Using Candy Molds

Every region of the world boasts an old-fashioned candy recipe, but here and now you can still make candy at home using candy molds and other candy making supplies. Here are tips and recipes that will make you more comfortable with this equipment.

Candy Making Supplies
The first thing you'll want to do is peruse recipes and gather an arsenal of basic candy making supplies. At the very least, you'll need a few sets of candy making molds, a double boiler, a candy thermometer and lollipop sticks. For easy filling of molds, invest in a set of disposable cake decorating bags or a plastic squeeze bottle.

Types of Candy Making Molds
Candy molds are made from resin, plastic or rubber and are available in an array of shapes and sizes. What size and shape mold you wish to purchase will depend on what kind of candy you wish to make since some candies harden and keep their shapes better than others. You will also need to determine if you need a mold that is soft and pliable, allowing you to pull the mold back from the candy once it has formed and hardened, or if you want a stiff mold where you will pop the candy out from the mold when it's done.

Check to see if the molds are dishwasher safe. Dishwasher safe molds are easy to disinfect and clean after each use; hand washable molds will require more time and special care.

You can find candy molds online, in craft stores, and in hobby shops.

Making Chocolate Candy Using Candy Molds
Flexible rubber molds are best for making chocolate candy, mints and cream cheese candy, so invest in a set of rubber molds for this project.

Quick and Easy Single Color Chocolate Candy
For solid chocolate candies, purchase bags of premade chocolate designated for candy making in the colors and flavors desired. Melt these chocolate pieces in a double boiler, and then fill the molds with the desired melted chocolate using either a spoon, a cake decorating bag or a plastic squeeze bottle. If you wish to add a stick to the candy to make a chocolate lollipop, add the stick. Then put the chocolate molds into the refrigerator, and cool until set. Turn the cooled, hardened chocolates out of the molds onto a clean towel, and then wrap in cellophane and store in a cool, dark place.

Simple Multi-Colored Chocolate Candies
If you want to make chocolate candies like the ones mentioned above, but you want to add multiple colors and flavors of chocolate, purchase a variety of colors and flavors of the premade chocolate described above. Melt these in the order of usage, and using a paintbrush or small utensil, paint in details into the molds in layers, allowing the different colored chocolates to set before adding the next layer of color or flavor chocolate. When you've added all the details needed, fill the rest of the mold with the main chocolate formula. Cool and remove from molds.

Making Filled Chocolates Using Candy Molds
Filled candies are especially impressive to give as gifts. Invest in the proper molds (in a ball shape, naturally.) Make your center mix from a recipe and set aside (see basic filling recipe below). Melt your chocolate coating on a double boiler, and paint a thick layer of chocolate in the mold. Chill the shell in the fridge. When chilled, hold the molds up and make sure you cannot see any light coming through the shells-if you see any light, add another layer and chill once more. Then fill the cavity of the chocolate shell (while it is still in the mold to hold its shape and prevent cracking of the shell) with the center mixture, coat the bottom of the mixture with chocolate, and set the chocolate to cool in the fridge. Turn chocolates out like any chocolate candy, and coat with an additional chocolate layer if the mix broke through the shell at any point.

Classic Chocolate Center Recipe
Combine 1 pound of confectioners sugar with ¼ pound of softened butter and ½ can of condensed milk. Use this as a butter sugar filling or flavor with extract or liqueur such as vanilla, almond, butter rum, orange, Grand Marnier, Brandy or Irish Cream.

Making Hard Candy Using Candy Molds
You can make hard candy such as lollipops by combining 3 ¾ cups granulated sugar, 1 ½ cups corn syrup and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and heating on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir the mixture as it melts together, and then raise heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil without stirring until your candy thermometer reads 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pan from heat. If you wish to add flavoring or food coloring, do so at this point in the process, and mix carefully. Pour candy mixture into hard candy molds, being careful not to touch the candy mixture; it will be very hot and will burn you. Add lollipop sticks if so desired. Let molds cool on the counter until the candy is completely set and cooled. Turn candy out onto wax paper on top of a soft surface such as a towel. Wrap in cellophane.

Making Rice Krispie Treats in Krispie Molds
Spray Krispie molds with nonstick spray. Combine two cups brown sugar, two sticks butter and 1 ¾ corn syrup in a saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Continue to boil for three minutes, and then add a can of condensed milk. Let mixture boil for three more minutes, and remove from heat. Stir in six cups of Rice Krispies, and press into molds.

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Candy making can be fun for beginners, and the many varieties of homemade candies make it an ongoing challenge for the veteran. Christmas is the time of year most people try their hand at old-fashioned candies, such as divinity, peanut brittle, chocolate fudge, logs and southern pralines. Year round, these goodies can bring a smile of delight to the sweets lover. Valentine's Day is the perfect time for making gourmet candies like truffles, butter toffee and lollipops. Halloween calls for caramel, peanut clusters and popcorn balls.

Making chocolate candy bars is not an easy or cheap task. It can be a time-consuming and tedious process. But chocolate made from scratch, without the added waxes and unnecessary flavors, is worth the extra work.

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