Friday, July 1, 2016

Working with sugar and chocolate



Homemade candy has always been a firm favorite and if you have some knowledge of the basics involved in candy making, you will be surprised how easy most types of candy can be made from your home kitchen. The two basic ingredients of all candy are sugar and chocolate and you should know how to boil sugar and how to work with chocolate.

Boiling sugar syrup

The first important point to remember is that boiling sugar is really hot and to avoid injury great care should be taken not to spill or touch the boiling sugar mixture.  When working with sugar there are some basics that should be followed to ensure a good end product. 
Here are some guidelines:
  •   Always measure the sugar and water exactly.

  •  Mix all the ingredients thoroughly before boiling. Heat gently - do not allow to boil, until the sugar is fully dissolved.

  • Gently stir the sugar over low heat until dissolved. Never stir the boiling liquid unless directed by the recipe.
  • While the syrup is boiling, the sugar crystals must be removed from the sides of the pan. Use a small brush dipped into water to brush the sides of the sauce pan. Candy that contain cream, butter, syrup or chocolates, will rise when boiling, so make sure that the sauce pan is big enough.

  • Whilst heating, stir with a wooden spatula, scraping the bottom and corners of the saucepan.
  • Brush the sides of the saucepan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in warm water, to prevent a buildup of crystals.

  • Ensure that the correct temperature is reached.
  • If using a sugar thermometer, dip it in to hot water before tested the sugar, return it to the hot water after testing.

  • When the correct heat is reached, remove the saucepan from the heat and place on a damp cloth, to prevent further cooking.

  • The taste of candy must be delicate and when adding flavoring, use a medicine dripper.
  • The addition of Glucose syrup will ensure a fine texture candy. Crème of tartar and vinegar will give the same result but be careful not to add too much as this will prevent the candy from becoming stiff enough.
  • When the syrup has reached the desired temperature, remove the sauce pan from the heat and put into cold water so that the temperature does not rise any further.

 Melting Chocolate

Working with chocolate requires a skill to melt the chocolate. You will need some experience to do this, but once acquired, there are many possibilities for working with chocolate.
                    
There are some tricks to successfully melting chocolate. Whether you are working with dark, semisweet, milk, or white chocolate, here are some tips to follow:
  • Never allow any water to come in contact with the melting chocolate, unless the chocolate is being melted in a large amount of water (2 tablespoons water per ounce of chocolate is the minimum amount). Just a drop or two of water can make the chocolate seize up, or become hard and lumpy. Even the steam from the bottom of a double boiler can cause this problem. Make sure to keep the chocolate dry as it melts. If it does seize, you can blend in a teaspoon of vegetable oil (NOT butter or margarine) and the chocolate should smooth out. 
  • Chocolate should only be melted over low heat. The microwave is a good appliance to use because the cooking time is so controlled. If you stand there at the stove and stir constantly, you can melt chocolate in a pan set over very low heat. A double boiler (watch out for condensation) is a good method; make sure the water in the bottom is barely simmering.
  • White chocolate or vanilla milk chips are the most difficult to melt. Too much heat will make this type of chocolate seize.
  • To melt chocolate bars in a microwave, first coarsely chop the chocolate. Place in a microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir. Continue this process until the chocolate is almost melted. Then stir until the chocolate is smooth.
  • Melt chocolate chips just like chopped bars. To make a dipping chocolate for coating candies, when the chocolate is almost melted add 1/4 cup more chips and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth. This will help set up sugar crystals so the chocolate stays firm at room temperature.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Three Key Ingredients to Make Money From Candy




When you want to make money from home made candy there are basically three important elements to focus on. These may seem very simple but it is not as easy as it may seem.
You want to make a profit from your efforts and focusing on the following will help you achieve that goal:

Selecting the right product
Making a quality product
Marketing your product

A homemade candy business can be very profitable but the competition out there is extremely competitive and you will have to do something unique to be successful.

Selecting the right product

This is probably the biggest problem to overcome to be able to earn a decent income from home made candy. There are so many candy options that it is difficult to decide which product will be the most profitable. As a general rule it is better to have a number of products that will offer a greater chance of making a profit. A range of products can be from different types of candy such as soft candies or brittles etc. The other option is to take a particular product such as fudge for an example and then by adding different ingredients such as white chocolate, brown chocolate, ginger etc. get a variety of the same product. You could also use these products to add to a special theme such as an Easter fudge candy or a valentine fudge candy. The point is that your creativity can provide that special niche for your product.

Another point to consider is the cost factor in making certain candies. Sometimes the cost to produce a product is such that it is difficult to make a decent profit from it. So each type of candy should be carefully costed to make sure that you can earn a profit from it. Also consider items such as packaging, transport etc. By using a costing tool such as can be found in my e-book “Baking for Profit – start a home business”, you can quickly and accurately calculate the profit margin of candy products and also be able to compare different candy recipes to find the best options.

Making a quality product

There is no compromise for a quality product – especially if it is a homemade candy. Consistency in quality is crucial. Every batch should be of the same high standard. The aim should be to establish a reputation for high standard products that look great and taste great. If a recipe is used for the first time, make sure that it is tested properly. When you are happy with the end product, the recipe must be followed exactly every time a batch is made.
Another important point is to make sure that you use only the best quality ingredients. Trying to save on the cost of ingredients will just be shooting yourself in the foot.  The same goes for tools and equipment. A good quality candy thermometer, electric mixing equipment and measuring tools are all vital for success.

Marketing your product

The end objective of your candy business is to sell your product at a profit. The first point is to aim your marketing effort at the top end of the market for discerning buyer. There are a few reasons for this strategy.

Firstly, you want to make a good profit to reward you for your efforts. There is no sense in doing all the hard work and not earning a reasonable return on your efforts.

Secondly, items such as packaging, wrappers etc. are expensive and you want to develop your business to a higher level for which you will need money.

Potential marketing efforts should include as many options as possible. Think of selling at flea markets, farmer markets, boutique shops and the internet. For the internet you will have to create a website. To start off you can use one of many excellent free website creators such as Simple Site, Weebly and Site Build It. You can also start a blog and start marketing through social media such as Facebook.


Monday, June 13, 2016

CANDY MAKING FOR BEGINNERS



Making candy seems difficult but in fact there some basic things that you need to know and you are on your way. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or an experienced cook wanting to try your hand at candy making, these tips and instructions will provide all the information you need to get started. 

Common Candy Ingredients

Almost all candies have basically two common ingredients and these are sugar and chocolate. If you know how to work with sugar and chocolate, you can make almost any type of candy.There are also two main factors that affect the taste of your candy: the quality of the ingredients and the procedure that is followed.  By learning more about common candy ingredients such as chocolate and sugar, and by selecting the best ingredients you can find, your success is assured.

Vanilla Fufdge
Working With Sugar
 
There is nothing terribly mysterious or complicated about making candy, but if you are new to the world of confectionery, you might find some of the recipe instructions confusing. Candies that are based on a sugar syrup—sugar and water boiled together—often give instructions to boil the syrup to a specific temperature. To make these recipes, you will either need a candy thermometer, or will need to be familiar with the “cold-water method” of temperature checking. The chart and details of how to use a candy thermometer can be viewed in the post "How to use a candy thermometer".

Working With Chocolate


Working with chocolate requires a skill to melt the chocolate. You will need some experience to do this, but once acquired, there are many possibilities for working with chocolate
There are some tricks to successfully melting chocolate. Whether you are working with dark, semisweet, milk, or white chocolate, here are some tips to follow.
·         Never allow any water to come in contact with the melting chocolate, unless the chocolate is being melted in a large amount of water (2 tablespoons water per ounce of chocolate is the minimum amount). Just a drop or two of water can make the chocolate seize up, or become hard and lumpy. Even the steam from the bottom of a double boiler can cause this problem. Make sure to keep the chocolate dry as it melts. If it does seize, you can blend in a teaspoon of vegetable oil (NOT butter or margarine) and the chocolate should smooth out.
·         Chocolate should only be melted over low heat. The microwave is a good appliance to use because the cooking time is so controlled. If you stand there at the stove and stir constantly, you can melt chocolate in a pan set over very low heat. A double boiler (watch out for condensation) is a good method; make sure the water in the bottom is barely simmering.
·         White chocolate or vanilla milk chips are the most difficult to melt. Too much heat will make this type of chocolate seize.
·         To melt chocolate bars in a microwave, first coarsely chop the chocolate. Place in a microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir. Continue this process until the chocolate is almost melted. Then stir until the chocolate is smooth.
·         Melt chocolate chips just like chopped bars. To make a dipping chocolate for coating candies, when the chocolate is almost melted add 1/4 cup more chips and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth. This will help set up sugar crystals so the chocolate stays firm at room temperature.



Equipment for Making Candy


In general, candy making does not require much in the way of specialized equipment. Many candies can be made using basic kitchen tools that most people already possess. But there are a few tools that reappear in recipes over and over again, like a candy thermometer, and if you anticipate making candy on a regular basis, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used candy and chocolate equipment.

·         Candy thermometer
·         Candy moulds
·         Piping bag with attachments
·         Lollipop moulds
·         Scraper

 Getting Help

To get useful tips and advice on making candy, you can get more information from "Baking for Profit - start a home business"