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SOS - to all you knowledgeable cooks out there

Discussion in 'Food' started by Lizzie, 22nd Mar, 2016.

  1. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    I cook because I have to ... and hubby would burn water ... as such, I'm really good at following recipes, but hopeless to working out why something has gone wrong.

    For weeks now I've been trying dozens of recipes to make wine candies (hard toffee) - from basic wine, sugar, vinegar recipes ... to fancier recipes that are specifically for making wine candy ... or call for glucose, syrups, salt etc (trying to avoid any dairy for shelf life purposes) ... have tested my candy thermometer and it's working fine ... have tried cooking slow - fast - fast then slow - slow then fast - but every time the temperature reaches around 260F (need to get to 280F) it burns. If I pour out the mixture below 260F it's gooey and I want hard candy.

    Okay - my cookware ain't real flash and the selection of cookware around here is very limited ... but read that if I put a frypan down on the element, and then the pot in the frypan, it should work as the same as a heavy base-pan in dispersing the heat, but still burns.

    Do I simply bite the bullet and make a two and a half hour round trip to by a new pot? Could it be because my pot is too big? Do I simply lack the ability to cook? Is the sugar in the wine throwing things off, even tho one recipe I follow to the letter is specifically for making wine candy?

    For those more knowledgeable than me ... please help
     
  2. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Is there water in the frypan? Might help?
     
  3. 4point5million

    4point5million Well-Known Member

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    Off the top of my head

    You need to take the sugar mixture further, to a "hard ball stage" for a firmer set, usually you take it to 310 for a hard set. If it's burning before reaching this temp sounds like not enough sugar or too much liquid and the sediment is burning once over reducing
    The speed of cooking won't affect the end result so just stick with a medium simmer. Copper pots are best for this but any pot will do as long as your not making a massive batch.
    Try upping the sugar in the recipe and taking it further ( if you can) Also have a look at isomalt as a substitute.

    Another way would be to make your wine reduction first ( or make/use vincotto) then set aside, then make your sugar caramel separately, then add wine reduction to caramel and reduce down slightly till right consistency- be careful when you add liquid to caramel.

    Once you have made your caramel then you have established the hard point in the sugar so then it would just be a matter of adding a flavour then reducing back down slightly to cook the last of the liquid out
     
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  4. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    Thanks 4point ... you've given me a few options to try tomorrow ... there I was thinking that it might have been because I didn't have enough liquid. More sugar to the ratio. Might try a batch of the reduction as well to see how it works.

    Don't think water in the pan would work, Wattle, as the boiling point of the water would impede the temperature in the pot (methinks)
     
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  5. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    Talked to a chef friend today who advised the less liquid at the start the better ... so, using that theory I bought a new smaller pot and I've been boiling away again this afternoon ... made a perfect batch of plain boiled candy (1 water:4 sugar) ... made a batch of same ratios port:sugar ... burnt! Made a batch of chardonnay:sugar so I can keep a closer eye on any changes (lighter liquid) and kept the temp slower to crack stage ... burnt. Made a batch of reduced wine chardonnay:sugar - where the wine had been reduced by 50% so not as much liquid from the start (half wine:4 sugar) ... better but still not perfect.

    Am currently reducing the wine to 1/6th and will try another batch where the two tablespoons of the reduction is added right at the end of cooking ... as suggested by 4point ... wish me luck
     
    Last edited: 23rd Mar, 2016
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  6. BigKahuna

    BigKahuna Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps this will help: Red Wine Lollipops | Sprinkle Bakes If you read the comments you will see that many people had your problem of burning. One person put the pot straight into iced water so that the temperature wouldn't keep increasing.

    I suggest boiling the candy to 298 degrees instead of 310 degrees (the candy will keep cooking a little after it is removed from the heat source). The candy will caramelize just slightly, but it should not be -or taste- burnt. I use a digital thermometer, as it is easier to read. Also, don't use a large pan in which to boil the candy, or it will certainly burn. If candy continues to burn, it could be your pan - you may try adding a couple of tablespoons of water or wine from the bottle to the reduction/sugar/corn syrup/salt mixture. .
     
    Last edited: 23rd Mar, 2016
  7. 4point5million

    4point5million Well-Known Member

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    Could try decreasing the sugar and substituting the balance by increasing the amount of glucose as glucose caramelises at a lower temperature than sugar. But i think that once you perfected a quality wine reduction you just need to find the right balance between the sugar candy, qty of reduction and end point in cooking

    Once you get the recipe right you may need to look at moving to an inverted sugar anyway for shelf life, humidity etc. trimoline, sorbitol addition etc. We found shelf life was short as humidity and heat created too much moisture and ruined the product after a couple of days. Would also need to research a suitable food grade desiccant possibly for packaging

    good luck, working with sugars is not easy!
     
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  8. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    The pot and the frypan are the wrong colour - due to the bending of light rays and the speed at which light travels off the reflection of materials of different colours the heat dispersed from the two metals will cause differential heating or 'hot spots' - a trip to Newcastle is warranted.
     
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  9. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    Yep - got my sorbital all ready to go as soon as I get the combo/technique right and the food grade packaging :D ... you sound like you're in a similar industry and a font of knowledge
     
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  10. inertia

    inertia Well-Known Member

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    This. I made a croquembouche recently, and when I was trying to get the toffee right I would get it just up to the temp I needed, and it would almost immediately get burnt. You either need to get it out of the pot straight away (virtually impossible) or cool the pot back down so the temp doesn't keep rising.

    Cheers,
    Inertia
     
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  11. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    A boulongerer advised me that you need to add glucose syrup rather than sugar in the toffee for a croquembouche.
     
  12. Aaron Sice

    Aaron Sice Well-Known Member

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    Glucose Syrup!!!! Have a bucket in my pantry.
     
  13. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Found a use for it now?
     
  14. Aaron Sice

    Aaron Sice Well-Known Member

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    Yep.

    Toffee.
     
  15. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    righto - after another couple of experiments today (how many is that now!!!!) I think EUREKA might be called for.

    I have the recipe right. No burning - no crystallising - good flavour ... now my only concern is that I only heated to 300F (hard crack on thermometer and in most recipes) rather than 310 ... which means the surface is still a little sticky ... so will try once more.

    $Point - most "bought" boiled lollies have a powdery coating on them that stops the sweets sticking together ... do you know what that is?
     
  16. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Not crack - suggestions? @datto
     
  17. JenW

    JenW Well-Known Member

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    It could be icing sugar.... legal, plus cheaper than crack.
     
  18. datto

    datto Well-Known Member

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    No comment.

    The cops could be watching this thread.

    Hello Snr Const. Riley!
     
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  19. sanj

    sanj Well-Known Member

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    icing sugar is often added as it has an anti cakeing agent in it, often corn starch

    snow sugar can be used as well because it doesn't melt with heat and I believe is a bit less sweet than icing sugar.

    Alternatively you could try just corn starch if you don't want to add more sugar, not sure if it will work but worth a try
     
  20. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Like making marshmallow you use cornstarch and icing sugar. Any images of your success @Lizzie