Candy Temperatures and Testing Your Candy Thermometer

Caramel sauce

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There are many techniques to learn if you're serious about making candy, and the temperature of the syrup is one of the most important aspects. Make sure you have a reliable thermometer before you start. See below for instructions for testing a candy thermometer for accuracy.

Candy Temperature Chart

Thread begins at 230 F The syrup will make a 2" thread when dropped from a spoon.
Soft Ball begins at 234 F A small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball but flattens when picked up with fingers
Firm Ball begins at 244 F The ball will hold its shape and flatten only when pressed.
Hard Ball begins at 250 F The ball is more rigid but still pliable.
Soft Crack begins at 270 F A small amount of syrup is dropped into chilled water, it will separate into threads that will bend when picked up.
Hard Crack begins at 300 F The syrup separates into threads that are hard and brittle.
Caramelized Sugar 310 F to 338 F

Between these temperatures the sugar will turn dark golden but will turn black at 350 F.

To test your thermometer for accuracy, put it in a pan of water over high heat. Bring the water up to a rolling, vigorous boil. Making sure the thermometer does not touch the side or bottom of the pan, leave it in the water for 5 minutes as it continues to boil. The thermometer should register 212 F or 100 C. If the thermometer is off by a few degrees, adjust your recipe accordingly. For instance, if it registers 210 F and you want to cook your syrup to the soft ball stage, or 235 F, cook until it reaches 233 F.