Nine Tips for Perfect Candy
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“Nine Tips for Perfect Candy,” Ensign, Dec. 1975, 66

Nine Tips for Perfect Candy

Tasty holiday candy isn’t the result of good luck. Candy recipes are chemical formulas with specific proportions and all the rules must be followed for the desired result. These tips can help guarantee success.

1. Use heavy aluminum or cast iron pans. Candy scorches easily in stainless steel pans.

2. Use a candy thermometer to insure the proper cooking temperature. Before using it, test it in boiling water for accuracy. If it reads above or below 212º F (100º C) add or subtract the same number of degrees from the temperature in the recipe. Look straight at the thermometer when reading it.

3. Wash down the sides of the pan to eliminate crystals: Mix the sugar, liquid, and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Then wash down the inside walls of the pan with a sopping wet pastry brush. The extra water will cook out.

4. Stir the candy well while cooking. Recipes with cream, butter, or nuts must be stirred constantly. Syrup for divinity or hard candies doesn’t need to be stirred after the ingredients are well mixed.

5. Turn the heat down to medium when the syrup nears the final cooking temperature. If it goes even two degrees over, some candies will be overcooked.

6. Let the candy cool to at least 100° F before creaming.

7. Do not agitate the syrup during cooling.

8. If you cool the candy on a slab, dampen the slab first.

9. When making fondants or divinity, do not scrape the pan when pouring hot syrup onto a slab.

Try out these ideas on your own favorite recipes or on the following recipes for a great holiday treat.


2 cups (400 grams) sugar

1 cup (300 grams) corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pint (1/2 liter) whipping cream

1 small can (6 ounces or 2/3 cup) evaporated milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, salt, and cream together in a heavy, 3-quart pan. Bring to a boil and wash down pan. As mixture cooks add canned milk very slowly. Stir constantly. Turn heat down when temperature reaches 236° F (113° C). Cook to 242° F (117° C). (If you see any sign of scorching, turn heat down sooner. Caramels scorch very easily.) Remove pan from heat and add vanilla. Stir well. Pour into two buttered bread pans. Let stand until cold and firm. Cut and wrap in waxed paper.

Almond Toffee

1 cup (200 grams) sugar

1/4 cup (62 grams) water

1/2 pound (2 squares, 1 cup, or 250 grams) margarine

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

dipping chocolate or two 15-cent chocolate bars

finely chopped walnuts or filberts

Mix sugar, water, and margarine in heavy kettle. Bring to a boil and wash down pan. Stir constantly. Cook to 240° F (116° C) and add almonds. When thermometer reaches 280° F (137° C) turn heat down to medium. Cook to 300° F (149° C) and remove from heat. Add vanilla and mix well. Pour onto greased cookie sheet. Place chocolate bars on hot candy. When they are melted, spread them over the candy and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Or, cool candy and break it into small pieces and dip in melted chocolate. (If it is not to be eaten soon, dipping is recommended.) This is excellent for mailing overseas.