In the making of confections the best granulated or loaf sugar should be used. (Beware of glucose mixed with sugar.) Sugar is boiled more or less, according to the kind of candy to be made, and it is necessary to understand the proper degree of sugar boiling to operate it successfully.
Occasionally sugar made into candies, "creams" or syrups, will need clarifying. The process is as follows: Beat up well the white of an egg with a cupful of cold water and pour it into a very clean iron or thick new tin saucepan, and put into the pan four cupfuls of sugar, mixed with a cupful of warm water. Put on the stove and heat moderately until the scum rises. Remove the pan, and skim off the top, then place on the fire again until the scum rises again. Then remove as before, and so continue until no scum rises.
This recipe is good for brown or yellowish sugar; for soft, white sugars, half the white of an egg will do, and for refined or loaf sugar a quarter will do.
The quantities of sugar and water are the same in all cases. Loaf sugar will generally do for all candy-making without further clarification. Brown or yellow sugars are used for caramels, dark-colored co-coanut, taffy, and pulled molasses candies generally.
Havana is the cheapest grade of white sugar and a shade or two lighter than the brown.
Confectioners' A is superior in color and grain to the Havana. It is a centrifugal sugar - that is, it is not re-boiled to procure its white color, but is moistened with water and then put into rapidly-revolving cylinders. The uncrystalized syrup or molasses is whirled out of it, and the sugar comes out with a dry, white grain.
This is powdered loaf sugar. Icing can only be made with powdered sugar which is produced by grinding or crushing loaf sugar nearly as fine as flour.
This is a coarse-grained sugar, generally very clean and sparkling, and fit for use as a colored sugar in crystallized goods, and other superior uses.
This same syrup answers for most candies and should be boiled to such a degree, that when a fork or splinter is dipped into it the liquid will run off and form a thick drop on the end, and long silk-like threads hang from it when exposed to the air. The syrup never to be stirred while hot, or else it will grain, but if intended for soft, French candies, should be removed, and, when nearly cold, stirred to a cream. For hard, brittle candies, the syrup should be boiled until, when a little is dropped in cold water, it will crack and break when biting it.
The hands should be buttered when handling it, or it will stick to them.
The top of the inside of the dish that the sugar or molasses is to be cooked in should be buttered a few inches around the inside; it prevents the syrup from rising and swelling any higher than where it reaches the buttered edge.
For common crack candies, the sugar can be kept from graining by adding a teaspoonful of vinegar or cream of tartar.
Colorings for candies should be harmless, and those used for fruit and confectionery, on page 444, will be most suitable.
Essences and extracts should be bought at the druggist's, not the poor kind usually sold at the grocer's.