Noncrystalline Confections

Appears in

Chocolates and Confections

By Peter Greweling

Published 2007

  • About
Noncrystalline confections include hard candy, toffee, brittle, soft caramels, and taffy. Each of these confections differs in the ingredients it contains and the amount of water in the finished product.
It is the interaction of those ingredients that makes each of these confections unique. Hard candies are purely a solution of sugars in a minute quantity of water. Brittles are virtually identical, but they contain nuts for flavor and browning. Toffee is a similar system, but it has the addition of dairy products to promote browning. And soft caramels most nearly resemble toffee but have a higher water content, resulting in a soft texture. All of these confections share not only common ingredients but common methodologies as well. In all cases, sugars—mainly sucrose—make up the bulk of the confection, and the sugars present are in an amorphous, glass, or noncrystalline state. Almost without exception, noncrystalline confections contain other sugars, such as glucose syrup, that prevent the recrystallization of the sucrose. Noncrystalline sugars are brittle and hard when the water content is low and elastic and chewy when the water content is higher. Amorphous sugar is sugar that is dissolved in liquid, and it is the opposite of the highly ordered crystalline form of sugar that constitutes the granulated sugar we commonly use.