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Confectionery 101

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by Kerry Beal

This course will begin next week on Sept. 5. Please read through the introduction for information on equipment and ingredients.

The Instructor

Kerry Beal, The Chocolate Doctor, started making candy in childhood, learning how to make fudge from her mother and pull taffy from her grandmother. (Because she had the patience of a gnat, she had trouble waiting for her fudge, so it tended to be grainy. She's gotten better.) Her interest in candy revived as an adult, and she started working with chocolate about ten years ago after purchasing a small tempering machine while on holiday in San Francisco. That started her journey into all things chocolate.

Kerry is the author of the Chocolate Doctor series of educational DVDs, which cover the basic techniques for working with chocolate. She plans to make at least two other DVDs in the series to cover airbrushing with chocolate and pan coating with chocolate. She teaches courses in chocolate techniques, caramel making and confectionery.

Although she has no plans to open a chocolate or candy shop, Kerry loves to develop new recipes and enjoys reverse engineering what she tastes. Friends bring her treats from around the world with instructions to 'copy it for me. She supports her passion for all things in the kitchen with her day job as a family physician, so she truly is the Chocolate Doctor.

The Series: Confectionery 101

The subjects we will cover in this course are:

1. Caramel

2. Nougat

3. Fudge/Fondant

4. Pull Taffy

The art of confectionery is all about the control of crystallization: the crystallization of sugar in sweets and the crystallization of cocoa butter in chocolate.

Caramel, toffee and butterscotch are all candies with a non-crystalline structure, the differences in texture being determined by the temperature to which the batch is taken. For caramel and related candy, sugar is dissolved and large amounts of glucose are added to retard crystallization. Very little stirring takes place, again to discourage crystallization.

Producing nougat and divinity also involves the retardation of sugar crystallization. A combination of boiled sugar and glucose with a frappe of egg albumin gives them their characteristic texture. The density and chewiness is determined by the proportions of sugar to glucose and the temperature to which the sugar solution is cooked.

Fudge or fondant is made by boiling sugar with a liquid to first completely dissolve the sugar, then cooling to the ideal temperature before beating to encourage the formation of crystals of the desired size. It is the very fine crystals that we produce under these conditions that give fudge or fondant its creamy texture on the tongue.

Pull taffy is sugar syrup cooked to a soft crack stage then allowed to cool just until it can be handled. It is then pulled until it lightens in colour and the crystals form a series of parallel ridges, providing its characteristic texture.

Required supplies

Note: Much of the equipment and ingredients will be used in all four classes.

Class 1: Caramel


Heavy pot 6 quarts or larger

Candy or digital thermometer

Silicone spatula or wooden or bamboo spoon

Caramel rulers or pastry frame or metal baking pan

Parchment paper or Silpat or oiled marble slab

Chef’s knife or pizza cutter or guitar cutter (if you are so blessed)



Glucose (white corn syrup)



Heavy cream


Class 2: Nougat


Small heavy pot

Candy or digital thermometer

Stand mixer

Caramel rulers or pastry frame or 8 x 8 inch metal pan

Chefs knife or pizza cutter



Glucose (white corn syrup)

Egg whites

Peanut butter

Class 3: Fudge


Heavy 4-quart pot

Candy or digital thermometer

Wooden or bamboo spoon or silicone spatula

Marble or granite slab (optional)

Scraper if using slab to agitate


Sugar, white and brown

Glucose (white corn syrup)


Milk or cream



Class 4: Pull Candy


Heavy 4 quart or larger pot

Candy or digital thermometer

Marble or granite slab or large platter or flat pan

Two strong arms or taffy hook




Glucose (white corn syrup)


Peppermint oil (optional)

I hope these classes will encourage you to follow along and try some new techniques. I don't pretend to know everything about confectionery although I learn a lot every time I teach. I look forward to everyone's input, tips and techniques and trouble-shooting ideas. Together we will be able to answer questions, make suggestions and encourage successful confectionery.

So get out your heaviest pots, your silicone spatulas, and your candy thermometers, and let's make some candy.

Note from the eGCI team: A food scale is also necessary for these classes.

Please post your questions and comment on the class here, in the Q&A.

Edited by eGCI Team (log)
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The member-supported eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters is pleased to present the first class in the eGCI course Confectionery 101. To help make this course and others possible, please take a moment, if you have not already, to upgrade to a Society Donor membership. If you are not yet a member, please first join the eGullet Society.


Caramel is a soft, chewy confection made by boiling together milk, sugar, glucose and fat. The sugar in chewy caramel is not in a crystallized form.

The texture of caramel is determined by the amount of milk solids and the type of fat. The quality is determined by the use of superior ingredients such as pure butter and cream. The flavour is determined by the type of sugar used and additional ingredients.

The mellow flavour and colour of caramel result from the Maillard reaction between milk protein and the reducing sugar lactose. Lactose caramelizes at a lower temperature than other sugars, so at the firm ball stage to which we bring caramel, lactose will be the primary sugar caramelized. A long slow cooking will give a softer, mellower toffee. The principal cause of toughness and lack of flavour in caramel are high temperatures and inferior materials.

A high percentage of glucose is used in caramel to keep the crystallization of sucrose in check. Honey, which contains a large percentage of invert sugar, also interferes with crystallization and contributes its own unique flavour. Fat also interferes with sugar crystallization. White sugar produces a firmer caramel than brown sugar. Toughness in caramel is different from firmness and depends on the amount and type of glucose used.

Fat is also necessary in chewy caramel to prevent it from sticking to the teeth, known as 'stickjaw' in the industry. The choice of fat contributes to flavour, with salted butter producing a quality product.

Chewy caramel is cooked to the firm ball stage, 244 to 250 F (118 to 121 C). Stirring is essential in caramel making, to prevent overcaramelization of the milk components and to emulsify the fats.

When it reaches the correct temperature, the caramel can be poured out onto oiled marble or Silpat between caramel bars or a metal frame, or into an oiled metal pan. The caramel should not be scraped from the bottom of the pan when pouring it out. The pan scrapings contain bits of candy that are cooked to a higher temperature and these will be detected as hard bits in the batch. The batch should sit 12 to 24 hours before cutting.

If the cut caramel is not to be dipped in chocolate, it must be wrapped in waxed paper or cello squares to prevent it's spreading. Chewy caramel can be used in a variety of treats, such as turtles, pecan rolls and the centres of chocolate bars.

Chewy Caramel

This is a lovely rich chewy caramel. The recipe is adapted from Chocolats et Confiserie L'ecole Lenotre Volume 2.

375 grams sugar

300 grams glucose (white corn syrup)

75 grams water

50 grams salted butter

50 grams honey

500 grams heavy cream

2 tsp. quality vanilla extract

Start by weighing out the sugar, glucose and water into a large heavy pot. You will need a pot of at least 6 quarts in order to avoid boilovers. I use an 8-quart All-Clad stockpot.

Weigh out the butter and honey, and have it ready to add when required.

The heavy cream will require heating before it is added to the other ingredients, so place it in a small saucepan or 4-cup glass measure to heat in the microwave.

Start the sugar, glucose and water heating over medium heat until all sugar is dissolved. You may find it helpful to put a lid on the pot for a minute or so to make sure that the steam that forms dissolves any sugar crystals that remain on the sides of the pot. Now clip on a candy thermometer or place your digital thermometer in the syrup.

You are going to heat this syrup to 145 degree C (293 F). While the syrup is cooking, heat the cream until you see small bubbles forming on the surface. Keep warm while syrup reaches temperature.

When the syrup reaches temperature, add the honey and butter. Now add the warm cream in 3 or 4 aliquots. Be careful while doing this: it will bubble up and has the potential to cause very nasty burns. You will realize at this point why you need such a large pot. The temperature will drop significantly at this point.

We now need to cook the caramel to 121 degrees C (250 F). Stir frequently. You will notice the colour start to develop as the lactose caramelization occurs. Once it has reached the final temperature, take it off the heat, wait until any boiling stops, and then add the vanilla.

Pour the caramel out either into a steel frame or caramel rulers placed on oiled marble or a silicone sheet or into an oiled metal pan. Don't scrape the pot. For this sized batch I would make the rulers approximately 8 by 8 inches, or pour into an 8-inch metal pan. The metal frame that I have measures 14 by 4 1/2 inches, and this batch fits nicely into it.

Let sit overnight before cutting.


Ingredients ready to go


Honey and butter weighed out and waiting to be added when sugar reaches 145 C.


Cream warmed and ready to be added carefully to hot sugar syrup.


Caramel rulers placed on silpat, in anticipation of finished caramel. You could use a frame or oiled metal pan.


Place the sugar, glucose and water in large heavy pan and place on heat.


Bring to a boil, make sure no sugar crystals remain on sides of pan. Bring to 145 C.


Add butter and honey.


Add hot cream in 3 or 4 aliquots, being careful as it will bubble up.


The cream will bring the temperature of the mixture down to about 107 C. Remember to stir every minute or so.


At about 110 degrees C, this has taken about 7 minutes.


After about 12 minutes, now at 115 degrees C, notice the colour change and how much bigger the bubbles have become.


After about 15 or more minutes, the caramel reaches 121 degrees C.



After the bubbles die down, add the vanilla extract.


Caramel poured into the rulers.


After an overnight sit, the caramel is removed from the rulers.


Caramel being cut on a flexible cutting board. Make sure the caramel doesn't stick to your board.


Pieces cut for wrapping in cello.


Caramel placed on a piece of cello.


Ends of cello require twisting or a touch with a hot glue gun.


Pieces suitable for dipping in chocolate (or just for eating right away).


Future turtles, and in the right lower corner a social tea biscuit covered with caramel - Twix like perfection.

For an easily printed version of the recipe for this caramel, please click here for the RecipeGullet entry.

Please post your questions in the Confectionery 101 Q&A.

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Nougat is the base for a large variety of familiar confections. Mixed with nuts or dried fruits it forms traditional European treats such as the French nougat Montelimar, Italian Torrone and Spanish Turron. Many North American chocolate bars contain a form of nougat as the base, bars such as Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers and Mars. Cherry-laced nougat is the biggest component of that ubiquitous American treat, the Stuckey's Pecan Log.

Nougat is essentially a combination of marshmallow and high-temperature boiled syrup. Egg white serves as the frappe and the syrup is made from sugar, glucose and often an invert sugar in a form such as honey. A sufficient amount of 'hard vegetable butter' such as cocoa butter is added to facilitate cutting the batch.

To make marshmallow, egg white frappe is mixed with syrup cooked to about 260 F, whereas for nougat the syrup is cooked to about 290 F, then the mass is weighted to compact it. Additional heat may be required to help solidify the mass.

The chewiness of the nougat is controlled by the percentage of non-crystallizing sugars, doctors such as glucose, invert sugar or honey. A syrup made without any doctor would give a very crumbly nougat. The more slowly the syrup is cooked, the more inversion that takes place and the chewier the product. Nougat eventually grains, after an overnight sit.

When making a syrup with honey, the honey is heated separately and added after a certain temperature is reached in order to minimize the flavour change brought about by overheating. Honey is added to initiate granulation and for flavour. Glucose extends the shelf life.

The fat added to the nougat must not be too warm, nor mixed in too thoroughly, or it will cause loss of volume. (When making French nougat, for instance, if you add the cocoa butter to the toasted nuts while still warm as shown in this picture, you will not cause the collapse of the mixture. That was a hint picked up in an older post by fellow eGullet member Drewman.)

Certain nougat, such as nougat Montelimar, is traditionally pressed between two sheets of 'rice paper,' an edible product made from gelatin which prevents the nougat from sticking and facilitates cutting.

In this class we are going to make nougat with peanut butter as a centre for homemade Snickers Bars.

Nougat for Homemade Snickers Bars

400 grams sugar

150 grams glucose (white corn syrup)

125 grams water

pinch salt

60 grams egg whites

125 grams peanut butter

Prepare your caramel rulers by oiling them lightly and placing over rice paper on a piece of parchment or Silpat. You may also use an oiled frame, or an 8x8-inch pan. The rice paper makes this recipe easier to work with; however, it is not absolutely necessary if things are oiled well enough as this is not as sticky a nougat as some.

Place sugar, glucose and water in 4-quart pot and bring to a boil. Place thermometer in syrup. Start egg whites beating with a pinch of salt in the bowl. Egg whites need to be stiff by the time the syrup reaches 270 F (132 C). Pour syrup slowly down the side of the bowl while beating on the fastest mixer speed. Beat until mixtures cools slightly and becomes doughy. Mix in peanut butter by hand and place in prepared surface.


Ingredients ready to go.


One option for preparing pan, rice paper lining a cake pan.


A second option, caramel rulers on rice paper. Oiled parchment is an option for this recipe.


Mix sugar, water and glucose.


Bring to a boil and cook to 270 F (132C).


Whip egg whites with pinch of salt so they are forming stiff peaks when syrup reaches temperature.


Carefully pour hot syrup along the side of the bowl into the whites.


Continue to beat mixture.


Beat until the mixture cools slightly and becomes a bit doughy.


Just barely mix in peanut butter by hand. If you mix too much this mixture will get too crumbly.


Press mixture into rulers, frame or pan.


Make a half batch of caramel, add some peanuts, pour over top of nougat, and let sit overnight.


Run knife around pan and turn out onto cutting board. Peel off parchment; rice paper may be left on.



Cut the nougat and caramel layers into strips, and then small bars.



Nougat and caramel mixture, cut into bars, dipped in milk chocolate. Faux Snickers!

For an easily printed version of the recipe for this peanut butter nougat, please click here for the RecipeGullet entry.

Finally, for another nougat recipe, have a look here for pictures of almond pistachio nougat and here for the recipe in RecipeGullet.

Please post your questions here in the Confectionery 101 Q&A.

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Fudge is a soft, creamy confection whose invention is credited variously to the “Seven Sister” American colleges. Thus you can find recipes for Vassar fudge which contains sugar and cream, Wellesley fudge containing marshmallows, and Smith fudge with brown sugar, molasses and cream.

Sugar crystals in their natural state are large and uneven in shape. Once they are dissolved, we want to recrystallize them into fine, small crystals that are detected as smooth by the tongue. Techniques for fudge, fondant and other cream candies make use of this recrystallization to produce their characteristic texture.

Fudge is fundamentally a mixture of caramel and fondant. The graining may be produced by one of two methods. In the first we agitate the mixture after it cools to a certain temperature. The agitation can be done either in the pot or after pouring out on a marble slab or into a shallow container. The second method involves adding premade fondant to the mixture to act as a seed to encourage the 'correct' crystal formation.

The production of fudge involves dissolving sugar in some sort of liquid, usually milk or cream, but you can use buttermilk, creme fraiche or sour cream to get a more interesting flavour. A bit of glucose (white corn syrup) may be added to prolong the shelf life. The resulting syrup is cooked to the soft ball stage, 234 to 238 degrees F or 112 to 114 degrees C, taking care to dissolve all sugar crystals. Any large crystals left in the mixture at this point will serve as a nidus for crystallization of like crystals early in the cooling process.

The mixture is now cooled to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), undisturbed so as not to start crystallization early, then beaten or agitated to encourage the production of the small, fine sugar crystals we are after. If glucose has been added to the mixture, the beating time will be prolonged.

The texture of fudges and fondants improves upon sitting, the slight graininess being replaced with the very smooth texture we associate with a quality product. While still warm, the mixture can be kneaded into a pliable consistency in order to produce shapes that can then be dipped in chocolate. Kneading will also allow you to save a batch if it hardens in the pan before you have a chance to turn it out. Kneading produces a creamy texture in a shorter period of time than simply allowing it to sit.

Pecan Fudge

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups cream (while I used whipping cream, you can substitute evaporated milk or half and half with excellent results)

2 tbsp glucose (white corn syrup)

1/2 cup salted butter

2 tsp quality vanilla extract

2 cups pecans

Prepare a loaf pan by lining with plastic wrap, or line an 8 x 8-inch pan with plastic.

Roast the pecans, either for a couple of minutes in the microwave or in the oven, until warm and fragrant. Chop coarsely.

Place sugars with cream, butter and glucose in a 4- to 6-quart pan. Bring to a boil, stir down any crystals on the side of the pan. You may need to put the lid on for a minute or two to dissolve any crystals. Cook to 234 F (112 C). Remove from heat, leaving thermometer in place and let sit undisturbed until it reaches 110 F (43 C). Add vanilla and begin beating. When mixture starts to thicken stir in pecans and continue to beat until mixture loses its gloss. Pour out into prepared pan. Let sit overnight before cutting (if you can wait that long).


Ingredients ready to go.


Loaf pan lined with plastic wrap.


Nuts roasted and chopped coarsely.


Sugars, cream, glucose and butter in 4 to 6 quart pan.


Bring to a boil, dissolve all sugar crystals, stir frequently, until reaching 234 F (112 C).


Take off the heat, let sit undisturbed until cools to 110 F (43 C).


Once cool, add vanilla.


Start beating. Alternately you could pour the syrup out on a marble slab and agitate with a scraper.


Watch for the syrup starting to thicken.


When it starts to thicken, add the pecans.


Once pecans added, continue to beat.


Watch for the fudge starting to lose its gloss.


You can take a small amount of syrup out to test occasionally. On right, notice how the syrup is holding its shape, indicating crystallization.


Fudge ready to be poured out into prepared pan.


Let sit in pan until firms up, preferably overnight to fully crystallize and become smoother.


Cut into slices for serving.

For a printable version of this recipe for fudge, click here for the RecipeGullet entry.

Please post your questions here in the Confectionery 101 Q&A.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Pulled candy is a familiar sight. Multicoloured ribbon candy, butter mints, humbugs, salt water taffy -- the list is endless. Pulling on cooling sugar syrup incorporates tiny air bubbles, which gives a lighter texture and opaqueness to the candy. It also allows the manufacture of many apparently different candies using the same technique. Pulled candy is also known as "satin work."

Pulled candy is a "high boiled sweet." Sugar syrup is boiled to the hard ball stage for a soft sticky candy or to the soft crack stage for a brittle candy. (Compare this to a lollipop, which is taken to the hard crack stage.)

Pulled candy can be given a crumbly, chalky texture by minimizing the amount of glucose and adding cream of tartar. To make candy with a hard, glossy finish more glucose is added. Glycerine may be added to make the candy chewy.

The hot syrup is poured out onto an oiled surface and allowed to cool just enough to allow it to be worked. When the candy is worked by hand, it is pulled into a long rope then folded back on itself and pulled again. It may take as long as 20 minutes to become opaque and creamy. A twisting motion may also be used when working the candy, but this drives air bubbles out of the candy. Caution is required when pulling the candy, as it is very hot.

If the candy crystallizes or hardens before becoming opaque, it can be reboiled with some water and glucose to the appropriate temperature and reworked.

Once the candy reaches the desired appearance, it is pulled into a thin rope and cut with oiled scissors, then wrapped in cello or waxed paper.

Brown Sugar Pulled Candy

500 grams dark brown sugar

1 cup cold water

2 tsp vinegar

2 tbsp butter

1 drop peppermint oil (optional)

Place sugar, water, vinegar and butter into a 4-quart (or larger) heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until it reaches 290 degrees F (143 C). Pour out in a pool on an oiled marble slab. If you choose to use peppermint oil, put a drop on the pool of syrup. Let the syrup cool until it forms a skin -- a minute or so. Use an oiled spatula or scraper to turn the edges into the centre. Continue turning until it is cool enough to handle. Begin stretching with gloved or oiled hands, pulling and twisting the syrup until the candy becomes opaque and creamy. Pull and twist to a long thin rope of even thickness, then cut with oiled scissors into small pieces.


Our ingredients. You don't need to use bottled water; tap water is fine. The small bottle

is the optional peppermint oil.



Using a neutral flavoured oil, wipe a thin layer on your marble, scrapers and scissors.


Place sugar, water, vinegar and butter in a 4-quart pot.


Wash any crystals from the sides of the pan, and place the thermometer in the syrup.


After about 15 minutes the syrup will reach 290F (143C). Remove from heat and pour on slab.


Let sit for a minute or so, until you see a slight skin form on the top of the syrup. At this

point put a drop or two of peppermint oil on the syrup if using.


Using your oiled tools, turn the edges in towards the center.


Continue to turn until the syrup cools sufficiently to handle.


You can handle with oiled hands or, as I do, with a pair of cotton gloves under vinyl gloves.

I imagine that dishwashing gloves would also work nicely and protect your hands.


Collect the hot syrup.


Pull your hands apart to form the syrup into a rope.


Fold the rope back on itself.



Continue to pull, fold, twist and pull until the mass lightens in colour and begins to stiffen.

Now pull and twist into a long thin rope in preparation for cutting.


Quickly cut with oiled scissors. Alternately, you could wait until it hardens completely and

snap off at intervals.

For an easily printed version of this recipe click here for the RecipeGullet entry.

Please post your questions here in the Confectionery 101 Q&A.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The member-supported eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters is pleased to present this bonus class in the eGCI course Confectionery 101. To help make this course and others possible, please take a moment, if you have not already, to upgrade to a Society Donor membership. If you are not yet a member, please first join the eGullet Society.


Sugar and other ingredients taken to the soft or hard crack stage can be used to produce brittles and toffees. In this demo we will produce two products. Both take the sugar to 300F (149C), but the result is two very different candies: toffee or butter crunch, and sponge toffee.

Almond Butter Crunch is known by a variety of names, including Almond Roca and English Toffee. Sugar, butter, glucose (white corn syrup) and water are taken to the hard crack, a small amount of baking soda is added and the candy is poured out in a thin sheet. Baking soda aerates the toffee a bit and causes slight darkening in colour.

The candy is cooked over medium heat. It will be taken to 300F (149C) but is only stirred up to about 212F (100C), unless the butter separates. (If that happens, just stir vigorously and turn up the heat a bit. After it reaches final temperature, the baking soda is added and it is stirred for a few seconds before being poured out on to parchment, an oiled baking sheet or oiled marble slab.

If it is taken beyond 300F, too much sugar inverts and the texture become flinty and it won't develop the nice soft grain you associate with this candy. It is best aged for a few days before consumption, as the grain improves with time.

Sponge Toffee (aka honeycomb, splinter toffee) is just sugar, water and glucose taken to the hard crack after which a relatively large amount of baking soda is added. The sugar syrup is not brown when it reaches 300F; instead, when you add the baking soda you quickly see a change in colour to the golden hues that we associate with sponge toffee. After the baking soda is added it is stirred just a couple of strokes in order to distribute the baking soda then poured out quickly on to an oiled or parchment covered surface. If it is stirred too vigorously or spread out on the surface you won't get that nice puffy sponge.


Almond Butter Crunch

1 1/4 cup sugar (265 g)

1/3 cup glucose (100 g)

1/3 cup water (75 g)

1 cup butter (225 g)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cup almonds (toasted, cooled and chopped finely)

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (285 g)

cocoa for sprinkling


Ingredients ready to go. Tap water is fine.


The sugar, water and glucose measured out into a heavy 4 quart saucepan.


The syrup is brought to a boil for a couple of minutes.


The butter is added and the boiling continues over medium heat. Stir until it reaches 212F (100C).


Stop stirring after 212F, unless butter separated, then turn up heat and stir for a few seconds.


Remove from heat at 300F (149C).


Stir in the baking soda quickly, do not overmix.


Note slight darkening after soda is incorporated.


Pour out quickly on to prepared surface -- I prefer parchment.


Spread out quickly before it solidifies.


Note sheen of fat on the surface of the toffee.


While toffee is cooling, chop nuts. A serrated knife works better than a chefs knife for this job (fewer flying nuts).


Dust the surface of the toffee with some cocoa to soak up any oil, and to help prevent the chocolate from separating from the toffee.


Spread the tempered chocolate* on the toffee.


Before chocolate has a chance to harden, sprinkle the chopped nuts over the surface.


With a little persuasion the nuts can be encouraged to stick to the chocolate.


Once the chocolate is hardened, crack the toffee into managable pieces.


If you can, let it sit for a day or two to let the toffee texture improve.

Sponge Toffee

300 grams sugar

75 grams glucose

60 grams water

1 tbsp baking soda


Ingredients for sponge toffee. Tap water is fine; bottled water is not required.


Weigh out sugar, water and glucose into a 4 quart saucepan. Measure out baking soda.


Have ready a sheet of parchment (or oiled baking sheet or marble slab) and some sort of whisk or heat resistant spatula to mix in soda.


Boil until it reaches 300F (149C). Note the lack of colour in the syrup.


Add the baking soda.


Give just a couple of quick stirs; you don't want to thoroughly mix or you will lose the bubbles.


Note how the golden colour is developing with the addition of baking soda.


Pour out quickly on to parchment, oiled baking pan or oiled marble slab.


Do not flatten out the mixture.


Note that there are still lumps of baking soda, indicating that the mixture was not overmixed.


Once cool, break into chunks. This can be further dipped in tempered chocolate*, or broken into small chunks and added to a butter and chocolate ganache, or made into a great bark.


Note the variation in bubble size and the golden colour produced around chunks of baking soda.

* Instructions for tempering chocolate can be found here. Since this is dark chocolate, melt to reach 40 to 45C, cool to 27C, reheat to 29 or 30C.

For an easily printed version of the recipe, click here for the RecipeGullet entry for Almond Butter Crunch or here the the Sponge Toffee recipe.

Please post your questions here in the Confectionary 101 Q&A.

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  • 4 weeks later...


Hard candies are high-boiled sweets that can be clear, pulled or grained, making for a variety of textures. They differ from other boiled sugar candy primarily in their low moisture content. Examples of hard candy are lollipops, lozenges, stick candy, rock candy and mints.

Lollipops can be one of the simplest of the boiled sugar treats. Sugar syrup, cooked to the hard crack stage -- 290 to 300 F (143 to 149C) -- is cooled slightly, flavour and colour are added, then the candy is poured out onto an oiled marble slab or other nonstick surface.

Overworking the batch while incorporating the flavour and colour may cause crystallization. A bit of glucose added to the syrup will inhibit crystallization, keeping the candy clear.

Hard candy is best made on a dry day where the humidity is low. Syrups taken to witcrack temperatures contain very little water, so they have a tendency to absorb moisture from the air and become sticky on a humid day. The candy should be wrapped in cello or packed airtight containers as soon as it cools.

Hard candies are more likely to be sticky if too much 'doctor' (corn syrup, invert sugar or cream of tartar) is used. The higher the temperature to which the candy is taken, the more the sugar inverts, and thus the less doctor that is required. Hence a soft-boiled sweet such as caramel uses more corn syrup than hard candy.


2 cups sugar

1 tbsp glucose (white corn syrup)

2/3 cup water

2 to 3 drops essential oil or flavouring (I used 2 drops of lavender oil)

Several drops water based food colouring

Place the sugar, glucose and water in a heavy 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid for a minute or so to dissolve any sugar crystals as required.

Boil to 300 F (149 C). Place in pan of cool water to stop boiling. Stir in flavour and colour. Spoon out into small rounds on oiled marble, press a lollipop stick on each lollipop and add a bit more syrup on top of the stick.

Variation: Instead of water, you can use the juice from raspberries for the liquid. Start with 2 cups of raspberries. Heat the berries in a pan to the point where they release their juice, then place in sieve and let the juice drain (do not squeeze fruit). Use 2/3 cup juice and 2 cups of sugar (no corn syrup is required due to acidity of fruit). Boil to only 290 F (143 C). No flavour or colour required.


Ingredients: it is not necessary to use bottled water; tap water is fine. As I didn't have any lollipop

sticks I used bamboo chopsticks.


Marble slab prepared for hot sugar syrup with a thin coat of neutral oil.


Sugar, glucose and water measured into 4-quart pot.


Bring the sugar syrup to a boil and cook to between 290 and 300 F (143 and 149 C).


Have a pan of cool water ready to cool the syrup quickly.


When the syrup reaches temperature, place in cool water just to stop boiling.


Add a couple of drops of flavouring. Here I am using some lavender essential oil.


Add a couple of drops of colour. Keep the stirring to a minimum to prevent crystallization.


Quickly pour out small rounds of syrup onto the oiled marble.


Add the lollipop stick, pushing it in to the hot syrup.


Add a dab more syrup behind the stick.


Once cool, cover in cello to exclude moisture.

Post your questions here in the confectionary Q&A.

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