To continue the candy making theme here we go…
Here (Instructables) is a fantastic discussion on using cold water to show what “stage” your sugar is at to decide when to take it off the heat. Honey doesn’t work the same way. Honey has three steps, soft ball, hard crack, and burnt.
These steps help you use the cold water test to get the texture of honey you want. Combines with the “sight” you get close to a consistent product every time you make candy.
You can also use ‘smell’, but once you smell the honey is burnt it is too late.
Henry Buttes in Dyets Dry Dinner* says “…ginger condite with honey, warms old mens bellies…it is very restorative.”
- 1/4 cup honey
- pinch of ginger, ground (or saffron, black pepper, cinnamon)
- 1 bowl of really cold water.
- Warm a frying pan on medium. Place honey in frying pan and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring continuously.
- You should notice the honey change from golden clear to a light brown at around 4-6 minutes. Drip a few drops of honey into your cold water. The honey makes a pale platelet that sinks to the bottom. If you touch it, and eat it, it is very soft and chewy. At this temp you get a sticky mess if you pour it out on your nonstick surface. Good for shaping or caramel.
- After 2-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change darker. Drip a few drops of honey into your cold water. The honey makes a darker hard platelet that floats on top of the cold water. If you touch it, and eat it, it is crunchy.
- Quickly add the spice and stir.
- Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
- break apart to serve.
You can test your candy by dropping it in the water as you go to reassure yourself that it hasn’t burnt. It will go from hard crack to burn in about 30 seconds so its good to test frequently.
- Found at Early English Books Online as a pdf of the original printing, or my transcribed (annotated and redacted) version on amazon.ca