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Kathryn T.

Candymaking with dextrose, where to start learning?

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My 7 year old daughter was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption Disorder in August, after six years of terrible digestive trouble. Now she's doing very much better on a low-fructose diet, but she misses all her favorite treats. She can tolerate glucose/dextrose, aspartame (nutrasweet), saccharin, and up to a tablespoon of sucrose (cane sugar) per day max -- in practice we try to give her almost none. We've been bumping along without sweet things, but when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, tears welled up in her eyes and she said "I want to be able to eat candy again."

I'm not made of stone. My heart just broke. I want to help her out as much as I can, which means learning how to make candy with dextrose/glucose/corn syrup and as little cane sugar as possible. I have made candy occasionally in the past, and I'm a reasonably good and adventurous cook -- I make my own salami, that sort of thing -- so I feel like this is something I can tackle if I have good resources.

Which resources, though? I know that dextrose/glucose, while still a natural sugar, has very different structural and chemical properties than sucrose/cane sugar, but I don't know HOW they're different. Is hard candy out of the question? What about fudge, or caramels? What are the hard and soft ball stage temperatures?? Does glucose even HAVE a soft or hard ball stage? Are there resources, either online or in print, where I can learn more about this? Would I look at regular candymaking, or some molecular gastronomy whatnot, or. . .?

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Chocolate truffles are my first thought. Glucose in the ganache with dark chocolate would work.

I'm about to start making sucrose-free fudge so that's another possibility. I'd offer a recipe but I make mine from a mix by Calico Cottage using their kettle and everything. But from this we know it's possible so just a matter of finding a recipe.

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Here's a quick treat, it's something pastry chefs whip up for special desserts or to make something quickly for a competition. Pour some corn syrup into a small bowl or measuring cup, maybe a 1/4 cup's worth, and add a drop or two of water based flavoring and stir well. Then, add a couple of random drops of food color and don't mix it. Prep a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment or a silpat, the silpat works better, and preheat your oven to 400°F. Use a teaspoon to scoop up some of the syrup and smear it into 1"-2" diameter circles with at least 2" of space between them. -The more random the color placement, the better. Bake for 10-15 minutes (convention helps) or until the syrup bubbles up then stops. Remove from oven before it browns or burns. Be careful, these can burn you very badly. If you handle them with gloves, you can quickly place them over the back of a ladle or small bowl to make them into bowls to hold desserts or other interesting shapes. You can just allow them to cool, too. They will cool into a delicate, lacy hard candy.

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These guys specialise in making sweet things using dextrose and rice malt syrup, both fructose free

www.thesugarbreakup.com

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be careful with chocolate - as most commercial chocolates (even dark chocolates) contain quite a bit of sugar. There are sugar-free chocolates on the market - I don't know about quality though....

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be careful with chocolate - as most commercial chocolates (even dark chocolates) contain quite a bit of sugar.

Absolutely. Even high quality chocolate usually contains ~30% sugar, and therefore 15% fructose.

We don't have any fructose medical issues in my family but we try to limit it from a general health and weight loss perspective. So when we cook with chocolate we'll use a very dark chocolate, at least 85%, so that the fructose component is minimal.

For example, if making ganache, I'll typically use 200g cream and 200g 85% green & black chocolate but while heating the cream I'll add 30-45g of dextrose to sweeten further. That then leaves the ganache with about 3% fructose (15g out of 440g). Not ideal, but low enough for me, given the overall lack of fructose in my general diet.

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Curious how you made out?  Funny you should ask about the dextrose heat stages.  I tried adding some to a candy recipe I'm playing with, to keep volume but cut sweetness, and I couldn't get it past the soft ball stage.  I found this post when poking around for answers.   Have you found anything similar?  

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