To Boil Sugar from Syrup to Candy, or to Caramel


The technicalities by which confectioners distinguish the different degrees of sugar-boiling, seem to us calculated rather to puzzle than to assist the reader; and we shall, therefore, confine ourselves to such plain English terms as may suffice, we hope, to explain them. After having boiled a certain time, the length of which will in a measure depend upon the quality of the sugar as well as on the quantity of water added, it becomes a thin syrup, and will scarcely form a short thread if a drop be pressed between the thumb and finger and they are then drawn apart; from five to ten minutes more of rapid boiling will bring it to a thick syrup, and when this degree is reached the thread may be drawn from one hand to the other at some length without breaking; but its appearance in dropping from the skimmer will perhaps best denote its being at this point, as it hangs in a sort of string as it falls. After this the sugar will soon begin to whiten, and to form large bubbles in the pan, when, if it be intended for barley-sugar, or caramel, some lemon-juice or other acid must be added to it, to prevent its graining or becoming sugar again; but if wanted to candy, it must be stirred without ceasing until it rises almost to the top of the pan, in one large white mass, when it must be used immediately or laded out into paper cases or on to dishes, with the utmost expedition, as it passes in an instant almost, from this state to one in which it forms a sort of powder, which will render it necessary to add water, to stir it until dissolved, and to reboil it to the proper point. For barley-sugar likewise it must be constantly stirred, and carefully watched after the lemon-juice is added. A small quantity should be dropped from time to time into a large basin of cold water by those who are inexperienced in the process; when in falling into this it makes a bubbling noise, and if taken out immediately after, it snaps clean between the teeth without sticking to them, it must be poured out instantly: if wanted for sugar-spinning, the pan must be plunged as quickly as possible into a vessel of cold water.