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Candy-making Thermometer vs. 'Cold Water Test'

Posted: Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Many candy recipes fail because of improper cooking and cooling temperatures. Whether a candy thermometer or the "cold water test" is used for making candy, it is important that the candy be made precisely as a recipe directs.

A glass candy thermometer and a digital candy thermometer sit atop a batch of fudge cooked perfectly at 234 degrees and cooled to a lukewarm 110 degrees before stirring. The investment made in a candy thermometer is worth it compared to money and ingredients wasted when candy making goes wrong.

To test a thermometer's accuracy, place it in a saucepan of boiling water; it should read 212 degrees.

If you don't have a candy thermometer, test the temperature and stage of candy mixture with the "cold water test" by dipping a metal spoon into the hot candy mixture and allowing a dollop of the mixture to fall into a small cup of cold (not room temperature) water:

Thread stage 230 -233 degrees: The mixture falls off the spoon and into the water in a fine thread.

Soft ball stage 234-240 degrees: The mixture will form into a soft, flexible ball that will flatten when removed from the water.

Firm ball stage 244-248 degrees: The mixture will form into a ball that will hold its shape when removed from the water.

Hard ball stage 250-266 degrees: The mixture will form a firm yet pliable ball when removed from the water.

Soft crack stage 270-290 degrees: The mixture will separate into hard pliable threads when removed from the water.

Hard crack stage 300-310 degrees: The mixture will separate into hard, brittle threads when removed from the water.



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