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Sweet Gifts
From The Home
By John Havel

Around this time of year most of us are gearing up our gift lists for close family and friends. And then there are your acquaintances - you know them well, but maybe not enough to actually buy them a gift. Hard candy makes a creative and inexpensive gift idea that makes the holidays even more special because it's homemade.

The idea of sweet treats was first invented by cavemen who ate honey from bee hives. During ancient times the Egyptians, the Arabs and the Chinese prepared confections of fruit and nuts candied in honey. In Europe during the Middle Ages, the high cost of sugar made sugar candy a delicacy available only to the wealthy. Boiled sugar candies were enjoyed in the seventeenth century in England and in the American colonies.

Candy making can be quite easy, but, most importantly, you'll need the right tools. You’ll need a medium-size saucepan (3 or 4 quarts) with a heavy bottom and straight sides. You'll also need an accurate candy thermometer. Test your thermometer by placing it in a pan of water and bringing it to the boiling point. It should now register 212F degrees at sea level. If it registers 214 degrees, you can correct it by adding two degrees to those given in the recipe; if 210 degrees, by subtracting. If it's more than a few degrees off in either direction, you need a new thermometer. More ... Cooking Articles


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