Twenty Time #15

This week I began to look more into sugar crafting, which is an art in itself. Candy makers sure do know way more about tempering and coloring than anyone else in the pastry industry. I have done work with sugar before, but what I plan to do this weekend is do what this candy maker taught me how to do. I am going to go through all the sugar stages, now it’s true that with the addition of corn syrup you can make lollipops, which I did last weekend, but I have done what I am going to do this weekend before. Still I am working with 325 degrees of danger. Sugar stages are so much fun and very fascinating, essentially it’s double the sugar to one half of water, so if I used a cup of sugar, I would need a half cup of water. Essentially you stir these two ingredients over medium heat in a large saucepan until it boils, once it boils this is where most people mess things up, the sugar will re-crystallize forming rock candy once it reaches the caramel stage (320 degrees Fahrenheit). I have done this before on accident and it is tasty but in general letting the sugar re-crystallize is very bad for most projects with sugar and candy making. To prevent re-crystallization you must stop stirring once it boils and you can cover the saucepan with a lid and the natural condensation will wash down the sides of your saucepan which will in turn prevent re-crystallization. Or you can go the traditional method which is just taking a pastry brush dipped in cold water and washing down the sides of the pan. After your sugar boils and you have prevented re-crystallization multiple times at 234 degrees Fahrenheit your sugar will meet it’s first stage (keep in mind the beginning stages the water content is very high and in the higher stages the content is very low). The thread stage will occur first and you can’t make spun sugar or cotton candy with this but you can make gooey delicious sugar threads by simply spinning it. After thread stage comes soft ball, medium ball, hardball, soft crack, hard crack, and then finally the caramel stage. You can do all of these without a candy thermometer just by dropping a spoonful of the syrup into a bowl with cold water and then if necessary pinch the sugar to see if it is at softball stage, medium ball, or if it is slightly malleable in hardball and soft crack stage. Once your reach hard crack and caramel stage you can’t bend your sugar. I hope you try this fun and simple recipe, and I will be going through all the stages this weekend and maybe try my hand at cotton candy or sugar glass too! As far as agility goes I get to go on the trampoline this Sunday, I am really nervous to go on it because of my leg and the fact that I haven’t jumped on it in four months might mean I will have some brushing up on basic skills to do. My dive cartwheels (pre-side aerials) have been going well and I did execute a front-handspring last weekend but my legs were not straight at all and the landing wasn’t it’s best. I can nearly almost do a split which is exciting and after that I can work on walkovers which will probably have to happen at the end of June because I can’t hold a handstand for very long.

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