23 January, 2012
You Asked for It: Candy Curious
This really isn't a wedding question, per se, but I am making candy favors so it kind of is. How do I know when the sugar is done? Have you made candy before, am I a crazy person?
Candy can be kind of a jerk, so trust me, I gets it. You're in luck because there just so happens to be a whole system to tell when the sugar is done (and I'm assuming you are heating up sugar syrup...). My mom taught me and it goes a little bit somethin' like this:
CAUTION: When dealing with heated sugar, please allow the syrup to cool in the water for a bit before touching!
1. Thread Stage: 230° F–235° F
This a relatively low temperature for sugar as there is still a lot of water left in the syrup. Test by dropping a little bit into some water. You should see a liquid thread that will not be made into a ball.
2. Soft-Ball Stage: 235° F–240° F
Test by dropping some into water. You will be able to form a soft flexible ball that doesn’t really hold its shape. If you take the ball out of water, the heat from your hand will be enough to flatten it.
Examples: fudge, pralines
3. Firm-Ball Stage: 245° F–250° F
By administering the water test, you will get a firm ball that won’t flatten when removed from water, but is still malleable and will flatten if squeezed.
4. Hard-Ball Stage: 250° F–265° F
When you try to put this in water it will form thick threads as it comes of the spoon. It will form a hard ball in water. When removed from the water, it will hold its shape very well. You should still be able to flatten it with a little extra pressure.
Examples: marshmallows, gummies, divinity
4. Soft-Crack Stage: 270° F–290° F
When you drop some in water, it will form threads that, when removed from water are flexible. Not brittle. The threads will bend a little bit before cracking.
Examples: Saltwater taffy
5. Hard-Crack Stage: 300° F–310° F
In water the syrup will form firm, thick threads. These threads will crack when bent. Examples: Toffee, lollipops
Hope this helps!