Making candy is one of the great American pastimes. The quaint picture of grandma dishing out her freshly-made fudge is one that resonates strongly with all of us. It’s something the whole family can occupy themselves with on a chilly fall afternoon. Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without a crystal bowl filled with homemade candy for everyone to enjoy after the feast.
Making homemade candies
Some of the most popular candies we make at home include fudge, hard sugar candies, and caramel. Chocolates are popular too, either as a coating or as the headline act. The best thing about making candy at home is that you can tailor your favorites to suit your taste.
Making sugar candies is a really easy process. Typically, it involves melting sugar with a bit of water or butter, and then adding various other ingredients. All you need is a good pot and a candy thermometer. Chocolates can be a little trickier, but it’s well worth the effort when it turns out right.
Candy making requires a lot of practice, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfectly the first time!
For making a nice batch of grandma’s fudge, you need:
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup cocoa
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tbsp butter
- vanilla extract
Add the sugar, cocoa and milk to your chosen saucepan and whisk until it’s all blended nicely. Bring it all to a boil. Don’t worry about a few lumps here and there. Stir occasionally while it boils over a medium flame, but not too much or it will get grainy.
Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer. Do not stir. Allow to cook until it reaches 238° F. If you don’t have a thermometer, fill a glass with iced water. After 10 minutes of boiling, drop a bit of the melted fudge into the glass. If it forms a soft ball, it’s ready.
Turn off the heat and gently stir vanilla and butter into the mix. Remove the saucepan from the stove and place it in a sink of cold water, being careful not to allow any extra water to spill into the saucepan. Beat the fudge with a wooden spoon until it loses its sheen.
Pour the fudge into a buttered pan. The consistency should be soft enough to spread evenly. Allow it to cool completely before you cut it. Voila! Grandma’s homemade fudge is ready for you to enjoy.
Calibrate your candy thermometer. It’s important that your measurements are accurate. You’ll need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon of flavored extract (optional)
- Food coloring (optional)
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and let the mixture reach 295 °F.
Immediately remove from heat and add in your extracts and/or food coloring. Spoon into greased candy molds and allow to cool. You can also use this method to make lollipops.
To make caramels, boil a pot of water and calibrate your candy thermometer. It should read 212° F. You’ll need:
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 1-½ cups corn syrup
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 1 cup of butter
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1 cup cream and butter, and 1 cup of cream in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Next, add the remaining cream.
Raise the temperature of the mixture to 242° F, without stirring. It’s ready when a drop of the syrup forms a soft ball when dropped into a glass of cold water. Stir in your vanilla.
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Pour the mixture into a buttered pan and refrigerate. When they’ve cooled, let them warm to room temperature and cut into squares. Wrap the caramels in wax paper and enjoy.
Which pot is great for making candy at home?
Making your own candy at home requires an element of focus and attention. Mess it up, and you’re going to ruin your pots. When sugar burns and sticks to your pot, it’s a complete nightmare to remove it. This is why you need a quality cooking pot that is strong and durable.
Stainless steel makes for a good material to cook candy with. The coloring of the steel also allows you to monitor the color of your candy mixtures so you know it hasn’t burned yet. Nonstick surfaces will be dark and ultimately make it harder to see the coloring. Stainless steel is also a strong and durable material that will last a long time.
That being said, what’s the best cooking pot for making candy?
Cuisinart has a stainless steel pot that’s perfect for making candy at home. This company is a trusted brand in the kitchen supplies game, and their stainless steel saucepan lives up to that reputation. The quality is great, and the aluminum core means that it distributes the heat evenly across the base.
This pot comes with a glass lid, which makes it all the more useful for candy making, as you can keep an eye on the coloring of your sugar. As boiling sugar can be a bit hazardous, you want a handle that remains cool and won’t absorb a lot of heat. This pot comes with a stainless steel handle that won’t absorb the heat, making it a safer option.
As already mentioned, boiled sugar has the potential to be very difficult to clean. Thankfully, this pot is dishwasher safe. All in all, it’s a solid piece of kit.
A sweet surprise
When it comes to making homemade candy, it’s all about practice. Don’t be afraid to try a bunch of different recipes! There are a million and one different things you can add to your basic candy mix to make it your own, unique candy. The Cuisinart Stainless Steel is quality at a great price.
Crystallized ginger is a great sweet treat. Learn how to crystallize ginger without sugar for your next candy batch.
Before you know it, you’ll be tucking into your own delicious treats. Who can wait for Thanksgiving?
Making candy is an art form. Check out my recommendations for the best candy thermometer.
Do you love making desserts at home? See my recipes section to learn how to make delicious filled cupcakes and other treats that will impress your family this Thanksgiving!