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
Candy making can be quite easy, but, most importantly, you'll need
the right tools. Youll 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.
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