Flavoring Glazes: Gourmet Popcorn, Candy Apples, Brittles
Shine sells! A good shiny sugar glaze can even bring granola bark to life, as well as the colors within it and make an irresistible purchase. The same is true for popcorn balls, gourmet popcorn, brittles and candy apples.
If you can master a good hard, shiny and clear glaze (made with mainly sugar and corn syrup) – then you can master candied apples, shiny nut brittles, gourmet popcorn, and even granola barks that have a gorgeous gloss and shine. By adding professional caramel flavor in the glaze, you can also make a quasi caramel apple. This may be far more cost efficient than using say real Chocolate or real caramel as your “binding” or “coating” agent for any of the treats above. Sugar runs approximately a $1 a pound while chocolate can be upwards of $5 a pound for quality chocolate. If you are planning on doing volumes-the savings increases exponentially while the perceived value of a gourmet product will stay about the same.
Two main rules that come to mind when aspiring to make a solid glaze – never try to make candy on humid days. It ends up being sticky and never seems to set up right. If I have no choice and must make candy on poor weather days, I can control my environment by ample A/C and a dehumidifier. The other is to have the patience for your sugar mixture to get above 310 degrees. If you try to use the glaze and it never did reach over 310 degrees, it will be mush or granular and never set up right. You could even end up with what some call “little sugar bombs” and you do not want that. Some recipes claim it takes up to 7 minutes to reach a boiling stage when 20-30 minutes can be more like it. Candy makers will tell you once your candy reaches 275 degrees that 300 degrees is not that far away-so to really keep an eye on it when it hits 275 degrees. Invest in a cheap candy thermometer available at stores like Wal-Mart. If you are doing apples, find a small glass cereal bowl to use for coating.
Be prepared to work quickly and have few distractions around you. Hot sugar on the skin is the most unforgiving thing in the world. Use disposable stirring sticks when possible. To clean your vessel just heat it back up with boiling water and it should come off far easier than engaging in a scrubbing match with rock hard sugar. I avoid that altogether.
You may also need a heat proof spatula to scrape sugar off the sides of your pot making sure it all gets incorporated in the heating process. Click here for our Clear Hard Candy Glaze Recipe that has a multitude of uses if you can master the basic technique.
Sugar IS what makes this all happen, so we do not know of any sugar free methods. The hunt for something sugar free that is as tasty and appealing as this – seems to be an endless search.
For our latest article on Kettle Corn Recipes click here.
Reccomended Videos and Links:
Mahalo did a very nice and short video on making candy apples – if you can get past the commerical :). Otherwise they are not trying to sell anything.
Working with Chocolate as binder – a short video by me is…