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Discover The Way To Make Candy

Oct 12, 2007
When there's snow on the ground and the air is crisp outside, candymaking is more fun than usual. That's why so many of us make so much candy around Christmas time. Even the words "Christmas candy" have a magical quality. Candied popcorn wreaths and stars, Santa Claus lollipops, candy canes, and the fascinating colored and shaped marzipan dainties belong to the Christmas season.

But your Christmas candymaking will not be confined to these seasonal specialties alone. Winter weather gives the candymaker her best break for all her favorite candies. Everything turns out right when the humidity is down and the weather is cool. So make all your best varieties for Christmas and New Year, not just for the family but to pack in boxes or tins to give to fortunate friends.

The winter season also brings the sweetest day of all - St. Valentine's Day - which would not be the same without candy. For this holiday dedicated to lovers, make your favorite candies in heart shapes, out of pink fondant or bright-red hard candy or clear-cerise jelly candies. For the children, make anise-flavored lollipops decorated with icing hearts pierced with arrows. And for That Special Person, assemble an array of luscious chocolates and bonbons, add samples of your other favorites and pack it in a red-satin heart box.

Basic fondant is one of the simplest of candies. Sugar and water alone will make a passable fondant if all precautions are taken to keep it from sugaring. But to ensure success a small amount of acid or corn syrup is nearly always added. Cream of tartar is used in most fondant recipes but if you find you have none on your shelf when you start to make fondant you can substitute a half teaspoon of lemon juice or two tablespoons of corn syrup in place of an eighth of a teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Fondant must be aged or mellowed for most purposes. Often an hour is long enough, but check the recipe you want to make so you're not disappointed to find that you cannot finish your candy until the next day.


2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup boiling water, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Measure 2 cups sugar and 3/4 cup boiling water into a 2-quart saucepan. Blend with a wooden spoon, and place over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture begins to dissolve. Continue stirring until the mixture boils, then add 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar. Cover for 3 minutes so that steam may wash down and melt any sugar crystals on sides of the pan.

Uncover and put in your candy thermometer. With a fork wrapped with muslin and moistened in warm water wash off any further sugar crystals that form during cooking. Or you can use a moistened pastry brush. Always use an upward movement. Boil without stirring over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 238 degrees Celsius.

Remove from heat, being careful not to jar the pan, and let stand until all bubbles have disappeared. Pour carefully onto a marble slab or a large tray or platter that has been moistened and cooled in the refrigerator, so that the fondant may cool as quickly as possible.

Pour only what leaves the pan easily. Do not scrape sides of pan or shake out remaining candy. When it feels only slightly warm to the touch (about 110 degrees Celsius), work the candy over and over with a scraping and folding method using a wooden paddle or a spatula. As the candy thickens it becomes opaque and when finished it forms a hard crumbly white mass, and can no longer be worked with the paddle.

At this point kneading it with the hands brings about the desired softness and the candy is ready to be ripened for chocolate centers, bonbons or mint patties. Cover with a damp cloth and store in a jar at room temperature. Flavoring and coloring are added after the fondant is ripened. For bonbons and mint patties fondant should be used after two days of ripening.

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