Homemade candy is a fun and inexpensive gift to give friends and family. Before you can start making those yummy treats, you will need some tools. You may already have these tools in your kitchen right now. You certainly do not need to run to the store and buy all of the tools listed here. Not all of the tools are needed for making candy. There are certain types of candy that do not require any of thse tools. If there is a tool that you need and you don't own it, you can always borrow that tool from a friend. If you are planning on using that recipe a lot, you can buy the tool yourself and save yourself the frustration of having to borrow it every time you need it.
Every baker has a candy thermometer in their kitchen. It is the most basic candy making tool. It will measure the temperature of a variety of candy solutions so they do not burn. There are certain candies that rely on the perfect temperature. Carmel is one of those candies. It caramel gets too hot, it will turn hard and no one will be able to eat it. If it isn't heated enough, it will be too soft and will become a gooey mess. There are two types of thermometers available on the market - a digital candy thermometer or a traditional thermometer. Both types of thermometers work great for measuring the temperature of any type of candy. Choose the thermometer that will work the best with your pans. You want to be able to read it easily. The candy thermometer should always be straight and should never lean sideways. The tip of the thermometer should be in the solution but the entire thermometer should not be submerged.
Maverick Heavy Duty Candy Thermometer
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Saucepans are a great tool for making candy. They can evenly heat large amounts of candy solution and bring the solutions to a boil very quickly. When choosing a saucepan, try to choose one that is heavy duty so it will last a long time. They often are sold in one, two four and five quart sizes. Saucepans are constructed out of a variety of materials. Most saucepans are made of either cast iron, stainless steel or copper. These materials are the best at evenly heating the solution. If the heat is not even, the sugar mixture will burn in some spots and will remain cold in others. The best way to heat up a mixture is to keep the temperature low. It will take a while for the mixture to heat up but the mixture will be less likely to burn.
Scrapers are the plastic tools found in a kitchen that are used to scrape out the candy mixtures from the bowls and saucepans. They can also be used to mix lighter ingredients such as whipped cream and cream cheese. Scrapers are usually made of a flexible plastic with a wooden handle. Some are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel scrapers can be dangerous as they have sharp edges. Another use for scrapers is as a knife to cut the candy.
Just about every kitchen has a spatula so you probably don't need to run out and buy this. Spatulas are used to remove candy from baking sheets or pans. Some people use spatulas for mixing ingredients or for scraping bowls. I find that a scraper does a better job of this. The two types of spatulas available are stainless steel spatulas and rubber spatulas. Rubber spatulas are made of a hard spatula and usually have a metal handle. They are used for flipping cookies and candies. Some people get spatulas mixed up with scrapers including myself. A spatula should be made of hard rubber and a scraper should be made of flexible rubber. Spatulas are not used for scrapping bowls but are used for removing items from a pan. For example, transferring hot candy from a cooking pan to a cooling rack. Rubber spatulas will eventually need to be replaced after repeated use. It is best to have a variety of sizes when it comes to spatulas. The most common sizes are eight inch, twelve inch and sixteen inch. Stainless steel spatulas are flatter than rubber spatulas. Often called offset spatulas, they usually are made with a wooden handle. The handle is curved slightly from the tip down to the flat stainless steel blade. Just like rubber spatulas, they are used to transfer hot food from one surface to another.
Baking pans are used to both bake your candy and to store your candy in a safe place. The two types of baking pans include glass and aluminum. Both types have their benefits. Glass baking pans are broken easily when the fall. They can seriously hurt someone if they aren't careful. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Baking pans for candy are usually pretty thin. Butter, margarine or oleo can be used in the bottom of the pan to prevent the candy from sticking.
EZ Baker Nine Piece Bakeware Set
Most kitchens will have cookie sheets laying around. They are a great tool for making candy. They have a smooth flat surface which is great for laying down a layer of candy. They can be used instead of baking trays if a baking tray is not on hand in your kitchen.
Set of Knives
After you make the candy, it will need to be cut. This is if you did not use molds. Knives have many uses when it comes to candy making. The most obvious use is to cut candy into small bite sized pieces. A great example of this is homemade caramel. Before cutting any type of candy, it is best to measure it into serving sizes so you know the calorie count and how much candy there will be.
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When making chocolate, you will need bowls that can be put into the microwave. It is even more important when the stove is being used for other cooking projects. The microwave can still be used to heat ingredients.
Mixing spoons come in very handy when making candy. You will need to mix ingredients in a bowl and I don't think you want to do it by hand. This is where a good set of mixing spoons is helpful. The two types of mixing spoons available are made of either metal or a hard plastic.
Set of 4 Beech Wood Cooking Spoons
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Whisks are also used for mixing ingredients when making candy. They are usually used for whipping light ingredients together. The whisk will keep them light while mixing them together.
Rolling pins are another tool that most people will have in their kitchen. The two types of rolling pins available are made of aluminum or wood. Both types work perfect when making candy at home.
Farberware Classic Wood Rolling Pin
Scoops are not used very often but when they are needed, they are very useful. They are often used to scoop dough from a mixing bowl to be placed onto cookie sheets.
By having each of these tools handy, you will have no trouble making any type of candy as gifts for friends or family or to enjoy for yourself.