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Q&A: Confectionery 101

202 posts in this topic

Kerry,

I am very excited to see a confectionary course! I will be following along with interest and hope to at least try the nougat and perhaps the caramel.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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:wub: FAN-TAS-TIC!!! I bought all the ingredients for your nougat last month, and somehow got sidetracked from making it. This will be a real treat for me!!

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And what's a caramel ruler or pastry frame?


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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And what's a caramel ruler or pastry frame?

Caramel Rulers and Confectionary Frames are used by confectioners to obtain an end product of uniform thickness.

Used for the production of Caramel, Chocolate Ganache, etc.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Confectionary always scares my to death, so this course is most welcome! I think I want a taffy hook, but I'm not sure 1)what a taffy hook is or 2) where to find one.  I'd appreciate some advice.

Maggie,

Here are a couple of pictures of taffy hooks. The first is similar to the kind that you would have found on the back of a door in my grandmother's kitchen. The second is the one that my husband put together for me and brought up from his workshop about a week after I'd completed all the pictures of pull taffy for the confectionary course. So you won't get to see it in action. Basically you take the mass of boiled sugar between both hands, hook it over the oiled hook and pull down (or towards you for the one hubby built). You then pick the mass back up, bring the ends together, hook it over the hook again and again and pull until it can't be pulled any more.

So do you need a taffy hook? Not really, cause you can just pull the taffy between your hands. A hook will allow you to handle bigger batches, and is easier on arthritic hands.

Just google 'taffy hook' to find mail order sources. This first picture is from the Sugarcraft catalogue. The hooks for the homemade version came from Lee Valley.

T67.jpg

gallery_34671_3115_39669.jpg

Edited to add sources for taffy hooks, as I never read the whole question before answering.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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And what's a caramel ruler or pastry frame?

Caramel Rulers and Confectionary Frames are used by confectioners to obtain an end product of uniform thickness.

Used for the production of Caramel, Chocolate Ganache, etc.

I have some stainless bars that I use as caramel rulers. I went to the Metal Supermarket on Speers Road in Oakville and asked them to cut them for me. The last set I bought were 3/8 inch by 1 inch bar and I had them cut 2-12 inch pieces and 2-8 inch pieces. Hubby polished off the burrs. They cost me around $24. A lot cheaper than the ones you get at stores.

Marlene - there are several Metal Supermarkets in the GTA if you are interested. Just google them.

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What a great course! I look forward to it with great anticipation! :biggrin:

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Please note that a food scale will be necessary for the recipes in these classes. We apologize for the omission from the list of equipment in the course introduction.

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A good friend uses dark corn syrup for her caramels (which are so good we refer to them as Crack!) how would this change the result as compared with the light corn syrup/glucose?

on a side note, I am wondering how chewy caramels were made prior to the availability of corn syrup?

Really interesting course - I make toffee at the holidays, but haven't strayed outside that much, and I keep meaning to, so hopefully this will be my push...


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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A good  friend uses dark corn syrup for her caramels (which are so good we refer to them as Crack!)  how would this change the result as compared with the light corn syrup/glucose?

on a side note, I am wondering how chewy caramels were made prior to the availability of corn syrup? 

Really interesting course - I make toffee at the holidays, but haven't strayed outside that much, and I keep meaning to, so hopefully this will be my push...

Dark corn syrup is also glucose syrup with a small amount of molasses, caramel flavour and caramel colour added. It would likely behave very similarly to white corn syrup in the caramels, but might add a slightly different flavour of it's own, which would be very complimentary to the other flavours in caramel.

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Hi Kerry,

I would like to use carmel to dip marshmallows. Can you offer any suggestions about preparing carmel for dipping?

Thanks for any help!

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Hi Kerry,

I would like to use carmel to dip marshmallows. Can you offer any suggestions about preparing carmel for dipping?

Thanks for any help!

I haven't yet done this. I figured the first thing I would try would be a thin piece of room temperature or slightly warm caramel wrapped around a piece of marshmallow. I suspect that if you dipped them in hot caramel that the marshmallow would melt.

When I dip apples or pretzels in caramel I do it when it cools down to about 90 degrees C.

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Hi Kerry,

I would like to use carmel to dip marshmallows. Can you offer any suggestions about preparing carmel for dipping?

Thanks for any help!

I decided to try a couple of methods this evening to see how it would work.

First, I stabbed a marshmallow with a skewer and dipped it. Not recommended.

Working much better, was just putting a glob of caramel at about 50 degrees on top of the marshmallow, then when cool just stretching it around the marshmallow. That's the first two pictures.

gallery_34671_3115_9229.jpg

gallery_34671_3115_86175.jpg

Here, I poured out a thin layer of caramel on silpat. When cool, took squares of caramel and wrapped them around the marshmallows. The thing to be aware of is that the caramel will flow, so they will need to be wrapped in cello or dipped in chocolate as soon as cool.

gallery_34671_3115_50452.jpg

gallery_34671_3115_43312.jpg

So, I've never before eaten caramel wrapped around a marshmallow, but even with these cheap, no name marshmallows, this is a rather sweet, but amazing combination of textures and flavours.

A chocolate flavoured homemade marshmallow, wrapped in caramel, dipped in bittersweet chocolate - who's going to make it first? Consider it a challange!!

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Question about humidity and caramel (and nougat, too!).

What is the ideal humidity of a room for making confections? I'd like to try making caramels and nougat, but it's about 75% humidity where I am right now. Would it be a bad move to try it now? Or should I wait for a bit. Would 50% humidity be OK? 25%?

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Question about humidity and caramel (and nougat, too!).

What is the ideal humidity of a room for making confections?  I'd like to try making caramels and nougat, but it's about 75% humidity where I am right now.  Would it be a bad move to try it now?  Or should I wait for a bit.  Would 50% humidity be OK?  25%?

I think it's fair to say that high humidity interferes with confectionary. Right now the humidity in my house is 61% and things are turning out OK. I believe the 'recommended' ideal humidity is 55% or less.

If you have air conditioning it really sucks the moisture out of the air and helps a lot when making candy or chocolate.

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I think it's fair to say that high humidity interferes with confectionary.  Right now the humidity in my house is 61% and things are turning out OK.  I believe the 'recommended' ideal humidity is 55% or less. 

If you have air conditioning it really sucks the moisture out of the air and helps a lot when making candy or chocolate.

I do have an air conditioner that has a dehumidifier setting. The only problem is, as with many Japanese appliances made for the Japanese market, it doesn't work very well. It's also typhoon season here. But I'm going to purchase a humidty gauge and as soon as it hits below 60, I'm making the good stuff!!

Soft buttery caramels...mmmmmmmm :wub:

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I think it's fair to say that high humidity interferes with confectionary.  Right now the humidity in my house is 61% and things are turning out OK.  I believe the 'recommended' ideal humidity is 55% or less. 

If you have air conditioning it really sucks the moisture out of the air and helps a lot when making candy or chocolate.

I do have an air conditioner that has a dehumidifier setting. The only problem is, as with many Japanese appliances made for the Japanese market, it doesn't work very well. It's also typhoon season here. But I'm going to purchase a humidty gauge and as soon as it hits below 60, I'm making the good stuff!!

Soft buttery caramels...mmmmmmmm :wub:

Kerry, Thanks so much! I have 2 questions: I have found a website that makes self sticking cellophane squares for enclosing candy. Would you recommend them? Secondly, if I make fleur de sel caramels, at what point would I add the salt topping? Is there extra salt in the basic recipe? (OK that was 3 questions!). Can't wait for nougat.

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How do you convert from grams to ounces for confectionary? any special tips to use? My scale only does ounces.


Lauren

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Try this conversion site.


Edited by mrose (log)
1 person likes this

Mark

www.roseconfections.com

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Kerry, Thanks so much! I have 2 questions: I have found a website that makes self sticking cellophane squares for enclosing candy. Would you recommend them? Secondly, if I make fleur de sel caramels, at what point would I add the salt topping? Is there extra salt in the basic recipe? (OK that was 3 questions!). Can't wait for nougat.

Tell me more about these self sticking cello squares. That would make life so simple. I assume they are they food grade and if so I would highly recommend them (and would love to get some myself).

The fleur de sel is usually sprinkled on after you pour the caramel into the frame, or you can sprinkle a pinch on the top of each finished caramel. Some people add extra salt in the recipe, I don't find it is any better that way. Try with some smoked salt too.

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How do you convert from grams to ounces for confectionary? any special tips to use?  My scale only does ounces.

Try this conversion site.

Thanks for posting that site Mike.

I'm on a newer Mac iBook and I just click on the dashboard and the widget comes up for conversion.

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