Candy-Making at Home
GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR CANDY-MAKING
We find it quite possible to make just as delicious candy at home as can be bought of the most famous manufacturers. Of course there are a few kinds of candies that can be made only with the aid of special machinery; but there are enough kinds that can be made with utensils found in the ordinary kitchen (with a few more added) to make all the variety that one may wish for. By making our own candies in the home we have the assurance that they are at least pure and clean, and that they will cost us no more than the cheaper grades of candy. Candy-making is very fascinating, and there is no reason whatever why one cannot be a successful candy-maker after a few trials at it. In this first chapter we give a few general directions in candy-making that will make it easier to carry out all the recipes that follow.
All the utensils that are needed in candy-making are saucepans of granite or porcelain, a double boiler, spoons, a spatula, candy dipper, platter or marble slab, a thermometer, and boxes or pans in which to mold certain kinds of candies. Bonbon molds are useful for molding bonbons, but are not necessary as they can easily be molded with the fingers. A thermometer is not absolutely necessary since one can learn to get the different stages by dropping and testing the syrup in cold water; but the thermometer makes it much easier to get the syrup cooked to exactly the right degree. In buying a thermometer choose one that is guaranteed by its maker, since some thermometers are apt to break when the syrup is boiled to a high degree as it must be in making the hard candies. There are small, reliable candy thermometers on the market that do not cost a great deal, and make it much easier for the candy-maker.
While a platter can be used instead of a marble slab in making fondant and some other candies, yet, since the marble is naturally cool, the candy syrups will cool much more quickly on it and for this reason is desirable.
In making taffies or any candy that requires pulling a hook is very useful. One can handle more at a time with a hook and pulling makes it lighter and nicer.
A sugar scraper proves very useful when it comes to scraping down maple sugar and chocolate; and a food chopper is very convenient when chopping nuts and fruits used in candy-making.
A smooth piece of tin can be used for dropping or placing the candies on, after they are made to set and cool; but paraffine paper will take its place very well. One can scarcely get along without this paper in candy-making, for it is very useful in lining candy-boxes when they are to be used as molds, and candies or bonbons that are liable to become sticky can be wrapped in it. A few bowls for dipping purposes will be needed.
Granulated sugar is the kind most frequently used in candy-making. To get the best results it should be fine-grained and of the best quality. Confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar is used chiefly to roll or dust candies with.
Almost all confectioners use glucose in their candies, since it helps to keep the sugar from granulating, but, since corn syrup is composed largely of glucose it is advisable for the home candy-maker to use it as it can be readily obtained at the grocery store. A few recipes call for glycerine, and this is quite harmless, and helps to make the candy smooth and creamy. Cream of tartar, vinegar and lemon juice are used to prevent the sugar from graining also.
The butter used in making butter-scotch, fudges and such like candies should be of the very best quality. Never under any circumstances use in candy, stale butter, or substitutes, or butter that is very salty.
A Few Things the Candy-Maker Should Know
The tests in cold water compared to degrees on the thermometer are as follows:
|230 to 235||degrees||Thread stage.|
|238 to 240||”||Soft ball stage.|
|250 to 255||”||Hard ball stage.|
|280 to 290||”||Crack stage.|
|300 to 310||”||Hard crack stage.|
In testing the syrup with the thermometer allow the thermometer to become hot gradually.
If one does not have a thermometer and has to test the syrup in cold water one will have to depend a great deal on sight and touch. The thread stage is found by letting a little syrup drop from a spoon; if it forms a thread then it is known as the thread stage. The soft ball stage is reached when the syrup forms a soft ball between the fingers when dropped in cold water, and the hard ball stage is reached when it makes a firm ball between the fingers when dropped in cold water. The crack stage is reached when it cracks or becomes brittle, and the hard crack stage is reached when all the water has evaporated and the syrup is about ready to burn. At this stage one must watch it very closely.
After the sugar has melted when put over the fire, wipe the sides of the kettle down carefully; this removes the undissolved sugar, which is apt to cause the rest to grain if not removed.
All scum should be carefully removed as soon as the syrup boils; but be careful not to stir the syrup or jar it any more than possible. Candies in which milk, cream or chocolate is used should be boiled in a deep vessel as they have a tendency to boil over. Sugar and water and corn syrup will not boil over, so that the depth of the vessel in which they are boiled does not matter so much.
Hard candies should be loosened up from the tin, or whatever they are molded in, before they are quite cool, or they will stick and be hard to remove. It is well to remember that nearly all hard candies will become sticky in warm weather, so should be kept in glass jars or wrapped in waxed paper.
If a batch of candy should become grainy and go back to sugar again it can be boiled over, adding a little more water and corn syrup or cream of tartar; but do not use the same vessel unless it has been well washed.
The Coloring and Flavoring
Use nothing but fruit or vegetable colorings for candy; these can usually be obtained at a drug store, or from the confectioner. A little of these will go a long way. Colorings can be obtained in liquid form or in form of paste. The useful colors are orange, yellow, red, leaf green and violet. With red one can get all the shades of pink, and rose. Different shades of green can be made with the green by the amount used. Always remember that high colors are not desirable in candy and confine yourself to the paler shades as much as possible. You can obtain different shades by combining two colors; for instance, put a drop or two of red with your violet and you will have another shade, and so on. A good shade can be made with strong coffee.
By using different flavoring extracts one may have a great variety in candy. Use only pure extracts or oils. When using oil of peppermint or oil of cinnamon for flavoring remember it is very strong and use only a few drops, while from a half teaspoonful to a tablespoonful of extract may be used, according to the strength of flavoring desired. Always add the flavoring after the syrup has been removed from the fire, as in most cases it will boil out if put in with the other ingredients.
THE MAKING OF FONDANT
The foundation for innumerable cream candies and for nearly all bonbons is what the confectioners call “fondant.” This is quite easily made by the home candy-maker after once getting the knack of it; but one must be careful to follow directions closely and not become careless. It has a great advantage from the fact that it can be made up a long time before it is worked into candies, since it will keep for a great length of time. It can be made up in large quantities, but it is best for the amateur candy-maker at first to make it in small quantities at a time, and make it oftener; then as she becomes more adept she may use several pounds of sugar at a making.
To make the fondant take two pounds of granulated sugar, one-half cupful of water and one-fourth teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Boil this to the soft ball stage or to 238 degrees. Stir the sugar over a slow fire until it is thoroughly dissolved; then take a damp cloth and wipe away all the sugar crystals that appear on the sides of the pan. When it is done remove from fire and pour over a large platter that has been cooled or over a marble slab. Do not scrape the contents out of pan or allow it to drip, but pour out quickly, then there will be less danger of its graining. Let stand until nearly cool (not cold), then stir until it becomes thick and creamy, working it away from the edges of the platter or slab into a mass in the center. Use a wooden spoon in creaming the fondant, and it is a good idea to sprinkle a little cold water over the top of the syrup after it has been poured out on the platter; this will prevent a crust from forming on top. When too stiff to work with spoon take it in the hands and knead until it is smooth and velvety. Let stand a few hours until it has mellowed somewhat, then pack down in jars and bowls, and cover with a damp cloth. If kept for some time dampen the cloth occasionally. As we said before this fondant will keep for a long time, and one may use it when desired. If a batch should turn grainy after stirring it can be boiled over again, or used in making some other candy, but in either case it must be boiled over again or a little more water added. In making fondant it is best to take a kettle that has not been used for other purposes or it will give the fondant a taste; also be very careful to have the thermometer clean if one is used. The fondant can be colored and flavored when still warm, or it can be colored and flavored when you warm or melt it when ready to make the bonbons. Fondant should cool quickly after it has been poured out on a platter or slab. As marble is naturally cool it is best for this purpose, but a platter may be placed on ice, or dipped in cold water before being used.
The above directions are for white fondant, which is the kind most generally made, but one can make chocolate and maple fondant. To make the chocolate fondant take two cupfuls of sugar and four ounces of grated chocolate and one-half cupful of water. Boil to the soft ball stage, flavor with a teaspoonful of vanilla and proceed as when making white fondant. It is best not to add the chocolate until the syrup has boiled a while, then it can be melted and slowly added, for the syrup must not be stirred while boiling.
To make maple fondant takes one cupful of brown sugar and two cupfuls of maple syrup, or one cupful of maple sugar. If the sugar is used add one-half cupful of water. To keep the syrup from graining add one-fourth teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Boil to the soft ball stage or to 238 degrees by the thermometer, and then pour out on platter or slab, and proceed as with the white fondant. A good substitute for maple fondant may be made by flavoring with mapleine some of the white fondant. Maple fondant is especially good combined with nuts in making bonbons, and also makes nice centers for chocolate creams.
In the chapter on bonbons you will find many ways in which the fondant can be used, and many other ways will no doubt suggest themselves to you when you once begin to work with it.
Many persons prefer the hard candies to the soft varieties. Most of these hard candies are boiled to the crack stage or hard crack stage, which is from 280 to 310 degrees. In testing these candies in cold water it is always advisable to remove from the fire while doing so, for when the syrup gets to the turning stage it will burn very soon if not watched. Other hard candies will be found classified under the chapter on nut candies, such as peanut brittle, nut nougats, etc.
Place in a saucepan one cupful of brown sugar, one-half cupful of New Orleans molasses (the light colored molasses), and one tablespoonful of butter. Boil to the crack stage, then remove from the fire and flavor with one teaspoonful of vanilla. Pull into long thin sheets, and cut into small pieces. When cold dip into melted chocolate flavored with a little vanilla.
Place in a saucepan one cupful of golden corn syrup, one-fourth cupful of butter, a tablespoonful of cinnamon, and one-half cupful of water. Boil to the crack stage. Pour into buttered pans, and mark off into squares. When cool break up.
Take two cupfuls of light brown sugar, one cupful of golden corn syrup and one-half cupful of water. Cook to the crack stage, and then stir in figs that have been cut up into bits. Pour into a buttered pan, and mark off. When cool break up. Date brittle can be made in the same manner.
Take two cupfuls of light brown sugar, one-half cupful of butter, one-fourth cupful of water and one tablespoonful of vinegar. Boil to the crack stage. Pour into buttered tins, mark off into squares, and when cool break up. A tablespoonful or two of molasses improves butter-scotch for many persons.
Take two cupfuls of granulated sugar, one-half cupful of maple sugar, one-half cupful of butter, one tablespoonful of vinegar, and one-fourth cupful of water. Cook to the crack stage or to 280 degrees, then remove from fire and add one teaspoonful of vanilla, and one-fourth teaspoonful soda. Mark into strips, and when cold cut with a pair of shears.
Take one cupful of maple sugar, one cupful of light brown sugar, two tablespoonfuls of butter, and one-half cupful of water. Boil to the crack stage. Pour over pecan meats that have been placed on a buttered pan. When cold break in any manner desired.
Take two cupfuls of brown sugar, one cupful of corn syrup, and one-half teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Pour over this the horehound liquid made by steeping two ounces of dried horehound (which can be obtained at the drug store) in one pint of hot water. Boil down to a cupful before adding to the sugar. If you do not wish it to be very strong of horehound don’t use quite so much. Boil to the hard crack stage or about 300 degrees. Pour into a buttered pan or pans. Mark deeply into small squares while still warm, and when cool it will break easily.
Take two cupfuls of sugar, one cupful of golden corn syrup, one-half cupful of boiling water, and one-fourth teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Boil to the soft ball stage, then add two ounces of unsweetened chocolate shaved fine. Boil to nearly the crack stage or about 270 degrees, then add one teaspoonful of vanilla. Pour out on a buttered platter, cool and pull. Cut into small pieces, using shears or sharp knife, and place on buttered plate or paraffine paper.
Molasses Taffy Take two cupfuls of sugar, and one-half cupful of New Orleans or baking molasses, and one-half cupful of corn syrup, and a third teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Boil to about the crack stage. Turn out on a greased platter, and when cool enough pull until light colored. Cut in small pieces.