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Q&A: Confectionery 101

Confections

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197 replies to this topic

#181 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:15 AM

A couple of years ago, I wrote this about pouring caramels:


By the way, I tried a square silicone cake pan to pour them out, and it worked better than any other pan I've ever used -- no buttering, no lining with foil and then peeling it off. They just popped out of the pan. I highly recommend it.

Since then, I've used the silicone pans a couple of times, but have always been looking for silicone molds that are a small enough size for caramels. No luck until very recently, when I saw these ice cube trays that are almost the perfect size. You can't tell from the photo, but the cubes are just under 1 inch on a side. They're too large (for my purposes) when filled all the way up, but halfway filled is the perfect size to fit the candy papers I have.

I refrigerated the caramels overnight, and the next day they popped out of the molds perfectly shaped. I'll never cut another caramel again. (Next time I make them, I'll take photos to post.)

Brilliant - I'll have to keep an eye out for those.

#182 Darienne

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:56 AM

Brilliant - I'll have to keep an eye out for those.

I'd be interested in a set of those trays if you can find them in Ontario.
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#183 Steb

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 08:05 PM

My mother bought some fudge the other day and reminded me that she has spent her entire lifetime trying to make fudge work. So I thought we'd make some to give her peace. Of course egullet was my first point of call for a recipe, despite probably having 5 or 6 on the bookshelf.

Thank you Kerry for the recipe.

The results were quiet weird actually. At first it didn't get the semi-crumbly texture of fudge and was more like a soft stretchy caramel toffee. I couldn't lose the gloss from beating. I even got the power mixer on to it, but still it was glossy and stretchy. After a night in the fridge, a cube of it would hold shape by itself, but it would collapse from the heat of the fingers. It was still dark non-crystally.

But after another day loosely wrapped in the fridge, the block started to turn into real fudge, from the middle outwards, lightening in color. Two days later the entire block was real fudge. Was crystallization just taking longer than expected, or was the fridge just drying it out?

If not, I considered where I might have gone wrong:

1. The recipe says brown sugar but demerara sugar is pictured. Demerara here in Australia is more like a raw sugar, larger crystals and usually used in coffees. (Dark) brown sugar is finer and softer and can be heavily compressed. Are either valid?

2. Altitude - I'm 2000 feet up so theoretically I'd have to reduce the soft ball stage down by 4-5 degrees. I didn't do this. Nor did I do a soft ball test on it - I simply went by temperature.

3. Whipping cream - I was a bit scared to use the lite thickened cream we had on hand for this. This was 48% fat, but most importantly, our thickened creams here contain gelatine and vegetable gums. I've just noticed the container has 'not suitable for whipping' on it.

4. Inexactness of ingredients. Glucose always annoying to measure accurately, volumetric weights of solid ingredients I'm never confident with, especially with brown sugar that can be very light or dense. Also I only estimated the modified quantities for differences between American cups and Australian cup sizes rather than with doing it exactly.

5. I made it in enameled cast-iron to eliminate hot spots, so cooling was very slow. With my mother eager to taste it, I transferred it to the fridge to speed up the cooling.

Do any of these sound like fudge killers?

Edited by Steb, 17 January 2010 - 08:38 PM.


#184 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 06:54 AM

My mother bought some fudge the other day and reminded me that she has spent her entire lifetime trying to make fudge work. So I thought we'd make some to give her peace. Of course egullet was my first point of call for a recipe, despite probably having 5 or 6 on the bookshelf.

Thank you Kerry for the recipe.

The results were quiet weird actually. At first it didn't get the semi-crumbly texture of fudge and was more like a soft stretchy caramel toffee. I couldn't lose the gloss from beating. I even got the power mixer on to it, but still it was glossy and stretchy. After a night in the fridge, a cube of it would hold shape by itself, but it would collapse from the heat of the fingers. It was still dark non-crystally.

But after another day loosely wrapped in the fridge, the block started to turn into real fudge, from the middle outwards, lightening in color. Two days later the entire block was real fudge. Was crystallization just taking longer than expected, or was the fridge just drying it out?

If not, I considered where I might have gone wrong:

1. The recipe says brown sugar but demerara sugar is pictured. Demerara here in Australia is more like a raw sugar, larger crystals and usually used in coffees. (Dark) brown sugar is finer and softer and can be heavily compressed. Are either valid?

Interesting how the naming differs by country - I'd say what I used could be called dark brown sugar in some countries - but the sugar you did use should be fine.

2. Altitude - I'm 2000 feet up so theoretically I'd have to reduce the soft ball stage down by 4-5 degrees. I didn't do this. Nor did I do a soft ball test on it - I simply went by temperature.

I've not done any experimentation with altitude and candy - I'd try the given temperature first - as you did - then if it's too firm, drop it back

3. Whipping cream - I was a bit scared to use the lite thickened cream we had on hand for this. This was 48% fat, but most importantly, our thickened creams here contain gelatine and vegetable gums. I've just noticed the container has 'not suitable for whipping' on it.

Might be the problem here - too much fat will throw off the recipe - whipping cream here is 36%. Also the gelatin and gums may change things.

4. Inexactness of ingredients. Glucose always annoying to measure accurately, volumetric weights of solid ingredients I'm never confident with, especially with brown sugar that can be very light or dense. Also I only estimated the modified quantities for differences between American cups and Australian cup sizes rather than with doing it exactly.

I usually work by weight to get around this myself - but this recipe was volume. Brown sugar traditionally gets packed tightly in the cup. I suspect that if you just stuck to Australian cups the ratios would still work out.

5. I made it in enameled cast-iron to eliminate hot spots, so cooling was very slow. With my mother eager to taste it, I transferred it to the fridge to speed up the cooling.

I make it in the heaviest pot I can find - I might transfer it to an 8 cup glass measuring cup if I'm in a hurry to cool - but I do it immediately after removing from the heat.

Do any of these sound like fudge killers?


I'm betting on the cream myself!

#185 Steb

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 03:24 PM

Cheers Kerry. Not sure why I didn't think of transferring the mixture out of the pot for cooling... :wacko:

Yes, strange about the sugars.

This is our brown sugar:

Attached File  brown sugar.jpg   58.64KB   1 downloads

and our demerara:

Attached File  demerara.jpg   99.06KB   0 downloads

It sounds like your demerara is our brown sugar and your turbinado is our demerara. I assume the first picture was what you used in the recipe correct?

I shall try again in a few weeks to save too much weight going on, with the proper cream.

Thanks

#186 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 08:58 PM

Cheers Kerry. Not sure why I didn't think of transferring the mixture out of the pot for cooling... :wacko:

Yes, strange about the sugars.

This is our brown sugar:

Attached File  brown sugar.jpg   58.64KB   1 downloads

and our demerara:

Attached File  demerara.jpg   99.06KB   0 downloads

It sounds like your demerara is our brown sugar and your turbinado is our demerara. I assume the first picture was what you used in the recipe correct?

I shall try again in a few weeks to save too much weight going on, with the proper cream.

Thanks

The first picture would be correct.

#187 Amy D.

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 08:29 AM

I never questioned that the term demerara sugar would be used for different products in different countries, from what I can tell from the photos it looks as though the demerara sold in the UK our demerara is the same as that sold in Australia as shown in Steb's second (demerara) picture. If this is the case then I would suggest that the sugar should not have caused the problems Steb's has suffered as I've not noticed any problems using UK demerara sugar for Kerry's fudge recipe which in the 10+ times I've made it has always produced super smooth creamy fudge.

#188 Rick Mogstad

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 06:52 PM

I have made caramel using this recipe a few times (my first few times), and learned something each time. What I am wondering is what affects the firmness of the final product? Cream/Butter/Sugar Ratio? Temperature? I would like to make it a little bit less firm than last time, and I am wondering how I can tweak the recipe to achieve that.

I have read through some other threads that mention using sorbitol, lechitin, etc. but I don't have these things on hand, and won't have time to find a place to get them before I need to make it. Is there a way I can modify this recipe to achieve a slightly less firm texture? I think the flavor and texture are wonderful, and everyone loves them, but when coated in chocolate, they can be a bit hard to bite (or maybe I am doing something wrong?).

Thanks,

Rick

#189 Kerry Beal

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 05:56 AM

I have made caramel using this recipe a few times (my first few times), and learned something each time. What I am wondering is what affects the firmness of the final product? Cream/Butter/Sugar Ratio? Temperature? I would like to make it a little bit less firm than last time, and I am wondering how I can tweak the recipe to achieve that.

I have read through some other threads that mention using sorbitol, lechitin, etc. but I don't have these things on hand, and won't have time to find a place to get them before I need to make it. Is there a way I can modify this recipe to achieve a slightly less firm texture? I think the flavor and texture are wonderful, and everyone loves them, but when coated in chocolate, they can be a bit hard to bite (or maybe I am doing something wrong?).

Thanks,

Rick

Rick,

The firmness is most dependant on the final temperature. Take it down a degree C at a time until you are happy with it. I usually do a second test with ice water to see if I like the texture after it reaches 121C. Often the difference between thermometers will make a difference.

#190 Rick Mogstad

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 02:00 PM

Cooked to 120 using a different thermometer, and it came out perfect.

One more question. In each batch there have been little flecks of darker something-or-another. I suspect it is from the cream, as it tends to get little solid pieces in it a bit when heated. It doesn't affect the flavor, really, or even the texture, so it is purely a visual problem, but I was wondering if there is any way to avoid that (perhaps I could add vanilla bean and nobody would notice ;))? I thought about straining the cream to make sure those little coagulated pieces didn't get in there, but I didn't want to remove anything crucial to the reactions.

Also, I can confirm that you can easily make a double-batch of this in an 8 qt crock pot, but a triple batch comes very, very close to boiling over (1cm from the top or so). It did boil back down after a few minutes, but I was definitely worried. Would not suggest it, nor would I try it again. I guess someone has to be the idiot to try these things though ;)

-Rick

Edited by Rick Mogstad, 20 May 2010 - 02:01 PM.


#191 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 02:57 PM

Cooked to 120 using a different thermometer, and it came out perfect.

One more question. In each batch there have been little flecks of darker something-or-another. I suspect it is from the cream, as it tends to get little solid pieces in it a bit when heated. It doesn't affect the flavor, really, or even the texture, so it is purely a visual problem, but I was wondering if there is any way to avoid that (perhaps I could add vanilla bean and nobody would notice ;))? I thought about straining the cream to make sure those little coagulated pieces didn't get in there, but I didn't want to remove anything crucial to the reactions.

Also, I can confirm that you can easily make a double-batch of this in an 8 qt crock pot, but a triple batch comes very, very close to boiling over (1cm from the top or so). It did boil back down after a few minutes, but I was definitely worried. Would not suggest it, nor would I try it again. I guess someone has to be the idiot to try these things though ;)

-Rick

If I had a nickel for every batch that's boiled over - I;d have quite a few nickels!

The dark bits come off the bottom of the pot - a thicker pot helps somewhat - more stirring helps the most.

#192 Rick Mogstad

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 07:06 PM

So, how much stirring is too much? Could you stir constantly, and still get reasonable caramelization? Should you cook it at a lower heat if you do so?

#193 Kerry Beal

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 04:19 AM

So, how much stirring is too much? Could you stir constantly, and still get reasonable caramelization? Should you cook it at a lower heat if you do so?

From about 112 or 115 degrees on I stir pretty constantly. I tend to cook at a medium heat most of the way through - perhaps turning down a bit at the end.

#194 prasantrin

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 08:11 PM

Would it be a huge mistake to use a nonstick pan to make fudge? That's all I have. I have a thermometer, so I don't have to rely so much on colour (the main reason I wouldn't normally use a nonstick pan).

And it's just for personal consumption, so it doesn't have to be perfect or pretty or anything.

#195 Kerry Beal

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 08:13 PM

Would it be a huge mistake to use a nonstick pan to make fudge? That's all I have. I have a thermometer, so I don't have to rely so much on colour (the main reason I wouldn't normally use a nonstick pan).

And it's just for personal consumption, so it doesn't have to be perfect or pretty or anything.

Should probably be fine. The weight of the pan for fudge making seems more important than the colour. Sometimes you just gotta use what you got!

#196 prasantrin

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 08:49 PM

Thanks! I will hopefully get the ingredients together and make it tomorrow. I just have a craving that needs attention. I could just buy some fudge, but it would be more interesting to make it!

#197 minas6907

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 02:52 PM

Kerry, can I sub granulated white sugar for the brown sugar in the pulled candy recipe?

#198 Kerry Beal

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 03:03 PM

Kerry, can I sub granulated white sugar for the brown sugar in the pulled candy recipe?


I'm sure you can - here is a white sugar recipe.

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. vinegar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
Boil sugar, vinegar, cream of tartar and water to fine thread stage. Remove from fire; add vanilla. Pour onto greased plates and when cool enough to handle, butter hands and pull until satiny and holds shape.





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