Are there any specific candy-making tips I should know when making toffee?
- Do not make toffee on a humid day; choose a cool dry day for candy making.
- Always use a heavy pan that is large and deep enough to prevent candy mixture from boiling over during cooking.
- Be sure to use an accurate candy thermometer.
- Use the freshest ingredients possible.
- Be patient; candy takes a long time to cook. Do not rush it by turning up the heat.
- Stir toffee mixture carefully and occasionally with a wooden spoon until the final temperature is reached.
- Do not handle the toffee any more than is necessary when spreading it out onto the pan to cool.
Can I double my candy recipes?
No, we do not recommend doubling candy recipes. The extra ingredients may prevent the mixture from cooking properly.
How do I cover truffles, nuts or dried fresh fruits with melted chocolate?
Insert a toothpick into one end of the item you are covering. Dip it into chocolate, and then insert the toothpick into a piece of styrofoam until the chocolate firms up.
How do I package candy to send?
- Do not package candies that absorb moisture (caramels, mints, hard candies, toffee) in the same container as those that lose moisture (fudge, fondant, meringues).
- Wrap different candy varieties in plastic food wrap, and divide layers with waxed paper. Use crumpled or shredded paper towels or plastic bubble wrap inside the container for padding. Seal the container with tape.
- Put the container (tin, coffee can, etc.) into a sturdy cardboard box. Use bubble wrap or newspaper to protect the container.
- Print the mailing address and return address on the package in waterproof ink; mark the package "PERISHABLE FOOD" to encourage quick and careful handling. Overnight shipping may be your best choice.
How do I store candy long-term (up to 12 months)?
Most candies freeze well for long-term storage. Wrap tightly in plastic food wrap or aluminum foil. Be sure to label with contents and date. To serve, thaw wrapped candy at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
How do I store candy short-term (two months or less)?
- Most candy will stay fresh longer when wrapped. Individually wrap candies in waxed paper or plastic food wrap.
- Store individually wrapped candies in boxes, tins or cartons with tight-fitting lids. However, if you make small hard candies, sprinkle them with finely ground sugar (not powdered), and store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Do not mix candies that absorb moisture (caramels, mints, hard candies, toffee) in the same container as candies that lose moisture (fudge, fondant, meringues). If these types of candies are mixed, the hard candies become sticky.
- Use waxed paper to individually wrap or separate layers of fudge in a storage container.
I made toffee on a very rainy day and it didn't turn out. Does weather affect the toffee-making proc
Weather can be a factor, and special precautions are necessary to get the best quality candy. A cool, dry day is best for making candy. On a rainy day, you may need to cook candy to a temperature a degree or two higher than stated in recipe.
Is pan size important when making candy?
Yes, pan size is very important. Always use the recommended size of cooking pan to prevent candy from boiling over. Using a heavy pan will help to prevent scorching or burning.
What are some general candy making tips?
- Start with using the freshest ingredients and making sure your candy thermometer is accurate.
- To test the accuracy, place bulb of candy thermometer in a pan of rapidly boiling water. Be careful not to let the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Read the temperature at eye level while the thermometer is in the water. It should read 212° F or 100° C while water is boiling.
- If the thermometer does not measure the temperature correctly, remember to adjust the candy temperature during cooking to reflect the difference.
- Choose a dry day (not humid) for making candy.
- Use a heavy pan and make certain it's the correct size.
- Be patient. Candy may take a long time to cook. Don't rush it by turning up the heat.
- To keep your homemade candy fresh, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
What do I do if my toffee mixture separates during cooking?
Toffee sometimes separates during cooking, leaving a buttery looking layer on the surface and a thicker mixture underneath since the emulsion of the water and fat has broken. This is hard to predict. Here are some guidelines to follow if toffee separates:
Allow it to continue cooking. The candy may re-mix on its own. Otherwise, we have found gradually and very carefully stir in about ¼ to ½ cup hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, while cooking, stirring well, until the mixture goes back together. Add only enough water to bring the toffee mixture back together; too much water will make the candy sticky. Continue cooking candy until the proper temperature is reached.
What fat should I use when making my candy?
We recommend either salted or unsalted butter be used when making candy, especially candy made from a boiled sugar syrup. Margarine and low-fat spreads do not create the correct texture in the final candy because of the emulsifiers and other ingredients added to their formulas. Butter also gives the best flavor to candy.
Where do I hold the thermometer in the candy mixture to get an accurate reading?
Stand the thermometer upright in the candy mixture, making sure the bulb is completely covered with liquid while not resting on the bottom of the pan. Try to keep the thermometer ½-inch off the bottom of the pan, if possible.
Why do caramels have to be cooked so long?
Caramels should be cooked slowly to allow the sugars and milk solids to caramelize. The longer and slower they are cooked the darker the color and the stronger the flavor. The faster they are cooked, the lighter the color and flavor. It is also important to not cook caramels too fast so they scorch and have a burnt flavor.
Why is my fudge grainy?
If fudge is stirred while the batch is still warm, a slight grain will result. This is traditional. To make fudge that is less grainy, use a recipe that has marshmallow creme as an ingredient.
Why is my fudge so soft and sticky?
Fudge must be cooked to a full boil until the mixture reaches 242° F. Therefore, it is helpful to have a candy thermometer. Soft, sticky fudge is often the result of the mixture not being cooked long enough and to the correct temperature.
Why is the texture of caramels sometimes so tough?
The proportion of corn syrup to sugar determines the texture of the finished caramel. The more corn syrup in the recipe the tougher the caramel will be.