Candy Thermometer and Temperatures
How To Use A Candy Thermometer - Candy Temperature Chart

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Buy a good Cooking Thermometer! It is important, for best results when making candy, that you use a dependable cooking thermometer. An Instant-Read Thermometer is the most accurate way of testing the temperature of the sugar when making candy.

This is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.

Test your thermometer's accuracy by placing it in plain boiling water. At sea level, it should read 212 F. If it reads above or below this number, make the necessary adjustments when cooking your candy syrup. To read the temperature on the thermometer, your eyes should be on a level with the mercury. When mixture is ready to be removed from heat, take out thermometer and lay it where it can cool before washing; otherwise, it may break.

If you don't have a cooking thermometer, use the following cold water tests. If candy does not pass the cold water test, continue cooking until it does.

 


Cold Water Test:  As a sugar syrup is cooked, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, and the temperature rises. The highest temperature that the sugar syrup reaches tells you what the syrup will be like when it cools. In fact, that’s how each of the temperature stages discussed below is named.


Candy Thermometer:  When using a
Candy Thermometer, the temperatures specified below are for sea level. At higher altitudes, subtract 1 F from every listed temperature for each 500 feet above sea level.
 


Thread Stage

Binding agent for fruit pastes

A spoonful of sugar drizzled over a plate forms a fine, thin thread. This stage makes a syrup, not a candy.
 


230-235F (106-112C)



Soft-ball Stage

Fudge, Fondant, Creams, Penuche, Maple, etc:

When a small amount of sugar syrup is dropped into very cold water, it forms a ball that does not hold its shape when pressed with your fingers.
 



235-240F (112-116C)



Firm-ball Stage

Caramels and Divinity:

When a small amount of sugar syrup is dropped into very cold water, it forms a ball that holds its shape, but it still sticky, when pressed with your fingers.
 



245-250F (118-120C)



Hard-ball Stage

Taffy and Marshmallows

When a small amount of sugar syrup is dropped into very cold water, it forms a ball that holds its shape but is pliable.
 



250-265F (121-130C)



Soft-crack Stage

Butterscotch and Toffee:

When a small amount of sugar syrup is dropped into very cold water, it scan be stretched between your fingers and separates into hard but not brittle threads.
 



270-290F (132-143C)



Hard-crack Stage

Peanut Brittle:

When a small amount of sugar syrup is dropped into very cold water, it will solidify but will separates into hard brittle threads.
 



300-310F (149-154C)


Light Caramel Stage

Glazes, coating agent

Poured onto a white plate the syrup will be honey-golden in color.

 


320-335F (160-170C)


Dark Caramel Stage

Glazes, coating agent

Poured onto a white plate the syrup will be deep reddish amber in color
 


Up to 350F (177C)

Watch carefully as any temperature above 350F begins to burn the sugar and it will develop a bitter, burnt taste.
 

 

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