"With such imitation Of form and color 't will deceive the eye Until the taste be ravish'd."
With the materials found in the cupboard or pantry of the average family, delicious and easily made candies may be made, which, when used as dessert, are by no means a waste or an extravagance. The wise housemother knows that homemade sweets have a few advantages over the store kinds. They are more wholesome and much cheaper. It takes less to satisfy the appetite, as there are no trashy materials in their composition. The making of them gives the children a charming vacation task.
Always select a clear, cold day on which to make candy, as many varieties do not turn out as well when made on a damp day. This is especially true when making crystallized nuts, leaves, and fruits. It is well to have a confectioner's thermometer for candy making, so that the sirup may be removed from the fire at exactly the right degree.
Successful candy making depends upon boiling the sirup to the proper degree, a bright day, pure cane sugar, and working when properly cooled.
The following confectioner's terms and their accompanying degrees of heat will be found very useful for the inexperienced candy maker:
"Thread", 216° to 218° F.
"Soft Ball", 240° F.
"Hard Ball", 250° to 252° F.
"Crack", 290° to 300° F.
Candies containing milk or molasses will not boil over if the top edge of the pan or kettle is greased with butter or butter substitute. Always pour the sirup quickly from the pan, never allow it to drip, and do not scrape the pan into the batch of candy.
Many delicious candies have as their basis a cooked fondant. With this an almost endless variety of sweets is possible. Candied fruits, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, and chopped nut meats are all excellent when mixed with fondant. Different flavorings and colorings may be added to suit the individual taste.
Plenty of popcorn should be used in the making of candies, for it is both wholesome and nourishing. The Government analysis shows that it is 10.7 per cent, protein, 5 per cent, fat, 1.3 per cent, mineral matter, and about 78 per cent, carbohydrates, and that its energy value per pound is 1875 calories, which last is proportionately higher than that supplied by any other grain except parched hominy.