Do you have an insatiable sweet tooth? Find yourself craving fudge or caramels? Wish you could make them at home? You can!
One of the keys to cooking up tasty homemade sweets is having the appropriate tools to do the job, such as the best candy thermometer you can find. Because so many recipes call for melting or boiling sugar, it’s crucial to gauge the temperature during the process. Sugar goes through different stages of molecular changes that affect its consistency and the consistency of your candy. For example, on the low end is the thread stage where it’s very loose, almost syrupy. At the other end of the temperature spectrum is the hard crack stage when sugar strands crack if bent. Between the low and high temps are various points called soft ball, medium ball, firm ball, hard ball, very hard ball, and light (or soft) crack.
|Best High-End Candy Thermometer||Best Economic Candy Thermometer||Best Budget Candy Thermometer|
How do you know when your sugar has reached the appropriate stage? Candy recipes will specify the necessary temperature. For example, according to Science of Cooking, fudge is crystalline candy, so it is cooked to the soft ball stage. Quality thermometers should have these distinctions and their degree markers labeled for easy reference.
Thermometers come in the simple, traditional design to more high-tech digital readouts. Regardless of which model you use, here are a few tips for accurate results:
• Test the thermometer in boiling water for 10 minutes. It should reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit. If it doesn’t, then calculate the difference and make sure you account for it with each candy recipe.
• Keep the prong or bulb in the candy mixture and off of the heat at the bottom of the pan.
• Use caution when removing the thermometer because it could be hot.
• Most candy thermometers also can gauge oil temperatures for deep frying or for jelly making unless otherwise noted.
Candy making is an art form that takes practice to master, but who says you can’t have fun as you learn—and treat yourself to the results of each trial run?
Best Candy Thermometers
Best High-End ChoiceNuBee Temperature Gun Non-contact Infrared IR Thermometer Range with Laser Sight
For a non-traditional way to calculate candy temperatures, try this infrared thermometer with a ± 2% accuracy. Instead of a probe to insert into hot mixtures, it uses a red laser point to take measurements up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit. MSRP: $71.99
Best Economic Choice9839-15 Taylor Digital Candy-Deep Fry Thermometer with Adjustable Head
This restaurant-quality digital readout thermometer features an adjustable head, which allows users to set it up for different viewing angles. It has a stainless steel stem and automatic shutoff function that helps to extend battery life. MSRP: $16.76
Best Budget ChoiceCDN TCG 400 Professional Candy & Deep Fry Thermometer
Made with laboratory-caliber glass, this non-mercuric thermometer clearly calls out candy-making temperatures. It’s plastic handle stays cool to the touch. Also, a dual-mounting system allows users to clip it onto a pot or devise a hanging system. MSRP: $12.99
Don’t forget for the start of the meal, there are also a range of meat thermometers so you can monitor your meat in the same way.