Friday, November 8, 2013

12 Basic Candy Making Tools

If you check around your kitchen and you already own many or even just several of the tools and cooking equipment mentioned below than you are probably all set to begin. You absolutely do not need to go out and purchase all of these. I would recommend purchasing candy making tools as you go along through differing recipes you are interested in. If a specific tool is called out, you don't have the tool, and you really like the recipe than ask a friend, neighbor, or go out and purchase yourself.

1. Candy Thermometer

A candy thermometer is paramount in any candy maker's arsenal. This tool allows chocolate and other ingredients to be cooked to the perfect temperature. A slight increase or decrease in terms of temperature can produce differing results in terms of taste and texture of the finished product. There are two options for of thermometers for you to consider: either a traditional type candy thermometer or a digital type thermometer.

No matter which type of candy thermometer that you would like to use in your kitchen, choose one that can be fastened easily to the perimeter of the pan or kettle. This will ensure that the thermometer will remain relatively plumb and not lean sideways or become submerged into the mixture.

2. Saucepan

Heavy-Duty saucepans are the best for making candy due to their capability to easily handle large amounts of mixture being heated to very high temperatures. Popular sizes include: 1,2,4, and 5 quart capacities.

In respect to materials and how they react to temperature the following are some good recommendations: copper, cast iron, and stainless steel. The heat distribution properties of the material are important due to if the heat is not dispersed evenly, the sugar can burn. Whichever material you select, keep the temperature down to low or medium type temperatures as this will prevent scorching.

3. Scrapers

Scrapers are kitchen tools used to "scrape" out all the remnants from kettles, pots and saucepans. They are perfect for working on ingredients such as heavy whipping cream also. Scrapers often are made with plastic or rubber grips and constructed from stainless steel. Keep safety in mind as some parts of scrapers can have sharp edges. Some candy makers also use scrapers to cut their candies.

4. Spatulas

I would assume everyone has used a spatula before. Spatulas are very useful in making candy and having several on hand is usually very convenient. Spatulas can be used for mixing and for scraping bowls. There are two kinds of spatulas used for making candy: rubber spatulas and stainless steel spatulas. Rubber spatulas are often used to combine different ingredients together from bowls. Spatulas can also be used to transfer liquids and solids from mixing bowls to saucepans or storage containers.

You want to ensure that any spatula you are purchasing is made of hard rubber. These spatulas are far more durable than the regular rubber variety spatulas. They are hardier and will not wear out as easily with repeated use. Having a variety of sizes is also is helpful. 8-inch, 12-inch, and 16-inch sizes are all easy to find.

Stainless (offset spatulas) are a little different. They are narrow, flat, and usually have wooden handles. This type is termed "offset" because of the slight curve that runs from the base of the wooden handle to the stainless steel blade. They are often used to spread candy out across a flat surface.

5. Baking pans

Baking pans are quite often used as a temporary place to store your candy. They are made of either glass or aluminum, both have their advantages. The problem with glass pans is that of safety due to breakage from falling. They come is square and rectangular sizes and only need to be a few inches deep for making candy. Use butter or a baking liner to prevent sticking.

6. Cookie sheets

Cookie sheets are also useful in making candy. Because of their flat smooth surface they are excellent for candy making. If you decide on a recipe that requires a baking tray, you can substitute cookie sheets instead.

7. Knife set

You will need to cut candies in which you did not use molds so having a good set of knives is important. You use the knives to cut the candy into serving size pieces. A common example is homemade chocolates. You should take some measurements and cut the chocolate into individual bars or blocks for serving.

8. Microwave-safe bowls

Microwave-safe bowls are handy when you are tempering chocolate. These can be a real time-saver, especially when your range is full of pots cooking the candy, as you can still use the microwave.

9. Mixing spoons

Mixing is inevitable when making candy. In fact, mixing ingredients is one of the core primary skills that are used. As such, you will need a set of mixing spoons that will not break as you mix. Metal mixing spoons or spoons made of hardened plastic can be used.

10. Whisks

Whisks are made of stainless steel and used rather frequently. Adding dairy ingredients to the recipe usually will require a wire whisk to be involved to combine all of the ingredients.

11. Rolling pins

Rolling pins are made from differing materials. Heavy aluminum or wood are choices that would be a great selection for candy making, but other types work about equally as well.

12. Scoops

To transfer ingredients onto baking sheets and such a set of scoops is really useful.

Having these tools at your fingertips will make your next candy making experience a breeze!

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