Candymaking, like any culinary endeavor, is as easy or complex as the recipe you choose, but you can give yourself an advantage by reading and following these five tips for successful candy.
1. Read the recipeDon't just skim the mouth-water description read the entire recipe carefully. You dont want to be stuck with burning sugar while trying to decipher step #5. Its much better to take the time to understand what youll be doing before you start.
2. Be Prepared
Have all of your equipment and ingredients ready. In cooking this is called mise en place, a French term meaning to put in place. In candy making, things can move very quickly, and some steps are time-sensitive. It is important to have your equipment prepared and your ingredients measured and ready to be used as soon as you need them.
3. Check Your Thermometer
Make sure your candy thermometer is accurate. You can follow all the steps precisely, but if your thermometer is wrong, your candy will not turn out the way it should. To check your thermometer, bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and insert the thermometer. It should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level, and 1 degree less for every 500 feet above sea level. If your thermometer is inaccurate, you can use it by adding or subtracting the necessary number of degrees, but if you are going to be using it often, it might be worth it to invest in a new thermometer!
4. Temper Your Chocolate
If you are going to be dipping things in chocolate, make sure the chocolate is tempered to achieve the most professional look.
5. Choose Optimal Conditions
Be aware of your environmental conditions. The ideal setup for candymaking is in a fairly cool room (around 70 degrees F) with low humidity. Obviously it is not always possible to regulate the exact temperature and humidity, but if you have some control over when and where you make candy, opt for the location that will provide the best conditions.