Limiting Crystal Growth with Interfering Agents

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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In practice, it’s not easy to control or prevent the crystallization of pure sucrose syrups, and candy makers have long relied on other ingredients that interfere with and therefore limit crystal formation and growth. These interfering agents help the cook prepare clear non-crystalline hard candies and fine-textured creams, fudges, and other soft candies.

Crystalline and glassy candies. Left: When a hot syrup cools slowly enough for the molecules to cluster together, they form tightly organized crystals. Right: When a very concentrated syrup cools quickly and traps the sugar molecules in place before they can cluster, they solidify into a disorganized, noncrystalline glass.