Homemade Candy Making Basics
Nothing is sweeter than giving someone a box of homemade candy, so here are a few essential tips to get you started.
Don’t Improvise – Always use the right pan size. If your recipe calls for a medium-size saucepan (3 or 4 quarts) with a heavy bottom and straight sides, use only that specific pan size and shape. Candy making is not the time to improvise. Using a pan other than the kind indicated may alter your recipe’s cooking time dramatically.
The Right Tool for the Right Job – Get yourself a long-handled wooden spoon, a pastry brush (to brush off any crystals that might form) and a good candy thermometer with a metal clamp that can attach to the side of your saucepan. Wooden spoons are best because they don’t conduct heat or add any off-taste to the candy.
Butter, Sans the Salt – If your recipe calls for butter, be sure to use the unsalted variety. Salted butter and margarine can adversely affect the cooking time, texture and taste.
Vanilla to the Rescue – For an extra blast of flavor, add vanilla to any recipe that calls for chocolate. Once chocolate has been melted it gets a grainy taste, but even a little bit of vanilla (1/4 tsp.) smoothes it out. Buy good vanilla in quantities you’ll be using soon, since it loses its strength over time.
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