Question About Carmel Candy

Sugar Work By craftybanana Updated 18 Jan 2014 , 8:30pm by Claire138

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craftybanana Posted 18 Jan 2014 , 3:19am
post #1 of 5

AHi, so I make these delicious Apple Cider Caramels, but my problem is getting them past the Firm ball stage without burning the sugar. Are some recipes just more suited for hard candy? I use a Taylor glass thermometer (which is always off by about 15 degrees). Now my friends love the soft caramels, but I like the hard ones better. Can I just take the recipe and cook it to hard ball stage, or is there another trick, maybe with the ingredients?

Here's my list of ingredients: 2 cup high-quality apple cider (boiled down to about 1/3c) 1 cup of Half and Half 1 tsp ground cinnamon Pinch nutmeg 1/4 tsp allspice 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/3 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup real butter, cubed

Original recipe is from here:

Another reason I may be having a problem is that the pan I'm using is a giant, wide bottom sauce pan, and my recipe is small. I'm not sure where to find a tall pan with a smaller bottom, or if they even exist.

Thanks in Advance!

4 replies
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MBalaska Posted 18 Jan 2014 , 3:49am
post #2 of 5

Start by testing the on-ness or off-ness of your thermometer, check the internet for that.   Pretty simple.


second, if candy making will be a big deal for you, you can buy all copper or copper clad pans. Expensive.


thirdly, I'd start with plain caramel and make sure you learn the simple basics first.  Caramel is touchy.

But freshly made caramels from quality ingredients is superb.


There is a Caramel cookbook I've been looking at on Amazon. Give it a peek.

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craftybanana Posted 18 Jan 2014 , 2:35pm
post #3 of 5

AYes, I already test my thermometer every time, because sometimes it's off by 5, other times it's off by 15 or 20. No, I won't be doing this full time. I only make it for friends and family during the holidays (or whenever we have a birthday in my knitting group). I'm going to stick with cookies as my full time thing.

I saw a recipe for hard candy in one of my cook books and was wondering if it was because the ingredients were different that maybe it was going to take more finesse to get to the hard crack stage. For example, I wasn't sure if the extra fat (butter/cream) was preventing it or maybe I was just being impatient. It gets to the soft ball/firm ball stage just fine (I do the cold water test just to be sure. But you're right, I probably need to work more with a basic recipe instead of starting out with a doctored up one. I'll see what I can find, I like to analyze recipes technically (maybe it 's cause I'm married to an engineer or something, lols).

I'll look on Amazon and see if they have these books at my library, so many to look at!

Thanks for replying to my posts so far :)

Edit: I accidentally hit the flag button instead of the edit button.... hopefully my script-blocker didn't let it work...

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MBalaska Posted 18 Jan 2014 , 7:55pm
post #4 of 5

Cookie there is something pleasant and enjoyable.


Candymaking is an not easy & it's temperamental, for me at least.    Cooked candies I mean.  Cooking caramels is a matter of the end temp as to whether they are soft of hard.  I have cooked them to hard crack and made lolly pops out of them. 

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Claire138 Posted 18 Jan 2014 , 8:30pm
post #5 of 5

I make caramel pretty often (I use the David Leibevitz recipe), on my thermometer there are indications for soft or hard candy so you know where to stop boiling it once it's reached that level.

I agree with MBalaska - freshly made caramel with quality ingredients are superb - I find myself extremely stingy with them!!

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