commercial colors for candy making should be avoided.
If you want to color your candy, you can do so using these homemade
Pink Coloring: Just use a few drops of
You can use liquid yellow coloring or you can use 1 oz saffron soaked
in 1pint of water. However, you have to be careful with using saffron
as it can leave the candy with a strong taste.
Amber Coloring: You can add caramel
coloring to the mixture. To make this here is the recipe:
1/2 pint sugar
1/2 pint water
the sugar in a heavy based saucepan and let it melt over a low heat,
stirring constantly, until it starts to turn brown. Then add the water
quickly and continue cooking until you are left with a syrup that looks
like molasses. Bottle until needed. You only need a teaspoon for the
coloring. This will keep for about a year.
Green Coloring: Use spinach juice to get
the desired color. Here is the recipe:
2 quarts of young spinach, then drain and pick the leaves off the stems
and in a pestle and mortar crush the leaves to a pulp. Place the
mixture carefully into a coarse muslin cloth or cheese cloth and
squeeze the juice out of the leaves into a cup. Open up the bag, wet
the leaves with a few sprinkling of water and squeeze the juice out
Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and cook over
a medium heat until the liquid starts to curdle and separate. Remove
from the heat and filter through fine grade muslin or cheese cloth.
This is your coloring for your candy making.
Take this and let
it stand out in the open air until it hardens to a thick paste. Mix
with equal quantities of sugar and bottle. You can use it for candy
making without the
Natural Homemade Flavorings for Candy Making
you flavor your candy you need to make sure that you have the best and
most intense flavors possible. And to do this you will have to buy only
the best for your candy making. So when your chocolate candy recipe
calls for cocoa, make sure that you are only using Dutch cocoa - this
is the best money can buy, otherwise you will end up with an inferior,
If you are making almond paste then a few drops of bitter extract of
almond is what is needed.
If you need vanilla, don't go for the essence, use the vanilla bean and
extract the flavors yourself.
you are making orange candies then Curacao is the accompaniment here.
However, you could also use the orange juice, but it is not as good.
you can see that with a little bit more effort and time, you could be
ending up making candies that will knock the socks off friends and
family who try them!
Coffee Flavoring for Candy Making:
2 ounces ground Mocha coffee
1 gill boiling water
2 layers of cheese cloth over a tea cup and make a little depression
for the ground coffee. Start pouring the water slowly over the coffee.
As it starts to drip add more water. As it starts coming through now
you can squeeze the cloth gently.
A few drops of this will flavor half a pint of fondant.
Citrus Flavoring for Candy Making:
This recipe can be used for any yellow colored candies.
1 lemon, grated
1 orange, grated
1/4 nutmeg, grated
6 whole cloves
1/2 pound sugar
1/2 pint water
grate the rind of both the lemon and the orange. Make sure that you do
not include the white pith. Add the grated nutmeg and mix together with
your fingers until you have a good pulp.
Now add the whole lot to the water, with the cloves. Boil for 2 minutes
and then strain through muslin.
this liquid to the sugar over a medium heat. Stir constantly until
sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved now boil rapidly until a thin syrup
Laurel Flavoring for Candy Making:
7 good sized bay leaves
1/8 nutmeg, grated
2 tablespoons sugar
1 gill water
1 gill alcohol
Break the bay leaves, put them into a glass bowl with the cloves and
the grated nutmeg.
over a saucepan of boiling water and add the gill of water to the bowl.
Leave for about 15 minutes and then remove from the heat. Strain, add
the sugar into the bowl and stir until dissolved. When dissolved and
the mixture is cold add the alcohol. Bottle until needed.
This flavoring can be used for pink and white candies.
Nevada Peppermint Flavoring for Candy Making:
1 gill alcohol
3 drops oil of rose
3 drops oil of peppermint
the ingredients together and then place in a bottle. Shake well and use
when needed. 1 teaspoon will flavor 1 pound of sugar.
The Different Kinds of Candy
candy making there are so many different kinds of candies, from soft
fudge to hard peanut brittle and everything in between. And other than
pulled candies which are more difficult to get right, candy making is
fairly easy, as long as you follow our tips and advice here.
boiled to 238 degrees F., cooled and then stirred or worked until the
fudge becomes almost firm, before being turned out into a greased pan,
or onto a buttered marble slab, to be marked into squares. Fudge should
be firm, buttery and creamy in texture and not coarse or grainy.
is the foundation of most chocolate creams. It is made of sugar cooked
with water or other liquids to 238 degrees F. The addition of an acid
to the boiling sugar causes part of the sugar to change to glucose,
resulting in a finer texture. Cream of tartar, acetic acid, vinegar or
even lemon juice may be used.
Caramels are made by boiling the sugar
mixture from 242-250 degrees F. They are not beaten after cooking and
are soft and waxy.
Pulled Candy also known as Taffy
is boiled from 254-260 degrees F. The mixture is then poured out on to
a greased marble slab, and when cool enough pulled until it is of the
correct consistency to be cut. See how to make taffy below.
like butterscotch - which is my absolute favorite! - or barley sugar,
are boiled from 290-330 degrees F. When finished they should be thin
and very brittle.
Gelatin Candy like Turkish
Delight are not as sweet as others, as they become firm with little
boiling, and less sugar is used. Gelatin should always be soaked in
cold water until the liquid is absorbed, then dissolved in or over
boiling water or hot syrup. Gelatin candies should be tender and never
have the texture of rubber. If they do, you have used too much gelatin.
Candy Making Secrets
Now we are finally ready to give you those secrets to making those
- Make sure that you have all the right
ingredients out on the counter top before you start.
There is nothing worse than finding half way through a recipe that you
don't have half the ingredients.
- Next measure your ingredients out
and place them in order of the recipe. In candy making sometimes speed
is really important in getting the ingredients into the mixture and you
won't have time to measure them out at the time. Be prepared, and this
minimizes the need to panic while you are working.
- Read your recipe twice, double
check your ingredients and then start adding according to the recipe.
- When you are ready to use your candy thermometer read
the thermometer at eye level.
Shake it well before you use it to make sure there are no bubbles in
the mercury if you are using a mercury based thermometer.
standing in hot water so that when you place it into the hot syrup
there is not sudden change of temperature that could cause it to crack.
- Season a new thermometer
by placing it in a pan of cold water and bringing it slowly to the boil
and remove from heat. Leave it immersed until the water has become
- If you are going to add colorings to your
syrup do so sparingly
as they are very strong. You only need a very small amount to make the
color you need. So you can add the color by using a dropper or the end
of a skewer or toothpick. You can always add more. Once it is in, you
cannot make it lighter unless you make up another batch of fondant or
whatever you are using.
- When weighing your treacle or syrup
either weigh the pan first then add the treacle or syrup and weigh
again, or if a dry ingredient is used such as sugar, weigh this first
then pour the treacle or syrup on top to the additional weight required.
- When making fondant,
if you don't have a marble slab, pour the mixture into a bowl and leave
it until it is only moderately warm, about 15-20 minutes, then stir
with regular gentle strokes until it becomes white and creamy, pour
into a greased, greaseproof paper and knead by hand.
- If your marzipan has become too dry
when working with it, soften it with a little stock syrup:
for Stock Syrup
1 lb granulated sugar
1/2 pint cold water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon glucose
all ingredients together into a saucepan and follow the directions for
sugar boiling. Boil to 227 degrees F. Pour the syrup when cool enough
into a jar. Seal when cold. It will keep for some time.
working with sugar you need to dissolve it over a very low heat
otherwise you will end up burning the sugar which will ruin your candy.
Make sure that every grain of sugar has been dissolved before bringing
the mixture to the boil.
Bring to the boil and place a lid on
the saucepan for just a minute or two. This allows the steam build-up
inside to wash down the sides of the saucepan of any sugar granules you
may have missed. Remove the lid before boiling point of 212 degrees F.
Skim the saucepan if necessary.
Now put in the thermometer
which has been standing in hot water and allow the boiling to continue
until the required temperature is reached. Keep a wet pastry bush
nearby for washing down the sides of the pan if crystals start to form.
the pan from the heat; dip instantly into cold water for a
or two to arrest any further rise in temperature. On no account stir
the syrup whilst boiling unless required to do so as, this may well
cause graining. If the worst should happen and the syrup starts to
crystallize, add more cold water andN start the melting process over
again. The result though will not be as satisfactory.
candy mixtures it is impractical or even impossible to use a sugar
thermometer, particularly where constant stirring is needed, and it is
then necessary to check the state of the syrup by regularly dropping a
little into icy cold water. The following table gives you the different
stages of sugar boiling and how to recognize them. Remember that sugar
boils at 215 degrees F.
- If you are cooling your candy place in a dry, cool place
and not the fridge.
- To keep your candies fresh, place in air-tight containers.
recipes that have milk, cream, butter or molasses in them should not be
cooked on a very high heat as they are more likely to stick to the
bottom of the saucepan. Stir gently to make sure that they don't
granulate but also making sure that they don't stick and burn.
How to Prevent Crystallization in Candy Making
is one of the biggest problems you will face when making candy. There
are a number of things you can do to prevent this:
- Mix ingredients well.
- Stir only until sugar is dissolved and then no more unless
otherwise directed in the recipe.
- Do not allow mixture to boil until the sugar has completely
- Do not shake or disturb the sugar while it is boiling as it
sides of saucepan free from dry sugar crystals by wiping down with a
damp cloth or pastry brush, or the lid of the saucepan may be replaced
for a few minutes so that the steam washes down the crystals. However,
never put the lid on candy mixtures that contain milk, cream, butter or
molasses as they will soon boil over.
- Allow candy mixture to drain from the saucepan, but do not
scrape saucepan out, as this will cause coarse crystals to form.
and get your candy to cool as quickly as possible, without putting it
in the fridge. As the longer it takes to cool, the more chance you have
of it granulating or "turning to sugar."
- Always make candy on a
sunny day rather than a rainy day. Too much moisture in the air will
cause your recipes to be less successful. This is especially true if
you are making hard candy.
- Always add cold water and never add more than you are told
as it needs to cook out before the candy is ready.
heat the sugar beyond the stated temperature. If you do you can add a
little water to bring it back down, but it is not always successful,
especially if you allow it to go too far.
Candy Making and Sugar State Table
||215-220 degrees F.
is used for crystallizing purposes
||225-230 degrees F.
spot of syrup between finger and thumb will form a fine thread when
pulled apart. The thread will break at 225 degrees F.
||230 degrees F.
pearl-like bubbles will form all over the surface of the syrup. Test as
for the the thread.
||235 degrees F.
the loop end of a skewer into the syrup, remove it quickly and blow
through the hole. Small bubbles should form and float for a second or
two before bursting.
||240-245 degrees F.
as for the blow, but when blowing through the hole the syrup will
feather out instead of forming bubbles. Fondant is made at this
||250-260 degrees F.
thumb and forefinger into water, then into the syrup and immediately
back into the water. The syrup should then roll into a soft ball, but
becoming firmer as the temperature increases.
||280-300 degrees F.
a little syrup into cold water and it will become brittle and a thin
piece will snap easily. With this state you also get the hard
crack stage which is when the sugar reaches the high end
of the temperature range from 290 degrees F.
||310-350 degrees F.
syrup changes color at this temperature from light, brown
becoming darker as the temperature increases, eventually burning.
How to Make Pulled Candy or Taffy
candy, also known as taffy is a particular aspect of candy making that
requires careful timing, speed and heatproof hands!
making sure all utensils, including the hands are well oiled. The syrup
to be used for pulled candy usually incorporates glucose, cream of
tartar or some acid to help prevent granulation.
is boiled to a higher degree than fudges and candies, the mixture being
poured onto a well oiled surface, coloring and flavors being added and
allowed to settle.
Using a spatula begin turning the edges
into the center all around to prevent uneven hardening of the mixture.
When it can be formed into a rather slack sausage shape, and it is just
about cool enough to handle, take up the toffee mass into well oiled
Use fingers as much as possible and avoid getting the hot mixture into
out the 'sausage' then fold in half, taking the two ends in either
hand, pull out and fold again. Repeat the process over and over again,
for about 5 -10 minutes when the mass will gradually increase in volume
as air is incorporated, become opaque and a milky shade of the added
coloring. While it is still pliable, form or cut into twisted sticks,
cushions (give a half turn with each cut of the scissors), or balls.
Finishing off your Candies
making is an ideal hobby to have as you can wrap your candies up
beautifully and give them away as gifts for friends and familyl, as
already mentioned. This is
particularly true for those special occasions like Christmas, Halloween
So if you are going to give your candies away buy
some pretty cellophane paper that is precut into squares and wrap them
in those once they have set.
By taking a trip to your local
stationery store you may be surprised to see what else you could use.
Small bags stuffed with shredded cellophane paper with the candies on
the top also look lovely.
Boxes and glass jars work too. If you are going to use a box, you may
want to add shredded paper to the bottom of the box to protect your
candy. Chocolates and marzipan don't need to be wrapped.
Trim with pretty ribbon, and don't forget a handmade swing tag to
attach to your candy gifts.
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