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How to prepare candy

Calories???? Well, I need it to run after my kids……Sugar has special properties which make it an ideal candidate for candy recipes. Sugar crystals remain solid at room temperature. When sugar crystals are dissolved in water, the first step in candymaking, the sugar goes into solution. It is then heated and boiled to certain temperatures. Here you are making chemical changes or reactions in the sugar; the heat breaks the crystals apart into molecules which at some point will come back together again as a sugar crystal as the sugar syrup cools. The fact that it solidifies into crystals after heating, is extremely important in candy making.

Basic candy making steps:

Prepare the ingredients and pans: There are different ingredient (formulas) used depending upon the candy recipe. Weighing ingredients is the most accurate way to measure solids, such as sugar, but it can also be measured in a dry measuring cup. Measure liquid in a liquid measuring cup.

The first step - mix together the ingredients: The sugar and water ingredients are put into a 2 to 3 qt saucepan (large enough so boiled sugar does not overflow) and placed over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Most candy recipes require that the sides of the pot be washed down early in the cooking process, either with a wet pastry brush or by putting the lid on the pan for about three minutes to remove any sugar crystals clinging to the container walls. It is also why the recipes specify that the sides and bottom of the pan should not be scraped into the bowl where the candy is to cool. There is too much chance of scraping in a stray sugar crystal. Afterwards, place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan.

Boil the mixture until the desired temperature has been reached: Boil sugar solution according to the recipe and measure its temperature with a candy thermometer. Keep the temperature constant; never try to rush a candy mixture by cooking it at a higher temperature than the recipe directs, or slow it down by reducing the heat.

Cool: All sweets are cooled slightly before being shaped. How the solution is cooled also affects the type of candy.

If you cool quickly after you boil at a known heat, the candy forms as a crystalline or brittle type such as rock candy. At a bit slower cooling after boiling at the same temperature, the candy forms a non-crystalline structure known as a taffy or caramel. For more crystalline candy like fudge, the mixture is set aside to cool slowly. Then it is stirred again to break crystals into smaller pieces, making the fudge smooth and creamy. Lastly, if you add a gelatin, starch, pectin, or gum to the boiling mixture the sugar will gel and make products like jelly beans, Turkish delight, and licorices.

It is important that the boiled mass is cooled sufficiently, since if it is to be formed by hand there is a danger that you may suffer burns.

Stir / Beat / Shape: Stir the candy at the proper stirring temperature. In the case of caramels and lollipops, no stirring is necessary; candy may be transferred directly to serving pan. For candies that must be stirred, continue until mass is thick and stirring difficult due to crystallization.

Beating is a process which controls the process of crystallization and produces crystals of a small size. For example in the production of fudge, the mass is poured onto the table, left to cool, and then beaten with a wood or metal beater.

There are two main ways of forming sweets: cutting into pieces, or setting in molds. Molds may be as simple as a greased and lined tray. Others can be made from rubber, plastic, metal, starch, or wood. The mixture is poured into the impressions and allowed to set.

Tips and recipes for ice cream and sauces

HHHmmmm…simply delicious thing!!!

Homemade ice cream is delicious and easy to make with or without an ice cream maker. Ice cream makers come in a variety of styles, from inexpensive hand-cranked tubs to more expensive models with compressors. Choose the one that best fits your budget and your need for ice cream.

When shopping, get the ice cream last and put it away as soon as you get home.

* To keep opened cartons of ice cream from forming ice crystals, place a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the ice cream, making it as

Airtight as possible. Close the carton well and return to the freezer.

* To soften very hard ice cream, microwave on 30% power for 20 to 30 seconds. The time varies with fat content, so check after 20 seconds.
* When making homemade ice cream in a machine using rock salt and ice, use a ratio of about 1 cup of salt to 6 cups of ice.
* Serve ice cream from a carton in slices instead of scoops. An electric knife works well.
* Freeze newly-made ice cream for about 4 hours before serving.

This is also known as "ripening."

* Make sure to carefully wipe the water and salt off the ice cream container lid before opening.
* Customize your purchased ice cream. Soften the ice cream just enough to enable you to stir in chopped nuts, candy pieces, miniature marshmallows, or brownie or cookie pieces. Return to the freezer until firm.

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