1. Food

Candy Making for Beginners

Let's start making candy!

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candy making

Rocky Road candy is a great introductory candy recipe

(c) 2006 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com

So you’ve decided to start making candy at home—great! Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or an experienced cook looking to try your hand at candy, these tips and instructions will provide all the information you need to get started.

Common Candy Ingredients

There are two main factors that affect the taste of your candy: the ingredients you use and the procedure you follow. By educating yourself about common candy ingredients such as chocolate and sugar, and by selecting the best ingredients you can find, you will go a long way toward ensuring successful, delicious candy.

Working With Sugar

There is nothing terribly mysterious or complicated about making candy, but if you are new to the world of confectionery, you might find some of the recipe instructions confusing. Candies that are based on a sugar syrup—sugar and water boiled together—often give instructions to boil the syrup to a specific temperature. To make these recipes, you will either need a candy thermometer, or will need to be familiar with the “cold-water method” of temperature checking. The chart and pictorial guide below will explain how to use this old-fashioned method to determine candy temperature.

Additionally, some traditional recipes call for the candy to be “pulled,” as in taffy or ribbon candy. Pulling candy takes a little practice, and the photo guide below will help you understand each step of the process.

Working With Chocolate

After sugar, chocolate is probably the most common candy ingredient, so it is important to know how to successfully work with chocolate. These pages will explain how to properly perform the most common chocolate tasks, from chopping to melting to tempering. If you make a mistake while working with chocolate—and who hasn’t?—there are also solutions and suggestions for salvaging your chocolate.

Equipment for Making Candy

In general, candy making does not require much in the way of specialized equipment. Many candies can be made using basic kitchen tools that most people already possess. But there are a few tools that reappear in recipes over and over again, like a candy thermometer, and if you anticipate making candy on a regular basis, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used candy and chocolate equipment.

Candy Recipes

Are you ready to make some candy? Browse the complete About.com Candy Recipe Index, organized in two ways for your convenience.

Candy Glossary

If at any time you come across a word or type of candy you don’t recognize, check the Candy Glossary. This comprehensive resource has dozens of definitions to help you understand unfamiliar and uncommon procedures and candies.

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