Marshmallows
Dessert, Vegetarian

How to make candy – Part 6: Candy for chewing

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I am a big fan of chewy candy. For candy to be chewy, it needs to be in a rubbery state. If you look at the phase-diagram of a water-sucrose system you can see that the rubbery region is a huge one. We can produce candy with many different levels of firmness depending on the water content of the system. As you can see in the phase diagram below, amorphous candy with water content between roughly 67-96 % is in a rubbery state at room temperature.

phase diagram of sucrose and water
The rubbery region of a sucrose-water system. Modified. Picture Source: Jain Himanshu, Research Gate.

If you want to know more about the theory of candy production, please check out my post about the basic knowledge of candy-making. Today, it’s all about the recipes. I have five recipes for you:

  • Saltwater taffy
  • Toffee
  • Fudge
  • Marshmallows
  • Coconut candy

These are all very basic recipes that require only a few ingredients. You can always modify them to your taste with whatever flavorings or colorings you like.

Saltwater Taffy

In my post about aeration, I’ve already talked about the different ways of aerating candy. Saltwater taffy is aerated by kneading and pulling the hot sugar dough. However, please be cautious to not burn yourself when handling the hot candy mass.

Depending on your skill level, you can also divide the candy mass for saltwater taffy and give each dough a different color. Then you can create beautiful patterns by combining the different doughs skillfully. If you want to learn how to do that, search for candy-making videos on YouTube.

I don’t mind getting artistic when preparing candy so I usually only work with one dough. And I urge you as a beginner to do the same. Handling many doughs at once before they cool down can be a very challenging task.

Toffee

Toffee is almost half butter which is what makes it so delicious. From a technical point of view, it is a hard-boiled candy. However, the butter softens up the texture so that you can bite through a piece of toffee.

Always work with a heavy pan that has a thick bottom. You want the heat to be evenly distributed. There’s a risk to burn the toffee or for the butter to separate from the candy mass if you have an uneven heat distribution.

Don’t forget to frequently stir the toffee while boiling the syrup. Usually, I would recommend against that because it encourages crystal formation. However, the toffee mass will burn if you don’t stir it.

Fudge

Fudge is a softer version of toffee. Most of the butter gets replaced with heavy cream and the syrup gets boiled to only 115 °C (240 °C) instead of 149 °C (300 °F). Instead of cream, you could also use evaporated milk. However, I love fresh cream so that’s my preferred choice.

Marshmallows

These marshmallows are not your typical supermarket product. This recipe contains whipped egg whites to make them extra fluffy. Most commercial producers use a combination of gelatin and glucose powder to get a soft and squishy product. But if you’re working with gelatin + egg whites, like in this recipe, you should use more granulated sugar in relation to glucose.

While shopping in the grocery store, I challenge you to look at the ingredient lists for marshmallows. You will see that most commercial products don’t include egg whites. They rely on glucose syrup + gelatin as the main ingredients to make the marshmallows squishy.

If you’re feeling experimental, you can try to replicate grocery store marshmallows by reversing the ratio of granulated sugar to glucose in this recipe and by leaving out the egg whites.

Coconut Candy

Coconut candy is popular in tropical areas where they have many coconut trees. You can use coconut cream instead of heavy cream to create a candy similar to fudge. However, this recipe doesn’t use coconut cream but grated coconut.

This recipe is based on a Vietnamese recipe for coconut candy. Now you know that it is very hot and humid in Southern Vietnam. If you’re living in the Mekong Delta and cook candy in an open-air kitchen, you better boil your candy a little hotter than if you live in Germany because the sugar will suck up moisture from the environment as it cools down. Remember how I told you that rainy days are no good days to make candy.

So for this recipe to work, I recommend you to cook the syrup only to 116 °C (240 °F) instead of 127 °C (260 °F). Now that is quite a drastic change. I got to admit that I prefer softer candy and don’t like to bite on something hard. But it is also true that you will end up with a hockey puck if you cook the syrup to 127 °C (260 °F) on a dry winter day in Germany. Maybe on a rainy summer day, you can experiment to cook the syrup to a higher temperature and see what happens.

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