This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Syrup made by boiling sugar and water is used for most kinds of candy. The longer it boils, the thicker and hotter it becomes. At 220° F. a drop of syrup let fall from the spoon spins itself into a fine thread. At 238° F. a little syrup dropped into cold water can be rolled into a soft ball between the fingers, at 248° into a hard ball. At 310° it becomes brittle when dropped into cold water, and is said to be boiled to the crack. A sugar thermometer may be used to test the temperature.
Sugar heated dry melts. If heated to about 350°, it turns brown, showing that caramel has formed (p. 69). If we boil all the water out of syrup, and continue to heat it, it will caramelize.
Molasses, 2 c. Sugar, 1 c.
Butter, 3 tb. Soda, 1/2 t.
Vinegar, 1 tb.
Boil all together to the "hard ball" stage. Turn out on a buttered plate. This candy may be pulled just before it hardens. Butter the hands well before handling the candy.
Sugar, 1 c. Water, 1 c. Butter, 2 tb.
Molasses, 1 tb. Vinegar, 2 tb. Salt, f.g.
Boil all together to the crack. Do not stir more than just enough to keep it from burning. Drop from a spoon on buttered or waxed paper.
Sugar, 1 c. Peanuts (shelled and pounded), 1 c.
A pinch of soda.
Melt the sugar to caramel. (A cast-iron pan is best for this purpose.) Stir in the peanuts very quickly, and pour into pans (not buttered). Tilt the pans to spread the candy.
While it is cooling, mark it into squares with the back of a steel knife.
Butter, 3 tb. Milk, 1 1/3 c. Salt, f.g.
Vanilla extract, 1 t.
Boil all the ingredients except the vanilla to a soft ball. Let cool. Add vanilla. Beat until creamy. Pour upon a buttered dish. When partly firm, mark into squares.
Sugar, 2 1/2 lb.
Hot water, 1 1/2 c.
Cream of tartar, 1/4 t.
Stir the ingredients together in a smooth saucepan. Let them come gradually to the boiling-point, keeping the pan covered. Boil to the soft-ball stage, or until the temperature is 238° F. This usually takes about 30 minutes.1 Have ready an oiled marble slab or large platter. When the soft-ball stage is reached, pour the fondant slowly upon it.
1 If cooked uncovered, the syrup requires only about 20 minutes. But granules form on the pan, which must be wiped off with a cloth wet in-cold water. Cooking covered is easier for the inexperienced. When fondant is made in a moist atmosphere, it is likely to be grainy. It should be smooth.
Let it cool until it will keep the impression of the fingers. Work it with a wooden spatula or spoon until it is creamy. Then knead it with the hands until perfectly smooth. Put it into an oiled bowl and cover it with oiled paper to keep the air out. Let it stand 24 hours before using it.
Fondant may be colored and flavored and combined with nuts, fruit, cocoanut, chocolate, etc. in a variety of ways. For bonbons, make centres of small balls of fondant mixed with any of these other ingredients. Let them stand over night. Melt some fondant in a pan over hot water. Dip the balls in it, dropping in one at a time, and removing to oiled paper with a two-tined fork or a bonbon dipper.
Cream of tartar is used to prevent the fondant from crystallizing. Being acid, it helps to turn some of the cane-sugar into a mixture of grape-sugar and fruit-sugar, which does not readily crystallize.
For further development of topics treated in this section see: -
Sherman: Food products. Ch. 11, Sugars, syrups, and confectionery. Surface : The story of sugar. (Chiefly historical and commercial, ch. 12.
Candy, a national luxury.) Thorpe : Dictionary of applied chemistry. V. 4, p. 221. Ward : Grocers' encyclopedia. Fowler: Bacterial and enzym chemistry. P. 83, Chemistry of the sugars. Wiley: Foods and their adulteration. (Pt. 9, Sugar. Other places for adulteration and poor material in bakery-stuff.) U. S. Dept. of Agriculture: Farmers' bulletins: 535. Sugar as food;
52. The sugar beet; 516. Production of maple syrup and sugar; 503.
Comb honey. Also Bureau of Chemistry: Bulletin 134. Maple sap syrup.