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Candy Basics

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Making candy at home is fun, and you'll often find that the results are more delicious than anything you can buy in a store. If you are new to candymaking, you will want to familiarize yourself with common equipment, ingredients, and procedures. These tips and instructions will provide you will all the information you need to start making sugar candy, chocolates, truffles, fudge, and many other types of homemade candy.
  1. Getting Started
  2. Common Candy Ingredients
  3. Chocolate Basics
  1. Tempering Chocolate
  2. Sugar Basics
  3. Recommendations

Getting Started

Just as you should always read the recipe thoroughly before attempting to make any candy, you should familiarize yourself with unknown terms, ingredients, and procedures you may find in new recipes.

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.

Chocolate Basics

felchlin 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.

Tempering Chocolate

(c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Many chocolate candy recipes call for the chocolate to be "tempered" before use. Tempering refers to a process of heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures so that the cocoa butter in the chocolate forms even crystals. Chocolate does not always need to be tempered; for instance, tempering is unnecessary when chocolate will be combined with other ingredients for baking. However, if you are going to be dipping centers in chocolate, or making solid chocolate candies, you will want to temper your chocolate to produce a stable, beautiful, appetizing candy.

Sugar Basics

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 resources below will explain how to perform this and other time-honored methods of candy cookery.

Recommendations

(c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

In general, candy making does not require much in the way of specialized equipment. Many candies can be made using basic kitchen tools and ingredients 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 know and obtain the most commonly used candy and chocolate equipment.

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