Traditional Sweet Recipes

Crystallising and Candying

Turkish Delight

Jelly Sweets

Marshmallows & Jujubes

Nougat

Chocolates and Easter Eggs

Miscellaneous

Equipment for Sweet-making

Sugar Boiling

Crystallising and Candying

Crystallising is used to give an attractive finish to various sweets and candied fruit, making them look as though they had been rolled in sparkling crystals. In candying, the fruit is thoroughly impregnated with a sugar syrup, which preserves it almost indefinitely.

To Crystallise Fondants or Fruits

The only essential instrument is a sugar-boiling thermometer, but it is convenient to have a special tin crystallizing tray, into which is fitted a wire mesh tray raised on small feet; the tin has a small screw cap near the bottom of one corner, enabling the syrup to be drained off as required. If a tray is not available, use a deep baking tin with two cake racks which will fit crosswise inside it.

Prepare the fondant shapes, jellies or fruit, and place them on one of the racks, taking care that they do not touch each other, then place the other rack on top to hold them in position.

Crystallising Syrup

Make a syrup by dissolving 2lb sugar in 1 pint of water, bringing it to the boil and straining it through muslin. Now quickly boil the syrup to 220-225°F; the higher temperature gives larger crystals. Remove the pan from the heat, put it on a firm table and cover with a piece of paper with a small hole cut in the center – the paper should rest on the syrup itself, not just over the pan. Leave to cool, without disturbing the pan at all, or syrup will become "grainy". When the syrup is cool enough to avoid any possibility of its melting fondants, etc., pour it carefully into the tray or tin, so that the sweets (or fruit) are completely covered. Cover with a cloth to protect them from dust, and after about 12 hours draw off the syrup, or carefully remove the racks and pour off the syrup. (This sugar syrup cannot be employed for crystallizing again, but can be used for other purposes.) Now put the tray in a warm cupboard and leave until the sweets or fruits are covered with fine sparkling crystals. If a thicker coating of crystals is desired, the sweets or fruits may be left in the syrup a few hours longer, or the process may be repeated with fresh syrup.

Candying Fruit

To ensure good results it is necessary to use a hydrometer, which is an instrument for measuring the density or strength of the syrup. There are two types, the Beaume and the Balling, with differently graded scales, and the table below (drawn up by the Fruit Preservation Research Station, Campden) gives the degree required on each.

Tinned apricots and pineapple chunks and rings are particularly suitable for candying. Fresh fruits may also be used, but they must first be carefully stewed until tender but not broken up. Proceed as follows (the quantities given are for 1lb of fruit).

Drain off the fruit syrup, measure it and make it up to 1 pint with water. Add 1lb sugar, stir, dissolve over gentle heat and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot syrup into the hydrometer boiling tube: it should read at eye level 25° Beaume or 46° Balling. If the syrup is below this reading, add more sugar or boil it longer to increase its density. If it is above the right degree, add a little water. In either case, reboil the syrup and re-test until correct.

Put the fruit into a bowl, pour on the hot syrup; hold the fruit in place with a saucer, cover the whole with a cloth and leave for 24 hours. The process now consists of reboiling the syrup at definite intervals, the strength being gradually increased, as shown in the table. Unless this is carefully done, the fruits will not retain their natural shape and flavour. Dry the fruit, and it is then ready, but a more professional finish can be given by either crystallizing or glaceing. (The remaining syrup must not be used for this purpose, as the acid in the fruit will have altered its character; it can be strained and used for making toffee, for fruit salads, stewed fruits, etc.)

Crystallised Finish: See above

DaySugarMethodBeaumeBallingSoak
1st ¾ lb to 1 pint fruit syrup Dissolve sugar, bring to boil and pour over fruit. 20 37 24hrs
2nd 2ozs " 25 46 24hrs
3rd 2ozs " 26 48 24hrs
4th 2ozs " 27 50 24hrs
5th 2ozs " 29 53 24hrs
6th 3ozs Dissolve sugar, add fruit and boil for 3-4 minutes 33 61 48hrs
8th 3ozs Repeat as above 35 65 48hrs
10th Dry in the oven or in a warm place for 48 Hours

Glace Finish

Make a syrup by dissolving 1lb sugar in ¼ pint water, over gentle heat, stirring carefully, then bring to the boil undisturbed, and test the density – this should be 35° Beaume or 65° Balling, and must be adjusted until a correct reading is obtained. Have ready a clean cake tray over a tin. Pour a little syrup into a cup, dip the pieces of fruit in this one at a time, using a skewer or dipping fork, and put on the rack to dry. Keep the syrup in the pan warm (preferably by using a double saucepan) and cover it with a damp cloth. As the syrup in the cup gets cloudy, replace it with fresh. After dipping, dry the fruit as before, turning it from time to time.

Picture of crystallized fruits

The picture shows a selection of crystallized fruits and also some Marrons Glaces (see under Miscellaneous recipes). These fruits and nuts are easier to handle if they are placed in paper cases.

Turkish Delight

This favourite sweet, like those under the next two headings, are made by treating sugar syrup so that it sets like jelly. Real Turkish Delight owes its texture to the type of wheat used, but a similar result is obtained by other methods.

Simple Turkish Delight

  • 1lb granulated sugar
  • ¼ pint water
  • 1oz powdered gelatine (or more according to type used)
  • Colouring
  • Flavouring (e.g., rose water)
  • 2ozs icing sugar
  • 1oz cornflour
  1. Dissolve the sugar and water in a pan and boil to a temperature of 240°F. Dissolved the gelatine in a little water, bring to the boil, add to the syrup. Tint a delicate colour, and flavour to taste.
  2. Damp a tin measuring about 6 by 6 inches, pour the mixture into it and allow to cool and set firmly. To remove the sweets, dip tin quickly into hot water.
  3. Turn the Turkish Delight out on to a paper thickly sprinkled with mixed icing sugar and cornflour. Cut into squares, using a sharp knife dipped in hot water, and roll each piece thoroughly in the mixture.

Turkish Delight 2

  • 1lb granulated sugar
  • 1½ pints water
  • ¼ teaspoonful tartaric acid
  • 3ozs cornflour
  • 7ozs icing sugar
  • 2ozs honey
  • A few drops of lemon extract and of rose water
  • Pink colouring
How to make turkish delight

Put the sugar and ¼ pint water into a pan and bring to a temperature of 240°F. Add the tartaric acid and leave to stand while blending the cornflour and icing sugar with a little of the water. Boil rest of water, and when boiling pour it on to the cornflour and sugar, stirring hard. Return it to pan, boil, and beat vigorously until clear and thick. Add syrup gradually, beating meanwhile over the heat, continue to boil for 20-30 minutes. (This prolonged boiling with acid brings about the necessary change in the character of the starch, and must not be shortened. At the end of the time the mixture should be of a very pale straw colour and transparent.) add honey and flavourings, and blend well. Pour half the contents of pan into a greased tin, colour remainder pale rose pink and pour on top of the other mixture. Leave until quite cold, then remove from tin, dip a sharp knife into icing sugar, cut mixture into pieces and toss in icing sugar. Leave in sugar for 24 hours, but protect it from dust. Pack in icing sugar.

Turkish Delight 3

  • ½oz gelatine
  • 1oz cornflour
  • A pinch of cream of tartar
  • ½lb granulated sugar
  • Cochineal to colour
  • Rose water to taste
  • ½ pint water (all but three dessertspoonfuls)
  • ¼lb icing sugar
  • 3 teaspoonfuls cornflour for coating

Put the granulated sugar into a pan with ¾ of a ¼ pint (3-16 pint) of water, and dissolve slowly. Then bring it to the boil. Add a good pinch of cream of tartar and boil for five minutes.
Soften the gelatine in another three tablespoons of water, then dissolve it slowly over a low heat.
Mix the ounce of cornflour to a smooth paste with the remained of the water (3 tablespoonfuls).
When the syrup has boiled sufficiently draw it aside and strain in the dissolved gelatine, then add the smoothed cornflour, keeping it stirred.
Bring this all to the boil, and boil gently for ten minutes, still stirring it all the time. Then remove it from the heat, and stir in some rose water to taste, and cochineal to colour it.
Rub over a shallow tin, six inches square, with the wrapping paper from the butter, dust it with sifted icing sugar, then turn the mixture into it.
Leave it to set for about 24 hours in a warm room and a dry atmosphere.
Mix the cornflour for the coating with an equal amount of sifted icing sugar, and when the sweet mixture is ready, cut it into squares, using a knife dipped in the sugar and cornflour. Then coat each square all over separately. Repeat the coating again and put into a covered sweet box or tin with the remainder of the sifted icing sugar.

Jelly Sweets

These can be made in the same way as simple Turkish Delight, gelatine being added to a syrup. An alternative method is to boil fruit juice and sugar rapidly together until they will set firmly when cold. Jelly sweets are often rolled in fine sugar, to give a crystallized effect.

Fresh Fruit Jellies

  • ¼ pint fruit juice (lemon, orange, blackcurrant, etc.)
  • 3ozs sugar, approx
  • 6 tablespoonfuls glucose
  • 1oz powdered gelatine (or more according to type)

Put the fruit juice in a pan with the sugar to sweeten, and dissolve carefully. Add the glucose and gelatine, and heat gently until gelatine has dissolved. Wet a tin about 6 inches square, pour in the mixture and leave to set. Turn jelly out by dipping tin in hot water for a few seconds, then cut into cubes or fancy shapes. Roll the sweets in castor sugar.
If small moulds are available, the jellies may be made in thee, or the may be shaped in rubber mats or starch moulds. If the mixture is very pale, the sweets can be made more attractive by adding a few drops of colouring.

Orange and Lemon Quarters

Flavour on batch of jelly mixture with lemon, and one with orange. Damp tow large tins (Swiss roll tins) and pour one syrup into each, to a depth of about ¼ inch. When firm, turn out and cut into crescent shapes, using a 1-½ inch cutter. Roll sweets in castor sugar.

Raspberry Jellies

  • 1lb sugar
  • ¼ pint cold water
  • 1oz powdered gelatine
  • A few drops of raspberry essence
  • A few drops of red colouring
  • Castor sugar

Dissolve the sugar in the water, bring to the boil and boil to 240°F. Dissolve the gelatine in a little water, bring to the boil and add to the syrup, together with the essence and colouring. Strain the mixture through muslin into a wet tin and leave in a cool place to set; cut into cubes and roll these in castor sugar.

Crème de Menthe Jellies

Follow the above recipe, using essence of peppermint and green colouring, and cutting the jelly into rounds with a ¾ inch cutter.

Marshmallows and Jujubes

The velverty, light as air consistency of marshmallows makes them a favourite with many people; both their appearance and their flavour may be varied as suggested below. Fruit jujubes are quite a different type of jelly sweet, and are pleasantly soothing for a “tickly” throat.

Marshmallows

  • 10ozs granulated sugar
  • 1 dessertspoonful glucose
  • ½ pint water
  • ¾oz powdered gelatine
  • 1 egg white
  • 1-2 tablespoonfuls orange flower water

Dissolve the sugar and glucose in ¼ pint water and boil to 260°F. Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatine in another ¼ pint water and keep it warm. Whisk the egg white stiffly. Pour the dissolved gelatine on to the boiling syrup, whisking all the time. Add the orange flower water and then the egg white, still whisking, and continue to whisk until the mixture is stiff and thick – it may take 20 minutes. While it is still liquid, pour it into a tin, which has been lined with greaseproof paper and dredged with icing sugar. When it is set, cut it up with scissors, roll it in icing sugar and leave to dry for about 24 hours.

Marshmallow Delight

Follow the above recipe, adding 1 oz chopped browned almonds and 1 oz chopped glace cherries with the white of egg.

Lemon Marshmallows

For this variation, add a little lemon essence instead of orange flower water, and colour the mixture pale yellow.

Peppermint Marshmallows

Make as before, but add peppermint essence and colour the mixture pale green.

Adjusting essence and colour can make other variations.

Blackcurrant Jujubes

  • 1 small tin (½ pint) blackcurrant puree
  • 4ozs sugar
  • 2ozs gelatine
  • ¼ pint water
  • Castor sugar

Put all the ingredients into a pan and carefully dissolve the sugar and gelatine over a gentle heat. Now bring the mixture to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a wetted tin about 6 inch square, and leave it until firmly set. Cut the jelly into rounds with a small cutter, and roll the sweets in castor sugar.

Apricotines

  • ½ pint apricot puree (made from approx. 1 lb tinned or fresh fruit or 1½lb dried fruit, soaked and cooked)
  • 8ozs granulated sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoonfuls lemon juice

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and very carefully dissolve the sugar, then bring the mixture to the boil and cook, stirring gently, for about 40 minutes, or until a little will set firmly on a cold slab. Wet a marble slab and place some wetted peppermint cream rings on it, pour a teaspoonful of the mixture into each ring, and when the sweets are set, roll them in the castor sugar or granulated. If the rings are not available, put the mixture into a wetted tin, and cut into pieces when set.
This recipe can be used for jujubes made from fruits such as peaches, raspberries, blackcurrants, etc.

Nougat

This firm and “chewy” sweetmeat – which originated in France – is popular both in the form of plain bars and as a chocolate center. Assorted chopped nuts, dried fruits, angelica, glace cherries, etc., give additional flavour, and enhance the attractive appearance of the nougat.

Nougat de Montelimar

  • 3ozs honey
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2ozs glace cherries
  • 1ozs angelica
  • 5ozs blanched or browned almonds
  • 12ozs sugar
  • ¼ pint water
  • 2ozs glucose
  • A few drops of vanilla essence

Melt the honey in a basin standing over boiling water, then ad the stiffly beaten egg whites and beat the mixture until it becomes thick and stiff. Prepare a tin about 5 x 7 inches by damping it and lining it with rice paper throughout. Cut up the fruit and nuts roughly into fairly large pieces, but do not chop finely. Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar in the water, add the glucose, bring to the boil and heat to 266°F. Add the vanilla essence, then pour this syrup on to the honey mixture beating very well. Continue beating until the mixture will form a hard ball when tested in cold water; add the prepared fruit and nuts and put the mixture into the tin, pressing it well down. Cover with rice paper, put weights on top and leave to set until quite cold. Cut into small bars or into squares, etc., for chocolate centers. (It is best not to try and remove the rice paper. Wrap the pieces of nougat in waxed or transparent paper.

Chocolate Nougat

  • 1lb sugar
  • ¼ pint water
  • 4ozs glucose
  • 2ozs butter or margarine
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2ozs chocolate
  • 4ozs chopped blanched almonds

Put the sugar in a pan and dissolve it in the water; add the glucose and butter and boil to 270°F, or till the syrup forms a hard ball when tested in cold water. Beat up the egg whites to a stiff froth and gradually add the syrup, beating all the time. Continue beating the mixture over a pan of hot water until it will form a hard ball when tested in cold water, then add the melted chocolate and chopped nuts. Pour into a prepared tin and finish as above.

Mexican Honey Nougat

  • 1½ lb sugar
  • ½ pint water
  • ½ pint honey
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½lb blanched and brown almonds

Dissolve the sugar in the water, add the honey, strain the mixture and boil to 240°F. Meanwhile beat the egg whites until stiff, remove the syrup from the heat and whisk them into the syrup. Beat till white and creamy, then boil to 250°F, stirring gently, add the roughly chopped almonds. Finish as above.

Coffee Walnut Nougat

  • 1lb sugar
  • ¼ pint water
  • 4ozs glucose
  • 2ozs butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoonful coffee essence
  • 4ozs chopped walnuts

Dissolve the sugar in water, add glucose, and butter and boil to 270°F. Beat the egg whites till stiff, and gradually beat in the syrup. Add essence and beat over hot water till a hard ball form when the mixture is tested in cold water. Stir in nuts and finish as above.

Chocolates

Sooner or later you will probably want to try your hand at chocolate dipping. Although much practice and skill are needed to obtain a professional finish, with attention to detail good results can be achieved by amateurs.

The Covering Chocolate and Centres

The chocolate used to cover the centers should be a good quality plain block chocolate containing an adequate proportion of cocoa butter. It must be bought ready made, as it cannot be made at home. It is usually sold as "couverture" chocolate.

The chocolate centers can be made from fondant, marzipan, Turkish delight, caramel, nuts, etc. they must, of course, be prepared beforehand, and if necessary should be cut or shaped into suitable-sized pieces. The centers should always be warmed before they are dipped into the melted chocolate, otherwise the finished sweets may dry cloudy and white; spread them out on a tin and keep them in a warm place, but take care that such sweets as Turkish delight do not become too hot, or they may melt.

Tempering the Covering Chocolate

Chocolate dipping must be done in a warm, dry atmosphere, at a room temperature of 65-67°F. Success depends on melting or tempering the chocolate carefully, without allowing any moisture (steam or splashes of water) to reach it. A sugar-boiling thermometer is necessary, to ensure that the chocolate reaches the exact temperature required.

Cut the chocolate into small pieces so that it will melt quickly, and put it into a basin. Heat some water in a pan to a temperature of 125-130°F, then put the basin of chocolate into the pan and leave it until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the water and stir the chocolate thoroughly, until it thickens again to a creamy consistency and its temperature drops to 83-85°F. Now re-heat the chocolate to 88-90°F, by placing the bowl in warm water at a temperature of 95F. keep the water at this heat while the dipping is in progress. On no account must the chocolate become too hot, or it will dry white and cloudy, and spoil the finish.

Chocolate Dipping

Have the prepared and warmed centers to hand, and temper the covering chocolate as described above. Place one center at a time on a dipping fork and dip it into the chocolate. Gently knock the fork against the side of the bowl to shake off surplus chocolate, and put the sweet on a sheet of waxed or cellulose paper. Mark the top of the chocolates with one of the forks, and bring it up again quickly so that an impression is left on the top of each sweet. Alternatively, decorate with crystallized violets, mimosa balls or rose petals, or quickly pipe a little chocolate into trellis or other patterns. When the chocolates are dry, put them in paper cases.

Chocolate Almonds and Raisins

  • Large dessert raisins, stoned
  • Jordan almonds
  • Covering chocolate

Press the raisins together in pairs, and then put them to warm slightly. Meanwhile blanch the almonds and brown them slightly. Dip the raisins in the chocolate, put them on a tin or waxed paper, press an almond into each, and leave to set.

Chocolate Crispies

  • 4ozs covering chocolate
  • 2ozs cornflakes or other breakfast cereal

Cut up the chocolate and melt it in a basin over hot water. When it has just melted, stir in the cereal and place the mixture in heaps on a sheet of greaseproof paper, using forks or a teaspoon: sallow to set.
This recipe can be adapted by adding chopped nuts instead of the cereal and piling the mixture into rough heaps, set in paper cases, if desired.

Chocolate Pralines

  • 8ozs shelled almonds
  • 8ozs sugar
  • 2 teaspoonfuls lemon juice
  • Covering chocolate

Brown, chop and pound the almonds and keep them warm. Heat the sugar and lemon juice gently, stirring, until a mixture is golden-brown and forms a hard ball when tested. Add nuts and pour on to a cold slab; when set, cut into neat pieces and dip in melted chocolate. Decorate with pieces of browned almond.

Preserved Fruit Chocolates

Choose good quality preserved ginger or glace pineapple, cut it into neat pieces and dip in chocolate.

Chocolate Easter Eggs

For these, special brightly polished moulds are required. Wipe the inside of each mould with cotton-wool, to ensure that it is quite clean and bright, as smooth surface gives the chocolate its gloss.
Prepare some chocolate as for dipping, until it is a thick coating consistency, then pour some into a mould and tilt it so that the couverture runs quite evenly to the edges. Do this two or three times, until the mould is well covered, then pour off any surplus chocolate. Clean the edge of the mould by running a finger round it, and ten turn the mould upside down on a cold surface and leave it to set. Fill as many moulds as required. As the chocolate cools and sets, it contracts slightly, and therefore can be easily removed by tapping or pressing the mould at one end. Avoid over-handling the chocolate, as this spoils the glossy surface.
The chocolate half-shells are joined together to make a complete egg by slightly touching the edges of each on a warm tin, so that just sufficient melts to enable them to stick together. Leave the eggs until the joins set firmly, then wrap them in tin foil or transparent paper, or decorate them with sugar flowers, chocolate piping, etc.

Miscellaneous Recipes

Coconut Kisses

  • 1lb sugar
  • ¼ pint water
  • 1 tablespoonful cream or evaporated milk
  • 4ozs desiccated coconut
  • Colouring and flavouring or 2ozs melted chocolate

Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil to 240°F. Remove the pan from the heat and stir gently until the mixture becomes cloudy. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue stirring until well blended. Collect the mixture into a solid mass, working with a spoon, then, using two teaspoons, place it in neat piles on a slab or other suitable surface, and allow the sweets to cool and set.

Edinburgh Rock

  • 1lb sugar
  • ½ pint water
  • A pinch of cream of tartar
  • Colouring and flavouring
  • Icing sugar

Put the sugar in the water in a pan and heat carefully, stirring all the time. When the sugar is dissolved, add the cream of tartar, bring to the boil and boil to 258°F. Pour the mixture on to a greased slab and allow to cool for a few minutes, then using a palette knife, turn the sides to the middle. When it is cool enough to handle, divide it into two portions. Knead a suitable colouring and flavouring into each portion. Dip the fingers in icing sugar and gently pull one portion, without twisting it, until it becomes dull. Pull it to an even shape and lay it on waxed paper. Repeat with the other position. When the rock is nearly set, cut it into even strips and leave for 24 hours in a warm room, until it becomes powdery and soft.
If preferred, the rock may be divided into more than two portions, each being tinted with a different shade.

Lollipops

  • 8ozs sugar
  • 4ozs golden syrup
  • ¼ pint water
  • Flavouring and colouring

Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat till the sugar is dissolved. Add the flavouring and colouring and boil to a temperature of 270°F, or until the syrup forms a hard ball when tested in cold water. Grease a marble slab or other suitable surface and drop the mixture from the tip of the spoon on to the surface. Press one end of a wooden skewer into each lollipop, and when firm, though still warm, remove them from the slab, handling them carefully to prevent cracking. Wrap the lollipops in transparent or waxed paper.

Marrons Glaces

  • 2lb Italian chestnuts
  • Lemon juice
  • 2lb sugar
  • 1 teaspoonful glucose
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • A pinch of cream of tartar

Score the chestnuts, put them in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes; skin, place in warm water to which a squeeze of lemon juice has been added and boil or steam gently until tender. Lift out carefully and dry well. Boil ½ pint water, I lb sugar and the glucose to a temperature of 218°F, add vanilla essence and pour this mixture over the chestnuts. Cover, and allow to stand in a warm place for 2 days.
On the third day drain the chestnuts well and prepare a syrup consisting of the remaining 1lb sugar, ½ pint water and the cream of tartar. Boil to 230°F, and when the syrup is ready, put in the nuts and just bring to the boil. Lift the nuts out, drain them well and put them on a rack to dry in a warm place.
When they are quite dry, prepare a glacing syrup by boiling 1lb sugar, ¼ pint water and 1 teaspoonful glucose to 225°F. Add the nuts, bring to the boil again, and stir the syrup until it grains slightly. Lift nuts out and place on an oiled tin to dry.

Peppermint Ice

  • 1lb sugar
  • ¼ pint milk
  • Essence of peppermint
  • Green colouring, if desired

Put the sugar and milk into a pan and stir until they come to the boil. Stir occasionally until a temperature of 245°F is reached, or until a little dropped in cold water will form a soft ball. Remove the mixture from the heat, add 1 teaspoonful essence of peppermint (ad a few drops of green colouring, if used), and stir evenly until it begins to turn thick. Have ready a wetted tin, and pour in the mixture. Let it remain until nearly cold, then cut it into neat pieces. If preferred, the peppermint ice may be shaped by pouring it on to an oiled slab between oiled caramel bars, and leaving it to set.

Equipment For Sweet Making

Except for the sugar-boiling thermometer, all the really essential equipment for sweet making will be found among the utensils in any well-equipped kitchen. It is useful however, to have some fancy cutters and moulds, which help to give the sweets an attractive appearance, and a few special items such as caramel bars, a starch tray, etc. (see below).

Sugar-boiling Thermometer: This usually registers from 60 – 420°F and is mounted on a brass or wooden frame. An adjustable clip to slip over the side of the pan and keep the thermometer upright is a useful addition. With ordinary care, a thermometer will last indefinitely: when not in use it should be hung or laid in a safe place, and before being put into a hot syrup it should be immersed in very hot water, otherwise the glass may crack. Shake the thermometer before use so that the mercury thread is unbroken. After use, wash the thermometer well in hot water to dissolve any syrup clinging to it, which would cause the next boiling of syrup to crystallize.

Saucepans: should be thick and strong, and preferably made of lined copper or cast aluminium; a thin pan is useless, as the syrup will stick and burn in it. Enamel pans are unsuitable for sweet-making, as the very high temperatures are likely to crack the enamel. The inside of the pan should be quite smooth and free from cracks and chips. It is useful to have a 1 pint pan for boiling small quantities of syrup, as well as a 4 pint one for toffees and fudges, which may froth up and boil over in a small pan.

Working Surface: Marble is the ideal surface on which to turn fondant or toffee, and an old washstand top serves admirably. Failing marble, a table top of vitreous or porcelain enamel is almost as convenient. Certain plastic surfaces can be used for heats up to 250°F, but preferably not beyond this.

Palette Knife: This should have a flexible blade and preferable be made of stainless metal. It is useful for turning fondant or molasses and for shaping sweets.

Cream Rings: Small round metal rings, useful for moulding peppermint creams and similar sweets.

Small Fancy Cutters: used for cutting fondant or jelly sweets into various shapes.

Dipping Forks: Small forks with two or three wire prongs, or with a loop at the end, used for lifting sweets out of coating fondant or chocolate. The prongs or loops are also used to make a raised design on the top of the sweets.

Chocolate Moulds: Metal moulds in the form of animals, toys, eggs, etc., for making hollow chocolate shapes. They should be kept bright and shiny, so that the chocolate surface is pleasingly glossy.

Caramel Bars: These are made of ½-3/4 inch square steel, and vary in length from 10-16 inches. When arranged in a rectangle on a suitable surface, they take the place of a tin into which to pour toffee, etc, and have the advantage of being adjustable to any size, and easily removed from the sweets, when these are set.

Rubber Fondant Mat: This consists of a sheet of rubber about 1 inch thick, containing a number of impressions into which liquid fondant, jelly or chocolate is poured and allowed to set. When the sweets are firm, they can easily be removed by bending the mat back.

Starch Tray: (for fondants, chocolate centers, etc): This is a wooden or tin box, 12-20 inches square and about 3 inches deep. It is filled evenly with very dry, smooth cornflour, and impressions are then made in the surface with plaster of paris moulds glued on strips of wood slightly longer than the box. The liquid mixture (fondant, jelly or fudge) is poured into the impressions with a spoon or through a funnel. When quite set, the sweets are removed and brushed free of starch. If intended for chocolate centers, they are now ready for dipping.

Sugar Boiling

The great majority of sweets are made by boiling sugar syrup; the exact temperature reached determines the texture – and to some extent the colour and flavour of the finished sweetmeats. The making and boiling of the basic syrup is all-important, for a badly made syrup can ruin the sweets. It should look perfectly clear and smooth; the presence of even the smallest crystal of sugar is enough to cause the syrup to revert to its original state when dry, opaque mass. The best results are obtained in a dry atmosphere, so it is wise to avoid making the more difficult types of sweets on a wet day. As far as possible other cooking should not be done at the same time, as the steam would spoil the sweets.

General Rules for Sugar Boiling

  1. Use a strong, heavy saucepan, large enough to prevent the syrup boiling over.
  2. Be very accurate over all weighing and measuring.
  3. See that the sugar is completely dissolved before the syrup is allowed to boil. It is better to crush the sugar with a wooden spoon, rather than to stir it.
  4. After boiling point has been reached, do not stir the syrup (unless specially directed in the recipe); otherwise crystallisation will occur.
  5. Brush the sides of the pan with cold water, or place a lid on it for a short while; the condensed steam will remove any sugar clinging to sides of the pan.
  6. Immediately required temperature is reached, lift the pan from the heat, without agitating it.

Crystallisation of Sugar Syrups

The chief reasons why crystallisation occurs are:

  1. The agitation of the mixture by stirring or beating.
  2. The presence of solid particles, such as sugar crystals, etc, in the syrup during boiling.

As a precaution, a small amount of glucose is often included in the syrup mixture, since it is not easily crystallized, and the presence of even a small quantity helps to prevent crystallisation. Similarly, a small amount of cream of tartar helps to prevent crystallization by converting some of the sucrose sugar into invert sugar, which is not readily crystallised.

Sugar Boiling Degrees

To obtain really accurate results a sugar-boiling thermometer is required, but the various stages between boiling point and caramel can be recognized by the following simple tests. (It is assumed that the syrup ifs of the standard type, made with 1lb sugar to ¼ pint water).

The Thread (225°F): Boil the solution for 2-3 minutes. Dip the finger and thumb into cold water, then dip them into the syrup and back again into cold water. Press the finger and thumb together, pull them apart, and a fine thread will be observed.

The Pearl (230°F): When the syrup has boiled a little longer, pearl-like bubbles will rise to the surface.

The Blow (235°F): Continue heating the syrup for a short time. Dip the loop end of a skewer in it, remove it rapidly and blow through the hole. Small bubbles will be formed and will float for a short time before bursting.

The Feather (240-245°F): After further boiling, test the syrup as above. Instead of bubbles, small, irregularly shaped "feathers" will be formed.

The Ball 250-255°F): Test the syrup, after further heating, by dipping the fingers into cold water, into the syrup and back again into cold water; the syrup that adheres can be rolled into a "soft ball" With longer boiling a “hard ball” will be formed.

The crack 310-315F): Boil the syrup still longer and test as before; it will form toffee which can be cracked. For "hard crack" it must be boiled to 315F.

Caramel (330-360°F): Further boiling causes the syrup to change colour rapidly and becomes "caramel"; it then darkens further, till it eventually burns.

Note of interest to all those reading this article, that on 19th May 1950 rations of sugar and sugar contained products ended but rationing of all products as consumed by every family in Britain did not end till 4th July 1954.