Reg Groves writes from personal experience. He may be contacted at
("Controlling" continued from previous column) 
Otherwise, a very humid atmosphere may develop in which molds can grow.

We measure water activity, or Aw, on a scale of 0 to 1.0, with water having an Aw of 1.0. If a candy has an e.r.h. of 72 percent, then its Aw is 0.72. So, if we can measure Aw, we know the e.r.h.

Measurement of Aw also tells us to what extent moisture may be available for undesirable microbial growth, that is, free water. These organisms need water for reproduction, and will utilize water from the candy if it is free.
Some yeasts and molds can grow in the Aw range 0.60 to 0.70, but by the addition of acid and/or salt, and/or anti-microbial preservatives, there is little danger. Above Aw 0.75, we must be concerned.

We can increase the proportion of bound water by increasing the humectant level. This will lower the Aw, but it will also soften the texture. This may be compensated for by the addition of gums that have strong, water-binding properties. But there will be textural effects because gums increase viscosity or produce gel-like structures.

Salt and acids are frequently added to candies. They will have some influence on lowering the Aw, but they tend to create conditions hostile to microbial growth.

If we cannot formulate products at a totally safe Aw, it is product to add a preservative such as sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate. Aw is normally measured at 20 degrees C. It should also be noted that at higher temperatures, the Aw will increase.

Calculation of e.r.h. is quite complex, although computer software is available for this purpose. Measurement of the Aw using a meter and sensor can be done quickly on a sample of product. END

("Alternatives" continued from previous column) 
can occur in a mixing/cooking kettle. After concentration and the addition of all ingredients, the mass may be aerated by continuing to mix. This approach works best if the kettle has high speed agitation – 60 rpm or higher.

A limiting factor on the degree of aeration is viscosity. As the batch becomes aerated, it becomes more viscous, largely due to the cooling effect on the incorporated air. It may then become too viscous to flow from the outlet port.

The kettle mixing gear must be sufficiently robust for very viscous masses.

In some cases, aeration may be achieved with the use of a stiff frappe. Some moisture will inevitable be added with the frappe, and this approach may not be suitable for all pulled products. Crystallization may be initiated by addition of fondant or powdered sugar.

Some viscous masses may be aerated in vertical batch beaters like those used for marshmallow. Alternatively, a batch pressure beater or a continuous pressure beater may be used.

Success depends largely upon the fluidity of the mass at the aeration stage and its resistance to crystallization under conditions of high shear-rate mixing.

I have successfully pulled caramels by the use of a continuous pressure beater. Additives such as flavors and fondant can then be incorporated by the use of injection pumps and static pipe mixers.

Continuous tubular or trough mixers may be used instead of pulling, but it is usually hard to achieve enough residence time to obtain sufficient aeration.

Sigma-blade batch mixers have an action and speed similar to pulling machines. The main problem is the difficulty of discharging, unless the mixtruder type is employed.

Mixing and extrusion equipment designed for chewing gum can incorporate air into chewy masses but may cause crystallization.

We should really be thankful for the vertical pulling machine. The prior alternative was by hand, which was back-breaking work.


('Ball lollipops' continued from previous column)
 Example of double ball lollipops, courtesy of Baker Perkins.

The objective is to get the boiled batches colored, flavored and poured into the moulds and cooled as fast as possible. The metal moulds retain heat for quite some time, so a method of cooling is desirable. Moulds should be cooled before filling again.

If the syrup is not boiled high enough, and retains two to four percent moisture, then the viscosity of the lollipops after setting will not be high enough and they may deform or melt. It is not normally possible for a small manufacturer to determine the moisture content of finished lollipops.

A good guide is to boil the syrup to 310 degrees F at sea level, but lower temperatures at higher altitudes. Thermometers should be frequently recalibrated.

If the corn syrup is too high, then lollipops deform more readily because corn syrup is a syrupy ingredient, whereas sugar gives more dryness and body.

A good ratio is 60 sugar to 40 corn syrup, but care must be taken to avoid conditions that may cause crystallization or graining.

One of those conditions is allowing the lollipops to become sticky by absorption of atmospheric moisture. They should be wrapped while still warm.

Since hard candy absorbs moisture so readily, it is important to use moisture-proof packaging. The wrapping film must provide a good barrier against moisture, for example, saran-coated cellophane or film. Uncoated polyethylene is not sufficient protection.

Similarly, the boxes should be wrapped in moisture-proof film and the shipping cases lined with moisture-proof film bags. 

(Note: see photo above)
Baker Perkins has developed a line of equipment for the lollipop sector – the latest addition is the soft-centered double-ball lollipop. END


('Cutting' continued from previous column)
In hard candy, if the proportion of inversion is too high, the candy will be excessively hygroscopic and may even distort or flow in storage.

If there is too little inversion, spontaneous crystallization may occur.

I have known batches to become a solid mass of crystals while still in the vacuum kettle or to crystallize as soon as they were poured onto a cooling table.

In fondant or cream centers, too much inversion will cause slack syrup batches, whereas too little will lead to coarse, dry, grainy batches.

When making grained mints, unless the proportion of inversion falls within a very narrow range, then the desired “meltaway” texture cannot be produced.

There is no doubt that products made by causing inversion during cooking have excellent texture when correctly processed.

If, as an alternative, a measured quantity of invert sugar is added to a formula, some discoloration (caramelization) may occur in cooking, so the finished product may not be as white as when the inversion method is employed.

However, except in very well controlled, continuous processing, if inversion is caused by the use of acid ingredients, it is difficult to ensure consistent product.

For most types of product, the use of corn syrup as a “doctor” material, or to “cut the grain,” is a more reliable method of control. END


("Lozenges" continued from previous column)
The usual sequence is to place all of the sugar and starch into the mixer and than add the adhesives, color and flavor while mixing until a homogeneous mass is produced.

The next step is to form the shaped lozenges. The equipment that is normally used forms a continuous sheet of about 1/2-inch thickness by means of a horizontal multiple-screw extruder.

The sheet is then rolled down to the required thickness by passing through multiple pairs of horizontal rollers.

The sheet is heavily dusted with dry starch to prevent sticking to the rollers.

Next the sheet passes beneath a set of vertical cutters that stamp out the required shape as well as imprint a product name or company logo on the surface.

The shaped lozenges are delivered onto starch-dusted trays and the web is reworked through the extruder.

In the preceding formula the moisture content is approximately 7.5 percent.

The lozenges must be dried to between one and two percent moisture to make them hard.

The lozenges are spread in trays that have perforated bases to assist the removal of moisture. There should be a sufficient gap between the trays to permit free circulation of drying air.

The trays are held in rooms where the temperature and relative humidity are controlled to maximize the rate of drying.

Depending on formulation and thickness, drying may take days. Drying rooms should have fans to circulate air between the trays.

If drying is too rapid, a hard skin may form that will delay drying of the inside.

If the temperature is too high, the lozenges may expand and lose their flat appearance. At a high temperature, there may be much loss of volatile flavoring.

Typical drying room conditions will have a temperature of about 100-110 degrees F and a differential of about 25 percent between the equilibrium relative humidity of the product and relative humidity of the air.

There must be good air circulation, but not too much to blow starch from the trays. END

("Perfecting Jelly Bean Coatings" continued from previous column) 
The sugar is applied in a dry crystalline form after each syrup coating. Sugar adheres to the surface of the jelly beans, and by a combination of rolling and pressure from the weight of the batch, the crystals are compacted together with a thin syrup film.

Sweating back is due to compaction and arrangement of the crystals, which squeezes syrup to the surface.

This syrup must then be dried off with more sugar before the next application of syrup.

If regular refined granulated sugar is used, the coating will be coarse and gritty. It is customary to use an extra fine grade of crystalline sugar. Typical particle distribution is:

• Retained on U.S. sieve #30 – not more than two percent;
• Retained on U.S. sieve #40 – not more than 2.5 percent;
• Through U.S. sieve #70 – at least 40 percent; and
• Through U.S. sieve #140 – not more than eight percent.
This grade of sugar will provide a pleasant texture and a semiplastic coating.

If powdered sugar is used, then the coating is likely to be hard.

By using powdered sugar, the syrup must be spread over a larger surface area.

Syrup films between particles will be thinner than with crystalline sugar. Consequently, the coating will have little plasticity.

Not every particle of powdered sugar will be coated with syrup, but the effect will be a much harder coating.

Powdered sugar is only used for the final coating to fill in hollows between crystals of sugar and provide a smooth surface.

Hardness is caused by excessive drying between coating and final smoothing.

Normal conditions would be 70 to 75 degrees F, and 45 to 50 percent RH for overnight drying.

Hardening may also occur in storage if the conditions are too warm or of very low humidity and if the packaging does not provide good moisture barrier.

Some manufacturers use high maltose corn syrup to extend shelf life.         END

("Preventing Weak Set" continued from previous column) 
temperature may drop well below the boiling point, causing the pectin to come out of solution. If this occurs, the pectin may burn on the inner surface of the kettle, leading to inefficient heat transfer, slow boiling, and a weak gel.
10. Add the color, and boil to 226 degrees F.
11. Shut off the steam. Add the flavor.
12. Only when the batch is ready to be placed into the depositor should the last half of the citric acid solution be added, and thoroughly mixed in. If all of the acid is added too soon, dropping the pH to between 3.2 and 3.5, the batch may begin to set prematurely either in the kettle or in the depositor, especially if the temperature drops below 190 degrees F. If the gel has begun to set before depositing into the starch moulds, the agitation from the pumping action through the nozzles will disturb the set, thereby causing a weak structure in the finished piece.
13. Deposit into starch, and set for at least three hours.
14. De-mould, steam, and sugar-sand.


("Jelly Rework" continued from previous column)

1. Thirty minutes before use, thoroughly mix the gelatin with the smaller quantity of water.
2. Weigh the mixed scrap, equivalent to 60% of the total batch weight.
3. Place the scrap, corn syrup and water into a mixing kettle.
4. Quickly dissolve the scrap with rapid warming. If necessary, cut the jellies into smaller pieces for faster dissolving.
5. Rapidly bring to a boil at 245 degrees F.
6. Add in color to disguise the shade of the scrap mix.
7. Slowly stir in the hydrated gelatin.
8. Allow the batch to stand for 15 minutes, then skim off the layer of air bubbles at the surface.
9. Add the flavor. Mix gently to avoid aerating.
10. Deposit into starch moulds.
11. Sift starch over the surface of the deposits.
12. Store in drying rooms for two to three days at 130-140 degrees F. 13. Remove gum drops from moulds. Finish by oiling or sugar sanding.

It should be noted that when adding the hydrated gelatin, excessive mixing at this point promotes aeration. This results in an unattractive layer of air bubbles that rise to the surface of each starch mould deposit.

Many of the flavors from the scrap mix will vaporize during the boiling period. However, a strong flavor will still be needed for each batch.

The longer the stoving time for the deposited gum drops, the tougher the finished product. For a more tender texture, stove in a hot room for a slightly shorter period.

After demoulding the gum drops, the final finish may be sugar sanding, which is preceded by steaming and completed by a drying step. Alternatively, polishing is achieved by oiling the candies in a revolving pan or tumbler. A small amount of high stability coating oil will produce a shiny surface.

In the U.S. and many other countries, it must be remembered that all components must be declared on a package ingredient statement. Utilizing rework by the method just described can make the declaration somewhat complex. Also a nutritional declaration may be difficult to determine unless the same percentage composition of rework is consistently used.

An alternative would be to separate the types of scrap then digest the starch and gelatin by means of enzymes. Having done so, each rework type can be dissolved to a syrup with water, then neutralized, decolorized and filtered in a conventional scrap recovery system.  END

("Gummi Jellies" continued from previous column) 

In some cases, the gelatin is hydrated in its own weight of water, then stirred into a boiled syrup of 80-85 percent solids. In other cases, the gelatin is hydrated in twice its weight of water or more, then warmed to a solution.

This solution is mixed into a syrup of about 90 percent solids.

If the stirring is gentle, the latter method produces fewer bubbles. The amount of water added to the gelatin is governed by the desired solids and viscosity for depositing.

Whichever method is employed, there are techniques that can be used to remove the bubbles.

If the mix of hydrated gelatin and boiled syrup is prepared in a bottom-outlet steam kettle, then clarification is easier.

In the clarification stage, occasional shots of steam are let into the kettle jacket to cause convection currents that accelerate the movement of bubbles to the surface.

The clarified syrup that is then drawn off from the bottom of the kettle is virtually bubble-free, and the scum remains in the kettle. A vacuum kettle can be used to remove the bubbles after mixing, and this method is very effective.

However, one effect of the vacuum stage is to cool the syrup and increase its viscosity.

Removal of bubbles by vacuum must usually be accompanied by additional heating to maintain a suitable viscosity for depositing.

A modern development for processing gummi jellies is the pressure coil cooker, otherwise known as a static cooker. In this equipment, solution and concentration of the mix is achieved by a combination of heating and pressure within the cooking coil.

The residence time within the coil is very brief, and the utilization of pressure allows the mixture to be dissolved in less water than when using open atmospheric cooking kettles.

It is possible to incorporate the gelatin with the water used for solution of the sugar, and due to the brief cooking time, the gelatin suffers little degradation.

Using this system, incorporating color and flavor with in-line mixing devices, the jelly syrup is immediately ready for depositing in a bubble-free, hot, fluid state.

Having made bubble-free jelly by batch or continuous methods, it is still possible to aerate the syrup unless care is taken.

Pumping and delivery to the mogul hopper must be arranged in such a way that pumps do not incorporate air, or that air bubbles are not formed as the syrup flows into the hopper.

Clarity is a mark of quality in gummi-type products, and considerable care is needed to achieve it.  END

("Microwave" continued from previous column)
Although it takes longer, it is preferable to use the defrost mode for chocolate. With care, this mode can also be used for warming after cooling in the tempering procedure.

Small sample batches of hard candy become cool and too hard very quickly, especially if they are to be striped or filled. If this happens, it is simple to warm the candy back to a plastic state. The normal heating mode should be used, but the batch should be frequently turned.

For some small batches, complete cooking may be possible. For simple syrups, such as fondant, a temperature in the range of 235 – 245 degrees F can be reached after several minutes of full-power heating.

If bob batches of cream centers are to be made, the fondant portion can also be liquefied in a microwave oven.

Boiling to much higher temperatures is possible.

But it is especially important that the plastic container will not deform or collapse at these higher temperatures. It is not really practical to cook caramel by microwave heating because the milk protein coagulates and separates. It is really necessary to stir while boiling milk formulations.

Many companies need a fast method of moisture determination. The following is accurate to within 0.5 percent.
• Weigh a clean, small petri dish and lid. Record the weight.
• Weigh into the dish approximately two grams of pulverized sample. Record the weight.
• Place the sample into the oven.
• Heat for one minute at full power, then turn off for one-and-a-half minutes. Repeat this procedure 10 times, to give a total heating time of 10 minutes. The intervals of one-and-a-half minutes provide cooling time to prevent burning.
• Remove the sample, place the lid on the dish and allow to cool. Reweigh the petri dish and dried sample, then express the weight loss as percent moisture content.

This method may require some variation. The objective is to subject the sample to maximum heating periods without scorching.

A timer can be used to control the on/off periods. Although the method is not as accurate as some others, it does provide a fast result.

Future development will potentially bring microwave heating into greater use for candy processing.

In the meantime, it provides a convenient means of heating small batches.



(continued from previous column)
These coating fluids are usually applied in a revolving pan or tumbler, but the abrasion of tumbling while drying tends to rub the corners bare. If a coating of powder is applied to prevent this, then the eating character of the product may be changed. By minimizing abrasion of nut pieces generally, the bloom problem will be diminished. Excessive abrasion ruptures more oil cells, and the nuts may have an oily surface before chocolate coating.

Obviously, the thicker the coating of chocolate, the longer it will take for nut oils to seep through. Many companies double-coat products that contain nuts. But another factor is the hardness of the chocolate. Well-tempered and properly cooled chocolate has a harder texture than that which is poorly tempered. So, good tempering and correct cooling are of primary importance.

Milk chocolate will inevitably be softer than dark chocolate because of the presence of milk fat. But fortunately, bloom does not show quite as readily on milk as on dark chocolate. However, good tempering is still important, and it may be desirable to reduce the milk fat.

Another approach is to formulate the chocolate coating for the maximum possible hardness. We know that Brazilian cocoa butter gives a softer set than cocoa butter from most other areas. It is also a fact that Malaysian cocoa butter gives a harder texture than most others. The hardness of chocolate will be improved if Malaysian butter is used.

Lecithin also tends to make for a softer texture. If the lecithin is removed from the formula, then it will be necessary to increase the cocoa butter content to maintain the standard viscosity. And if the cocoa butter content can be further raised, consistent with an acceptable viscosity, then the set texture will be further hardened, provided that a hard variety of cocoa butter is used.

Purchasers of chocolate coatings cannot significantly influence the hardness once the chocolate has been received. But, by discussion with the supplier, it may be possible to formulate a harder coating.

Since the deterioration process is one of a fluid oil seeping through the coating, this will be delayed if the oil can be made more viscous by cold storage. Storing in freezing conditions will virtually prevent seepage as it also hardens the chocolate. But, of course, it is not practical to keep such products frozen throughout their whole shelf life.

The rule should be to keep sensitive products cool at all times. Frequent changes of temperature, even cool temperatures, will accelerate oil seepage by causing expansion and contraction. END

For more information, please contact Pat Magee at

(continued from previous column)
. . . and caramel can be made by taking regular formulations for these products and diluting to the required viscosity. It is not advisable to dilute with water as this may raise the water activity of the filling to the point that mold growth occurs during storage.

It is preferable to dilute with a syrup that has a water activity too low for mold growth, such as high DE corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, or warmed dissolved invert sugar. These syrups will raise the sweetness level, but it may be possible to compensate by adjustment of the base formula before dilution.

Jellies are not easy to formulate because they normally have to be deposited hot. However, gelling agents such as agar, low methoxyl pectin and vegetable gums may be used to make a viscous syrup that forms a weak gel.

Meltaways and peanut butter fillings are fairly easy as the liquid phase is fat, as in chocolate. By manipulation of the fat melting point and proportion, good formulations can be constructed.

Truffles can be made by preparation in the normal manner, then dilution with syrup and/or a liquid vegetable oil.

The critical part is to achieve a viscosity that matches the chocolate to be used at 86 to 92 degrees F. In many cases, this will be a judgment call, but I advise the use of a viscosimeter, and prefer the Brookfield model HAT.

This model has been generally adopted by the U.S. candy and chocolate industry for measurement of chocolate viscosity.

The procedure is to measure the viscosity of the chocolate that is to be used for one-shot depositing, when tempered, and match the viscosity of the filling to it at the tempered temperature.

Obviously, this complicates the process of preparing fillings.

But it cannot be assumed that the same quantity of diluting syrup will always produce the same viscosity.

Variables in the preparation and age of the base batches before dilution can affect the viscosity. So, it is better to measure and, if necessary, adjust the filling viscosity just before it is to be used. END


(continued from previous column)

Assuming that 50 percent of the final mix is melted conventional 4:1 fondant, then some typical “bob” syrup formulations might be:

 %  %  %
Granulated sugar 36 32 36
42 DE corn syrup 5   4   --
65 DE corn syrup --   --   2
Invert sugar   --   --   3
Water   9    8    9
Frappe   --   5    --
Plus color and flavor

The conventional procedure is as follows:
• Mix and heat the sugar, syrup(s) and water until the sugar is dissolved.
• Boil the syrup to 240 degrees F. Lower boiling will give a softer, more creamy texture. Higher boiling will give a more rigid texture but graining will occur earlier.
• Blend the fondant and boiled syrup together, and mix in color and flavor.
• The mix temperature should be about 160 degrees F. If too cool, a thick, soft wafer will result. If too hot, graining will be rapid. Continue mixing until the temperature falls.
• Deposit into discs on paper or rubber plaques.

This type of fondant candy can easily be “shocked” into premature graining.

Fierce heating can cause this, as can cold drafts or depositing onto a cold surface. Room conditions and the temperature of plaques should be about 80 degrees F. Cooling should be in an atmosphere of 70-80 degrees F, and the wafers will normally set in 20-30 minutes.

They can be packed as soon as they are set. Packaging should be designed to resist loss of moisture, and storage must not be in warm, dry conditions.    END

(continued from previous column)

The extremely high viscosity of hard candy is one of the factors that prevents graining. But if the candy, by its hygroscopic nature, can absorb some moisture into its outer surface the viscosity is greatly reduced and the candy will consequently grain.

In this grained or partially grained state, the sugar crystals will trigger additional graining in any fresh hard candy to which it is added.

So, if scrap is to be used by kneading it back into a fresh hot batch, it must be either fresh and warm, or fresh and dry.

If it is impractical to always ensure that the scrap is in either of these two states, then it should be utilized as a rework syrup. Scrap can be reduced to a syrup, neutralized, decolored, largely deflavored, and adjusted to a standard concentration. In this form, it can be reworked as a portion of the boiled syrup for fresh batches of hard candy, or for a variety of other candy products.

Grained scrap is not the only possible cause of graining in hard candy sticks. Especially if it occurs most frequently in strong colors, it may be connected with the quantity of liquid color that is being used.

To produce strong colors, a fairly high level of color is required. It is always preferable to use paste or jellied dyes, or powdered dyes specifically designed for inclusion in hot candy. Excessive liquid can lower the viscosity, permitting graining to take place.

Having ensured that rework scrap and colors are being incorporated properly, another safeguard is to raise the level of corn syrup in the formulation.

Higher levels of corn syrup increase the viscosity. Ratios of 60:40 or 55:45 sugar to corn syrup are common and usually resistant to graining. The textural effect of raising the corn syrup level will be to make the candy more tough and less crunchy. It will also reduce the ingredient cost.

If these measures fail to cure the problem, then a detailed investigation of the process should be undertaken. There can be several other contributory causes to the problem of graining in hard candies. END

(continued from previous column)

The vegetable oil should be melted and all ingredients, except the flavor, placed into a cooking vessel with good agitation and scraping of the heated surface. If the heating surface is not efficiently scraped, the milk will scorch.

Warm the mixture to about 110 degrees F and mix thoroughly for 10 minutes, ensuring a good emulsion before starting to cook. Boil the batch to 238-240 degrees F. Allow the boiling to subside, mix in the flavor and use immediately for dipping.

A few possible causes for the caramel coating to weep or roll off include not boiling the caramel at a high enough temperature; improper emulsification of vegetable oil, resulting in poor adhesion because of the lubricating effect of free oil; but the most likely cause is that caramel is naturally hygroscopic. It will begin to absorb moisture from the air as soon as it cools – unless the relative humidity is below about 35 percent.

This absorption dilutes the coating causing it to become sticky and then flow off the apples.

The remedy is to dip the apples in an atmosphere which is as dry as possible, wrap them in moisture-proof film as soon as they are cool and store at 55-60 degrees F. END


(continued from previous column)

After cooking, the caramel should be cooled to 160 degrees F – 180 degrees F, depending upon the formula. The temperature of the hot water jacket in the depositor must be controlled, as well as the temperature of the caramel inside the depositor.

If the latter portions of large caramel batches becomes too cool, it may be better to make smaller batches.  

When temperatures are running consistently, the viscosity of the hot caramel can be controlled by varying its temperature, to obtain the optimum depositing viscosity.

The flow of hot caramel deposits can also be controlled through the addition to the formulation of an alginate, which is effective in reducing the flow without significantly affecting caramel viscosity.

The weight of the caramel deposits can be determined by placing a pan, which has been sized to catch the full width of caramel deposits, under the nozzles.

Alternatively, a previously-weighed sheet of waxed cardboard may be used.

The proportion of nut pick-up can be determined by weighing an equal number of deposits with nuts, after cooling and after transfer from the nut separation belt, but before enrobing.

This sample should be retrieved immediately after weighing the caramel deposits, so that the temperature of the caramel at depositing will be the same. The two sample weights can then be compared for caramel-to-nut ratio. By a similar procedure, the percentage of chocolate can be determined. END


(continued from previous column)

Please visit for information about chocolate production

Because of this practice, the consistency of the paste from the mixer varied greatly. Since this mixer served five refiners on an on-demand basis, the consistency of paste being fed to the refiners was quite variable.

In addition, mixing times were variable. To get production underway at the start of a shift, the mixing time might be only seven minutes, whereas 20 minutes were written into the standard procedure. Since the efficiency of mixing influences the extent to which dry particles of sugar and milk are wetted with cocoa butter, this was an important factor.

With paste of varying textures fed to the refiners, it was impossible to set the rollers to grind a full-width band of paste to the desired fineness.

The remedies were obvious, and after implementation, the fineness of the chocolate paste improved. END

(continued from previous column)

Some people can never hand temper or dip successfully because they have naturally “hot” hands, which de-temper the chocolate or cause streaks in the dipped candies.

As the pool of chocolate decreases, it should frequently be replenished by small quantities of warm chocolate which must be thoroughly mixed in before dipping is resumed. By this practice, a pool of chocolate can be kept in temper for a few hours. The secret is to frequently add small quantities of warm chocolate and thoroughly stir them into the tempered mass. Streakiness may be due to insufficient mixing.

Dipped candies, placed on trays or plaques, are then held in a cool area to set. The temperature for cooling should be 55-65 degrees F, and setting will take 30-40 minutes. It is not a good practice to put dipped candies into a refrigerator or freezer. This type of cooling could cause a dull finish and condensation. END

Prevent almond bark products from streaking

By Reg Groves

Question: We have not been able to determine the cause of an occasional streaky appearance on our almond bark products. The chocolate is tempered properly, and the cooling tunnel is working properly. Our enrobed products produced on this same line have a consistent gloss. If this is fat bloom, why does it show up only periodically?

Answer: Follow-up to this query determined that the tempered chocolate is spread into a thin layer on the belt by operators, some of whom were wearing thin plastic gloves.

Gloves are sanitary, but do not provide insulation from the heat generated by the enclosed hand. And since plastic gloves do not allow perspiration to evaporate, the temperature of the hand is raised.

Some people also have naturally warmer hands than others. This body heat can cause “fat bloom” by remelting the desirable seed crystals on the surface of the chocolate being spread onto the belt. This allows undesirable crystal formation, with a resultant streaky appearance.

In fact, the streaking may not show immediately, but may be visible in several days, after the bloom has time to develop. The use of insulated gloves can provide protection against significant heat penetration into the chocolate, but for hand operations such as this, workers who have naturally cool hands should be selected. END


(continued from previous column)

Several factors influence the bubble size formation and stability of the foam. These include formulation, moisture content, type and quantity of aerating agent, temperature/viscosity of beating, speed of beating and type of beating equipment.

Physical stability means resistance to syrup drainage, which forms a syrupy layer at the bottom of each marshmallow.

If the foam has many large bubbles, then the syrup matrix is distributed over a smaller surface area than is the case with small bubbles. Larger bubbles tend to coalesce or collapse, creating syrupy voids. Free syrup then drains down through the marshmallow and causes a layer of syrup at the bottom of each piece. Often, this can be cured simply by creating a foam of smaller, more even-sized bubbles.

How can we achieve this? All of the above factors play a part, but we must have a means of seeing and measuring how small and even the bubble structure is.

This is where the microscope plays its part. If we make a microscope slide of a sample of the marshmallow, the bubbles can easily be seen. To be more sophisticated, we can use a reticle to measure the bubbles and make photo micrographs to set standards.

By variation of the above factors, we can determine what process conditions create the smallest bubble structure and set operating standards.

This discussion has dealt with open batch processing, but the same procedures can be applied to batch or continuous pressure beaters.

It is easier to achieve consistent specific gravity and bubble structure with pressure beaters. END




(Continued from previous column)
In this hot state, the paste is rather soft and sticky, but after partial or complete cooling, its texture is plastic, non-sticky and excellent for extrusion.

Fruits and novelty shapes are often made by hand, using hinged book moulds, then hand decorated by air brushing or with fine paint brushes. There is a machine that will form novelty shapes onto a conveyor, but these, of course, have one flat surface.

Peanut marzipan is a traditional Mexican product that can be found in some areas of the U.S. The formula is basically coarse ground peanuts mixed with sugar, but flavors, lecithin and preservatives may also be included.

Peanut oil released during grinding acts as a binder, but the grinding is so coarse that small pieces of peanut remain. A typical recipe might be:
Powdered sugar  55  0
Coarse ground, roasted peanuts  45  0
Peanut flavor        2
Lecithin        3

The ingredients are mixed together to wet the dry particles as much as possible with released peanut oil. The lecithin acts as a wetting agent and antioxidant.

Since peanut marzipan does not bind together very well, it is not normally extruded or sheeted and cut. Instead, special machines have been developed that compress the mix into large circular tablets and then bunch-wrap them.

Hazelnut or filbert paste is also more opular in Europe than in the U.S. There is a wide variety of textures. At one end of the scale, hazelnut paste, which is quite liquid when warm, is simply stiffened and sweetened with powdered sugar. At the other end, fondant cream centers may be flavored with hazelnut paste. Then there are textures that are deposited into chocolate shells, sheeted, then wire-cut, layerd in candy bars, or used as fillings in hard candies. So there is no typical formula for hazelnut paste.

Where fluidity for depositing is required, a hydrogenated fat may be added to a hazelnut/sugar mix. This will provide fluidity when warm, but a set when cooled. Where a viscous, pumpable or extrudable texture is needed, hazelnut paste will be stiffened with dry powdered ingredients.

Another form of paste, often called Krokant, is made by roasting hazelnuts with sugar, and then, after cooling, fine-grinding to a paste.

Peanut butter is very popular in the U.S., but not so elsewhere. A starting formula for extrusion would be:
Peanut butter       40  0
Powdered sugar    55  0
Hydrogenated veetable oil 90 degrees melt   5  0
Lecithin 4
Kraflow spray-dried whey     1  8
Peanut flavor 4

Such a formula would be prepared in a dough mixer. Peanut butter candies are not easy to extrude, since the oil liberated in grinding makes for a rather slack texture. It can also bleed through the coating as fat bloom. END

(Continued from previous column)

 Photo courtesy of P Magee Enterprises

(Freezing Fudge - continued from previous column)

Both factors contribute to a firm structure.

Most likely, the fudge was placed into the freezer too soon, where the final crystallization would take place more slowly, resulting in a finer crystal structure, or possibly failure to fully crystallize.

When thawed to room temperature, the “set” would be soft.

Inconsistent final cooking temperatures should not be overlooked as a potential cause of a soft set.

Thermometers should be calibrated weekly.

To make an assumption that thermometers are reading accurately is frequently a cause of varying texture. END



(Extrusion of Fudge - continued from previous column)

When steam pressure varies, so does the boiling time. Prolonged boiling causes excessive inversion of the sugar. In this case, fudge may turn out to be too soft and sticky.

The boiling temperature must also be controlled. Hard fudge may be the result of boiling too high, driving off too much moisture. In addition, at the higher temperature, the batch is more supersaturated bringing about more rapid crystallization. On the other hand, soft and sticky fudge may be the consequence of a too low boiling point.

Careful weighing of ingredients, including water, is critical. When too much water is used, inversion of the sugar occurs due to prolonged boiling time. When too little is used, there may be insufficient water to dissolve all of the sugars. In this case, the fudge texture may be hard, short and grainy due to undissolved sugar.

Fondant is added as a means of seeding the batch with very fine sugar crystals, which is important to the final texture of the fudge. The usual temperature for adding fondant is about 180 degrees F.

Before extrusion, some manufacturers harden the fudge by cooling. However, this delays the crystallization process. Although it will still eventually crystallize fully, at the time of extruding the texture may be more caramel-like and harder to handle. Room termperature conditions, 70-75 degrees F, are appropriate for extrusion.

Companies may also mature or age fudge overnight, before extruding. As far as possible, each fudge batch should be held for a similar period. END



(continued from previous column)

It became obvious that the texture was more coarse towards the end of a production shift, than at the beginning. The real cause of coarse texture was that the production rate of batches per shift had been increased. This resulted in batches having less time for cooling in the mixing kettle and in the depositor hopper. The depositing temperature at the end of a shift was about 190 degrees F to 200 degrees F. As the shift proceeded, the train of equipment became higher and higher in temperature. The effect of this higher temperature is that more of the sugar crystals in the fondant become dissolved, and there is less fine crystallization at the point of depositing. In these circumstances, large crystals develop in the fudge, as it cools in trays, producing a coarse texture.

The remedy was to apply cooling to the jacket of the mixing kettle, and to the jacket of the depositor hopper. The cooling water in each case was set to temperatures which would cool the batches in the mixing kettle to about 200 degrees F, and in the depositor hopper to about 160 degrees F. Thereafter, consistently fine-textured fudge was produced throughout the whole shift. END


(continued from previous column) 

But there may be other causes, such as contamination of the fudge surfaces, or condensation of moisture within the package.

It would be advisable to add potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate as mold-inhibiting agents. The legal maximum for these preservatives is 0.1 percent of the weight of the finished product.

Turning white at the edges of the pans may also be due to having insufficient syrup.

The white appearance is uncontrolled crystallization, and Karo syrup is the principal ingredient that helps to retard the rate of crystallization.

Other causes may be insufficient stirring to cause enough crystallization before pouring, or pouring into pans that are too cold. Fudge should not be “shocked” in its cooling stage, or “white spot” crystallization may occur. Fudge is quite a complex confection.

It is a solution (emulsion and dispersion of ingredients) that is then partially crystallized. Hopefully, a consistent product results.

But many fudge formulations originated in “grandma’s kitchen” where shelf life was never a consideration. This one for goat’s milk fudge probably had a similar origin. Without some understanding of the technology involved to convert a domestic formulation to a commercial product with good shelf life, the problem can often be baffling. END




(continued from previous column)

Cooling before pre-bottoming can also help. In some cases a cold plate may be installed before the bottomer to chill the bottom surfaces and speed chocolate setting. This can be especially beneficial with soft centers to make the bottom surface firm as the chocolate is less likely to peel off a rigid surface than it is from a flexible one.

Double bottoming
Placing two bottomers in the line can be beneficial to achieve a thick bottom coating. But unless there is sufficient time and correct cooling conditions between the two bottomers, and between the second bottomer and the enrober, the coating may not be improved. The second bottomer may simply wash off part of the first coat, and the same may occur in the enrober. It is often better to extend the cold plate rather than to install a second bottomer.

Compound coatings
Many compounds, especially if based on lauric fats, set much faster than chocolate. In such cases, two to three minutes of cooling time on the cold plate conveyor can suffice. Special care must be taken with lauric fat compounds to avoid condensation on the cold plate conveyor. The moisture absorbed into the bottom coating can result in a strong soapy flavor due to hydrolytic rancidity.

Extrusion of centers
Some leakers may be caused by compression in an extruder with insufficient time for re-expansion before chocolate coating. The chocolate coating contracts as it sets exerting a slight pressure on the center. If this is combined with un-relaxed compression by the extruder then leakers or splits can occur.

Leakers occur frequently through thin bottom coatings. Ideally, eight minutes should elapse between extrusion and coating, especially if the center is aerated and, thereby, more compressible. END


W.C. Smith Bottomer & Cold Plate from Savage Bros. Co.

(continued from previous column)

Chocolate shells are formed by filling moulds with tempered chocolate and then inverting the moulds to drain out the excess. After cleaning the edges and cooling, the moulds are ready to be filled.

Drained maraschino cherries, or cherries preserved in alcohol, are placed into the moulds by hand or by mechanical dropper. Size grading of the cherries is vital to ensure fillings of consistent volume.

Cream fillings are so formulated that they are fluid enough to deposit at about 85 degrees – 90 degrees F. But upon cooling they are viscous enough to support the final application of chocolate, which completes the encasement.

Then, over a period of a few weeks (not in freezer storage), the cream filling becomes liquid due to invertase action. In this case, too, a high sugar fondant results in a more fluid cordial.

When shell moulding a truly liquid cordial, it may not be viscous enough to support the final application of chocolate through the stages of depositing and cleaning off the excess. This can result in leakers.

A remedy is to spray a thin coat of cocoa butter onto the surface of the cordial and then cool the raft of cocoa butter before the final chocolate application.

Some shell moulding systems can compensate for variable cherry size by sucking out excess syrup from over-filled moulds. And in some cases, the bottom of chocolate is applied as a moulded disc rather than a liquid deposit. This ensures better sealing against leakage and more consistent bottom thickness.

The procedures sound simple, but careful balancing of formulations is required to ensure the desired fluidity. Addition of preservatives is a common practice. END



(continued from previous column)

inverted due to being held at a high temperature for an excessive length of time. Hard candy that is thus grossly over-inverted will quickly become sticky, and in extreme cases will flow in storage.

The remedy was to make much smaller batches of decorating syrup, which could be totally used within 15 to 20 minutes. In addition, production was re-organized to reduce the delay between applying the features and packaging, so that the product was exposed to the atmosphere for as little time as possible.


(continued from previous column) 



Lengthy cooking time and slow cooking will cause excessive inversion of sugar. This, too, will increase the tendency to attract moisture.

The incorporation of fats reduces the stickiness. In most hard candies, it is impractical to add fats, but in brittles and caramels, the higher the level of fat, the better. The addition of glyceryl monostearate is extremely beneficial and provides better lubrication for cutting, chewing and resisting adhesion to wrappers.

Packing materials

The major requirement for packaging films, bags and cases, is that they should have good moisture barrier properties. Not all films or laminates provide this, and before selection, consultation with suppliers is advisable. Ideally, there will be three layers of protection – the wrapper, the bag (or carton), and the shipping case.

There are several choices of films or laminates for twist wrapping, fold wrapping or fin-seal wrapping. Sealing is better than twisting or folding. Similarly, there are several choices for bag material.

Cartons are usually moisture proofed by shrink-wrapping in film. The shipping case can provide a moisture barrier either by lining with a film bag or by coating with wax or varnish. In some instances, shipping cases may be shrink-wrapped.


(continued from previous column) 

Everest, with the Sherpa guide, Tensing. There is no record of their having made tea, so, we cannot blame them for the confusing methods of measurement.

Batch Vacuum Cookers

Vacuum cookers simply create an enclosed lower pressure atmosphere, to facilitate rapid cooking.

Approximate Atmospheric Boiling  Vacuum Boiling      Vacuum
Solids Temperature Temperature ins/Hg
%    F (degrees) C   F (degrees) C
96    289 143 264 129 25
97    302 150 275 135 27
98    320 160 286 141 28

In some cases, the whole cooking stage may be conducted under vacuum, but it is more customary to partially concentrate under atmospheric pressure, and then finish the process under vacuum. The simplest form of cooker is a kettle, steam or gas heated, to which a domed hood can be clamped and sealed around the rim. The hood is connected to a vacuum pump.
Hard candy, where the concentration must be 98 – 99% solids, would be boiled to 266 degrees F, then vacuumed for six minutes at 28 ins/Hg. The boiling temperature and time may vary, dependant upon the efficiency of the vacuum pump. The objective is to establish process conditions, which produce a syrup having a solids level in excess of 98%. Once the vacuum is applied to the hot syrup, boiling will continue without any further heating, and the finished concentrated syrup will have a temperature of approximately 220 degrees F.

Other batch cookers take the form of totally enclosed kettles, which may or may not have mechanical agitation. The procedure is the same as has already been described, but before applying vacuum, all filling ports and vents in the kettle are closed. When the vacuum is first applied, the syrup may boil so violently and so high, that some could be sucked out of the hood and into the vacuum pump. Most kettles are fitted with a glass observation port and lamp, so that, if the batch is seen to be rising too high, the hood can be vented to reduce the negative pressure until the violent boiling has subsided.

Continuous Vacuum Cooker

In continuous cookers, the syrup may be dissolved and partially concentrated, then further heated, before the vacuum stage. This second stage of heating may be in an enclosed coil, or by thin-film cooking. The syrup is then drawn into a vacuum chamber, where moisture immediately flashes off through the vacuum pump, and boiling continues without further heating. The dwell time in the vacuum stage can be controlled to achieve the desired concentration, and the syrup is discharged either continuously, through a vacuum lock valve, or intermittently in measured quantities.

Vacuum cooking is principally used for hard candy production. However, in caramel cooking, the cooling benefit of finishing under vacuum is frequently employed. For fondant making, the syrup may be cooled by vacuum, before beating, to cause crystallization. The procedure is used both for batch and continuous fondant making.

It would be interesting to experiment with a vacuum cooker on the top of Mt. Everest. At this point, however, I have been unable to find Sherpas who are willing to take me there.





(continued from previous column)

cooked product pipeline. Mixing is then achieved by some form of in-line mixer.

Pressure beating – Conventional batch pressure beaters may be used in some circumstances for soft caramels. But the aerated mass easily becomes too cool and viscous to be expelled by air pressure.

Again, in some cases, conventional continuous pressure beaters may be employed. These incorporate bubbles of air at a controlled pressure and flow rate into a continuous stream of product under pressure.

The mix then passes through a disk, or cylindrical configuration beating chamber that is also under pressure. The beating cylinder houses a spinning rotor with multiple pins that intermesh with fixed pins. By forcing the mix through the beater, the air bubbles are finely divided and distributed through the caramel mass.

Continuous pressure beaters are usually designed for more fluid material, a higher level of aeration, and lower temperature operation that is the case for caramel. But they can be made to aerate satisfactorily, albeit at a low production rate.

State-of-the-art – In fairly recent years continuous production lines have been designed for aeration of hard candy, eliminating the pulling stage that is common in such products as Starlite Mints. These machines continuously vacuum cook a syrup that is extracted from the cooker and pumped under pressure into an aerating tube.

The aerating tube operates on exactly the same principle as conventional continuous pressure beaters. But the tube is designed for high temperature operations and for a high rate of production. The aerated mass flows through a back pressure valve and is usually spread on a water-cooled steel conveyor, that cools it to a plastic state for forming. 
(continued from previous column)

Another key to consistent depositing is control of the caramel temperature. In some cases, batches of cooked caramel are dumped directly into the depositor hopper. At the beginning of the batch, with the temperature at about 230 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, the caramel is fluid, and flows down into the crevices below the nut pieces. Toward the end, the caramel may be cooled to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and be so viscous that it forms large tails.

Consistent depositing temperature can be achieved by partially cooling cooked caramel, and then holding the caramel in a temperature-controlled hopper. The latter factor is important. Many hoppers are controlled manually, by guess work setting of water and steam valves. The optimum depositing temperature depends upon the formulation and equipment. Usually, it falls somewhere in the range of 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but consistent control of temperature is a desirable objective.

Cooling of the caramel after depositing can also present some problems, especially to shelf life. In continuous systems, caramel is deposited onto a layer of nut pieces on a conveyer belt, which then passes through a cooling tunnel. In many cases, cooling is excessive, and caramel is cooled below the dew point of the workroom atmosphere. By its nature, caramel is hygroscopic. If cooled below the dew point, it will immediately attract a film of moisture from the air while traveling through the open area between the tunnel and the enrober.

This film of moisture can initiate graining, which eventually spreads through the whole caramel portion. The caramel should only be cooled to the ideal coating temperature (between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit), and never be left in the tunnel during production breaks.

(continued from previous column)

However, attempts to keep hard candy scrap warm by heating too long on a hot table will also cause problems. By keeping scrap material hot, and thereby fluid, plus the agitation to which it has been subjected, crystallization can be initiated. Although it may be fresh, hot scrap that has begun to grain will have the same ill effect as old grained scrap.

But it is not always practical to immediately use rework. The color and/or flavor of the following batch may not be compatible. Until it can be used, hard candy scrap can be temporarily stored in clean, well-sealed containers that prevent moisture pick-up. It can then be reheated in a microwave oven.

Another potential cause of graining is the use of color solutions that may reduce the viscosity of strongly colored batches. Also, where droplets of color solution may not be well incorporated, viscosity can be reduced with consequent crystallization. Intense colors can be achieved with insignificant moisture added through the use of paste or jellied dyes or powdered colors that disperse quickly.

Another preventive measure against graining, in addition to proper handling of scrap and colors, may be to change the proportion or type of corn syrup in the formulation. Ratios of 55:45 and 60:40 weight of dry sugar to corn syrup are common in hard candy because of good resistance to graining.

A higher level of corn syrup will provide a less crunchy and tougher texture, and the sticks will be more resistant to breaking. The use of corn syrup with a low DE, such as 36 DE, makes sticks even more resistant to breakage, and also less sweet. In the U.S., the ingredient cost will be lower for a formula with less sugar and more corn syrup.

There may be other causes of crystallization in hard candy that would require process investigation.
For more information please contact the author. END



(continued from previous column)
Moisture content
Dependent upon the type of nougat, the moisture content may range from five to 11 percent. Water in the formula is normally derived from a boiled syrup (the bulk of the batch) and from water in a frappe.

The residual moisture strongly influences the softness or hardness of nougat. The moisture in the frappe portion is usually controlled by a combination of measurement as well as controlled concentration of a syrup. Aerating agents require certain proportions of water for aeration, and the bulk of the aerated portion (frappe) is usually a syrup. The mix of these two is aerated to a controlled specific gravity.

Control of the final product moisture content can usually be achieved by variation of the boiling temperature of the bulk boiled syrup. As a rule of thumb, 2 degrees Fahrenheit is roughly equal to one percent of moisture in the syrup. So, by adjusting the boiling temperature up, or down, we can reduce or increase the final moisture content, thereby influencing the texture. Here again, incremental adjustments are recommended, followed by texture evaluation.


Nougats are aerated confections and may range in specific gravity from about 1.1 to 0.6. The ratio of air incorporated strongly influences the texture by weakening the structure. A higher ratio of air (lower S.G.) gives a texture that is easier to bite through. Aeration is another controllable aspect of nougat manufacture.

Fat is normally added as a lubricant to mastication and machining. The proportion of fat added will affect the stickiness and chewiness of the candy. It must be borne in mind that fat is a defoaming agent and will reduce aeration especially if mixing time is excessive. 
For more information please contact the author.   END


Peanut Butter Candy

Question: I make a chocolate-enrobed peanut butter candy. The piece has a nice gloss for a few weeks, but then becomes dull in appearance, although it still tastes good. What causes this, and how can I prevent it? Would using a compound coating make a difference?

Answer: Peanut oil soaks through chocolate coatings, and causes a type of fat “bloom.” Although seepage of the oil through the chocolate cannot be indefinitely prevented, steps can be taken to extend the shelf life.

Peanut oil is liquid at room temperature, and by normal molecular movement to achieve a state of equilibrium, the oil gradually permeates the chocolate. Usually, compound coatings are even more susceptible to this oil penetration than chocolate. The lower the peanut oil content of the center, the less oil will penetrate the chocolate.

Some companies grind their own peanuts to make peanut butter and press out part of the oil. (Peanuts have an oil content of about 48 percent.)

If the oil in the peanut butter paste is not bound well, and the peanut butter is mixed or handled too much, it is subject to “oiling out.” The cell walls of the ground peanuts are broken down by this fierce mixing action, allowing the oil to flow out into the paste. Passing the paste through an extruder which exerts considerable pressure can also cause “oiling out.” So, too, can forming centers by hand, if the centers are rolled around and around and excessively handled.

Stabilized peanut butters, which contain a small amount of a hard vegetable fat, are not as likely to oil out.

The cooling or “tempering” of peanut butter immediately after its manufacture will reduce its tendency to release oil.

There is a range of absorbent ingredients that can be added to peanut butter paste formulations. These ingredients help soak up free oil, and include modified whey powders, soy proteins, powdered sugar, starches, cereal flours, and defatted peanut flour. Some of them can make a mealy texture; others do not adversely affect the flavor or texture.

For more information please contact the author. END


Reg Groves has garnered many honors throughout his distinguished career including induction into the Candy Hall of Fame, Class of 2010. His complete biography is posted at Link.



Confectionery Classics

Controlling moisture in confectionery
by Reg Groves
Many readers seem to be unsure of the relationship between water content, equilibrium relative humidity (e.r.h.) and water activity (Aw).

In most types of candy we must be concerned about controlling the final water content. This strongly influences the final texture and, of course, the ingredient cost. In some cases, failure to control the final moisture content may result in products that spoil by fermentation, by becoming moldy, or even by toxic bacterial development.

Water in the finished product is present in two forms, bound water and free water. The extent to which spoilage may occur is strongly influenced by the proportion of free water. By bound water, we mean water that is so strongly bound chemically to certain ingredients that it is not available to microorganisms and will not readily evaporate from the product.

So, for every product there is an optimum final water content, but it can be quite important to know to what extent the water is free.

The equilibrium relative humidity (e.r.h.) is that level of atmospheric moisture at which the product will neither gain nor lose moisture. The e.r.h. for hard candies is about 20 percent, which is a rare condition in most areas. So, it is virtually impossible to design formulations that will not tend to pick up moisture. Instead, we have to pack them in moisture-proof materials.

At the other end of the scale, fudge, marshmallow, jellies and grained products tend to dry out if the r.h. is below 70 percent. They have a relatively high e.r.h. We can influence their shelf-life to some extent by adjusting the formula.

But since we cannot totally control the temperature through the distribution chain, it is not possible to formulate completely stable products of this type. The e.r.h. will vary with temperature.

Some ingredients have strong humectant characteristics. They do not readily lost moisture to the atmosphere because their moisture is strongly bound. Such materials are corn syrup, invert sugar, sorbitol and glycerine.

If we increase the proportion of these ingredients, we bring the finished products closer to a state of e.r.h. with their storage environment.

However, there is a limiting factor. These are syrupy ingredients, which in excess will make candies more soft and sticky. In such cases, we may have to design packaging that will allow the dissipation of evaporated moisture from within the package.

(continued on next column)

Alternatives to pulling
- Methods for aeration ‘pull’ their own weight

By Reg Groves

The following article is re-published from correspondence by Reg Groves, President, Groves & Company, that was originally printed in Candy Industry magazine as the “Confectionery Workshop” column. Permission from Groves & Company, and Candy Industry, has been granted to Pat Magee, P Magee Enterprises.

Pulling is a processing stage that may be applied to a variety of candies. The principal effect of pulling is to incorporate air and to stretch the enfolded air into long fine cells. This improves the texture and increases the volume.

Also, the color is lightened because light reflects from the many air cells. Dependent upon the ratio of sucrose to corn syrup, crystallization may also be induced by pulling, further modifying the texture.

In grained mints approximately 80 percent of the final composition is fine sugar crystals induced by pulling. In some cases, pulling machines perform double duty as mixers when flavor is dribbled onto a batch as it is pulled.

Pulling machines are somewhat laborious to use being normally loaded and unloaded by hand. They are also potentially dangerous, and there have been some serious accidents to operators.

In Europe, safety regulations require that a pulling machine be enclosed in a cage. The cage door must be locked before the motor can be run, making it difficult to operate as a fresh load of candy does not readily stay on the pulling hooks.

The Ruffinatti Co. has designed a pulling machine that operates in a horizontal plane and pulls the mass on a table, which is completely guarded. This model is much easier to load and safer to operate than the conventional open vertical plane machines.

The Bosch Corp. has developed a continuous pulling machine. It operates in a vertical plane like several conventional machines arranged in series. The candy mass is fed continuously and is automatically transferred over several pulling hooks before being discharged.

Possible alternatives to pulling employ different principles. Otto Haensel and Bosch Corp. have each designed continuous hard candy cooking systems having an aeration stage. While the candy is still hot and fluid, air is injected under pressure into an enclosed mixing chamber.

The mixing rotor divides the air bubbles into very small cells, and the resultant product, after some cooling, is indistinguishable from pulled hard candy. Aeration of caramels or fruit chews can 
(continued on next column) 

Some causes of problems with ball lollipops
- Steps for stick-proof hard candy batches

By Reg Groves
Many small companies make gourmet ball lollipops. The most frequent problems are that they become sticky quickly and melt in the summer.

Typical raw formulations are:
• Sugar – 55 to 60 parts;
• Regular 42/43 corn syrup – 45 to 40 parts;
• Water – 14 to 15 parts;
• Colors and flavors, including acid.

Hard candy is a highly supersaturated solution of approximately 99 percent sugars in one percent of water. The sugar (sucrose) is in an amorphous state, like glass, and the candy is of such a high viscosity that it feels and behaves like a solid.

In this state, it is hygroscopic and readily attracts moisture from the air, becoming sticky. If the moisture or the corn syrup content is too high, it may deform or melt in summer temperatures. Some manufacturers use high maltose corn syrup and find it to be more resistant to the ill effects of stickiness and melting.

When cooled to normal room temperature, lollipops pick up moisture from the air at any relative humidity above about 20 percent.
An important step is to separate the cooking, which generates steam, from the cooling and packing rooms. Many companies will air condition the workrooms. This helps the cooling stage, but may raise the humidity, dependent upon outside air conditions.

We tend to think of air conditioning as drying the air. But we have all seen a fog blowing from the air conditioning vents of our cars on hot, humid days. The fog is droplets of moisture in saturated air, and the same effect may result in a factory.

The air conditioner temperature should be set to produce the lowest possible relative humidity. A better course is to install dehumidification equipment to keep the relative humidity down to about 40 percent.

Hard candy lollipop batches are usually boiled to 310 degrees F at sea level. During boiling, a small percentage of sugar (sucrose) breaks down, or inverts to invert sugar, which is extremely hygroscopic.

Inversion is minimized by keeping the boiling time as short as possible. Ball lollipops are usually made in small batches of eight to 10 pounds and boiled over a gas or electric ring.

The target boiling time is 10 to 15 minutes, and certainly no longer than 20 minutes. Extended boiling times increase the inversion, which aggravates problems of stickiness and melting. If batches are kept hot too long, or reheated, then more inversion occurs.

(continued on next column)

"Cutting the grain"

By Reg Groves

Occasionally I am asked about using cream of tartar or acetic acid to “cut the grain.”

Meaning control of crystallization, this candymaking term originated many years ago. In 1865, in Philadelphia, A Treatise on the Art of Boiling Sugar was published by Henry Weatherley. (Photo courtesy of

In this work a reference is made to the use of “vinegar, lemon juice, tartaric acid, sulfuric acid, pyroligneous acid, cream of tarter, etc., for cutting the grain, lowering, reducing or greasing sugar.”

Both cream of tarter (potassium hydrogen tartrate) and acetic acid are weak acids that have been in use for many years to cause inversion of sucrose (sugar) in boiled batches of candy.

These acids have been used principally in hard candies in making fondant or cream centers and in grained mints.

Hard candy and boiled fondant syrup are highly supersaturated solutions of sugars.

In most modern formulations we use corn syrups, and perhaps invert sugar, to prevent or control the recrystallization of sucrose in these types of candy.

Prior to the development of corn syrups and standardized invert sugar, cream of tartar and acetic acid were widely used to cause “inversion” of sucrose during cooking.

The resultant content of invert sugar prevented or controlled recrystallization.

What actually happens is that molecules of white sugar (sucrose) are broken down by the action of heat and acid into mono-saccharides.

Sucrose, a di-saccharide, breaks down into dextrose and fructose, which in combination are “invert sugar.”

The molecular shapes of the dextrose and fructose interfere with the formation of crystals from molecules of sucrose, and re-crystallization is prevented or controlled.

This all sounds to be very simple and controllable.

In fact, the conditions required for successful production when using acids are far more critical than when weighed quantities of corn syrup or invert sugar are used in a formulation.

The proportion of inversion caused is directly related to these four factors:

1. The quantity and strength of the acid.
2. The temperature gradient of cooking.
3. The time of cooking (boiling).
4. The rate of cooling.

These conditions must be very precisely controlled to ensure consistent production of inversion in finished product. Very often, especially in batch production, it is quite difficult to precisely control these conditions.

(continued on next column) 

Formulating cut lozenges

By Reg Groves
A recent reader’s question concerned the manufacture of cut lozenges. The term “lozenge” is somewhat confusing because it does not refer to a specific type of candy. Products may be labeled “lozenges” that are made by the cut process, by compression or of hard candy or hard jelly gums.
The most common connotation of this name is that lozenges usually have a round shape and some benefit other than just taste – breath freshening, relief of a sore throat or clearing of the sinuses.

Cut lozenges are made from a dough that is basically powdered sugar mixed with an adhesive syrup, colored and flavored.

A typical formulation would be:

Powdered sugar (10X) 200 lbs.
Gum arabic (acacia) 8 lbs.
Water 9 lbs.
Gum tragacanth 8 oz.
Water 3 lbs.
Gelatin (150 bloom) 12 oz.
Hot water 3 lbs.
Corn syrup (regular 42/43) 17 lbs.
Corn starch 8 lbs.
Color and flavor as desired

The gum arabic solution is prepared in advance and is used at room temperature. If gum arabic is the only adhesive used, the lozenges will be rather hard and brittle.

The gum tragacanth requires several hours of soaking to absorb its portion of water. This adhesive is tenacious and provides better strength than gum arabic alone.

Gelatin is stirred into its portion of hot water, just prior to use, to aid adhesion and provide flexibility.

The corn syrup is preferably warmed to aid dispersion. It contributes to adhesion, but also retains some moisture so that the lozenges are not hard and brittle.

Depending on the fineness of the sugar, more or less of the gum arabic solution may be needed.

Very fine sugar will have a larger surface area of particles to be wetted, and this will require more fluid. Conversely, a more coarse grade of sugar will need less adhesion solution.

The required texture is a soft, plastic paste that can be rolled into a thin sheet.

The double sigma-blade dough mixer is generally used. Normally, this need not be jacketed as mixing is at room temperature. Other efficient, heavy-duty mixers may be used.

(continued on next column) 

Perfecting Jelly Bean Coatings
by Reg Groves
A question from a reader concerned the coating of jelly beans. The coating was too hard and brittle, giving a crumbly sensation in the mouth rather than the desirable soft, chewy texture.

There are a few causes of this problem, but first, let us review the basics of coating jelly beans.

Centers are usually starch jellies (or a combination of starch and pectin) moulded in starch and dried to 85 percent solids. A typical coating syrup formulation is:

• White granulated sugar – 50 pounds;
• Regular grade corn syrup (42 DE) – 50 pounds; and
• Water – 17 pounds.
This syrup is concentrated to 78 percent solids, colored, flavored and adjusted to 75 percent solids. Variations in the syrup moisture content will produce variations in the coating texture. The syrup is cooled before use.

The centers are coated by tumbling in revolving pans and applying alternate coats of the syrup and fine crystalline sugar. The final application is normally 10x powdered sugar to produce a smooth surface. Usual component proportions are:

• Centers – 250 pounds;
• Coating syrup – 50 pounds;
• Coating sugar (crystalline) – 250 pounds;
• Coating sugar (10x) – 250 pounds.
This is a room temperature process taking about 90 minutes, which is followed by a drying period. The final smoothing stage involves light coats of sugar syrup to seal and smooth surfaces, then wax polishing.

If the corn syrup content of the coating syrup is too low, hardness may result. The corn syrup acts as a soft adhesive to retain the layers of crystalline sugar.

It also prevents the crystallization of sucrose from the syrup. The correct proportion of corn syrup offers the proper adhesion and a somewhat plastic coating texture.

If sucrose is allowed to crystallize out of the coating syrup, it will raise the proportion of sugar in the coating and form a crystalline structure. Both effects cause a harder jacket on the jelly beans.

(continued next column)

Preventing a ‘weak set’ in pectin jellies

Question: Our pectin jellies, cast into starch, occasionally have a weak set. At other times, the pectin is lumpy. Can you advise a method to prevent these problems?

Answer: Precise adherence to the procedure is critical for making good quality pectin jellies, with a consistent, soft and tender texture. Pectin must be thoroughly dissolved to obtain a strong gel, but it does not go into solution easily.

The following formula and procedure is typical for pectin jellies:

Sugar 50 pounds
Corn Syrup 50 pounds
Water 56 pounds
Citrus Pectin, powdered,
150 grade, slow set 1 lb. / 9 oz.
Water 9 ounces
Citric Acid 9 ounces
Sodium Citrate 4.5 ounces
Color as desired
Flavor as desired


1. Mix 10 pounds of the dry sugar with all of the pectin powder.
2. Dissolve the citric acid in an equal amount of water.
3. In a steam-jacketed kettle, heat the 56 pounds of water to 200 degrees F – 205 degrees F.
4. Add the sodium citrate to the simmering water and stir to dissolve. As a buffer salt, sodium citrate prolongs the setting time of the jelly, be delaying the setting action of the citric acid on the pectin.
5. Add one half of the citric acid solution to the water.
6. Slowly add the dry mix of pectin and sugar, thoroughly mixing all the while. Water temperature should be kept constant.
7. After thorough dispersion of the pectin and sugar mix, gently boil for two minutes to dissolve the pectin.
8. Turn on the steam. Gradually add the sugar. Continue stirring while ensuring the batch continues to boil.
9. Gradually add the corn syrup while stirring, again ensuring the batch continues to boil.
If the sugar or corn syrup are added too quickly, the batch 
(continued on next column) 

Utilization of jelly rework

by Reg Groves

An overseas manufacturer of starch moulded goods had an accumulation of clean rework, consisting primarily of pectin and starch jellies as well as cream centers. The company needed a way to utilize this resource, but did not have a system for recovering the syrup.

Highly flavored and strongly colored gum drops can be made from a syrup of rework solution and gelatin. After depositing and drying in starch moulds, the gum drops are finished in the normal manner by polishing with oil or by sugar sanding. Companies can use this fairly simple method for recovering starch moulded rework, as long as this material does not contain caramel, fudge or other milk based candies.

Following is a typical formulation for recovering jelly and cream scrap:

Ingredient Percentage by Weight
Scrap mix 60%
Corn syrup, 42 DE 15%
Water 11%
Gelatin, powdered,
   150 bloom 7%
Water (for gelatin) 7%
Color (black, red,
   purple, brown, green)
Flavor (cinnamon, peppermint,
   licorice, clove, wintergreen, etc.)

(continued on next column)


The clarity of gummi jellies

- Eliminating air bubbles is key

by Reg Groves
Readers have asked how to improve the clarity of gummi products, and what causes an opaque surface on the jellies while drying in starch. The answer to both is to eliminate air bubbles.

Gelatin is the principal gelling agent used in gummi type jellies at a level of about seven percent of the total formulation.

Gelatin is an excellent gel forming ingredient for this purpose, but it is also a very good aerating agent.

If we are not careful in the processing of gummi jellies, air bubbles can be incorporated, and these are difficult to remove.

The European type gummi jelly has enjoyed enormous popularity in the United States in recent years.

The traditional process is to hydrate the gelatin then prepare a boiled syrup of sugar, corn syrup and water.

The hydrated gelatin is gently stirred into the syrup with color and flavor, and inevitably some air is incorporated during this mixing.

The next step is to allow the batch to remain in the kettle for about half an hour to clarify and then skim off the scum of bubbles from the surface before depositing into starch.

With care, this method produces reasonably clear jellies.
“Scummy backs” occur when an excessive number of bubbles remain in the jelly.

While drying in starch, typically two to three days, the bubbles rise to the surface of each piece and form an opaque layer.

 Photo courtesy of Baker Perkins 
(continued on next column) 

Candymaking in the microwave
by Reg Groves
Although I have been involved in a few projects aimed at utilizing microwaves for heating or cooking, to the best of my knowledge, this method of heating is not widely used in processing candy.

However, for small manufacturers and laboratories, microwave ovens can have useful applications. The oven need not be an industrial model. A large domestic oven will suit many purposes. If the oven has a rotating plate and a temperature probe, so much the better.

Heating with domestic microwave ovens is not usually very even. The energy tends to concentrate in the more moist or fluid areas of a container or material. Heating on a rotating base helps to reduce uneven heating, but for most purposes, frequent stirring is required.

The great convenience of microwave heating is that material can be weighed into, heated and used from the same container.

Many large domestic ovens will accommodate a medium-size plastic pail, so that a 30- to 40-pound batch of material can be conveniently heated. But be sure to remove the metal handle from the pail. Also, be careful in the choice of plastic containers. Some may distort or collapse.

Now for some specific applications. Blocks of fondant can be readily softened for cutting in a microwave oven.

The regular heating mode may result in uneven heating, unless the blocks are turned frequently.

In the defrost mode, the warming will be far more even. The fondant can be left in its plastic bag and warmed until it is soft enough for easy cutting.

Melting of butter or recipe quantities of vegetable fats is very easy using the microwave oven. It is also possible to melt chocolate, but care is needed to prevent pockets of overheating.

If full energy is being used, then shots of a few seconds at a time should be employed, with frequent thorough mixing.

(Continued on next column)

Stopping oil seepage during storage
By Reg Grove

Several questions have been addressed to me regarding the problem of nut oils seeping through chocolate coatings and causing bloom. This can occur quite rapidly in storage on products that contain a high proportion of pastes, such as peanut butter, or of nuts.

Several studies have been undertaken in the attempt to find a cure for this problem, but to the best of my knowledge, there is no known, 100-percent cure. However, there are several steps that can be taken to delay the progress of this type of bloom.

It is preferable to use stabilized peanut butter, rather than unstabilized. The fat system in stabilized butter is more viscous, and so it will seep through the chocolate at a slower rate. I have found a particular brand of spray-dried whey powder to be very effective in absorbing free oil and delaying bloom.

This is used at a level of one to five percent of the center formula, and is quite compatible in flavor and texture with peanut butter center formulations. Alternatively, the addition of partially defatted peanut flour will help absorb peanut oil.

Oil roasting of nuts will aggravate the bloom problem, so it is better to use dry-roasted nuts, or raw nuts such as pecans. There are various nut-coating materials available that, when dry, form a skin around the nuts or nut pieces.

The skin will delay the passage of oil into the chocolate. One problem with this approach is that it is difficult to ensure a complete seal, unless a coating of absorbent powder, such as starch, wheat flour, cocoa powder or spray-dried whey is applied to the wet surfaces.

(continued on next column) 


Centers for one-shot moulded chocolates

by Reg Groves 
Prior to the mid-1970s, shell moulding machines were large and expensive pieces of equipment – out of reach for small companies. With the advent of compact moulding lines, especially “one-shot” depositing, smaller companies can afford this equipment.

The original method of making filled, moulded chocolates required a production line with three depositing stations.

These depositors deposit chocolate for the shell, the filling and then chocolate for the “back” of the moulded pieces.

One-shot moulding lines require only one depositor. This normally has a divided hopper, one side for chocolate, the other for filling. With only one depositor, the line is less expensive to build and occupies less floor space.

In a one-shot depositor, chocolate and fluid filling are pumped through channels to concentric depositing nozzles. Filling flows through the central nozzle and chocolate through the annular nozzle.

Depositor pumps are timed to form a fluid bag of chocolate around the fluid filling. This bag of chocolate drops into the mould, which passes through a cooling tunnel.

Viscosity and flow characteristics of the filling must be very similar to those of tempered chocolate.

If the filling is too viscous, or too fluid, it may leak through the bag of chocolate. If the filling is too cool, the filled bag of chocolate may not flow properly into the mould. If too warm, the filling may detemper the chocolate.

So the fillings must flow satisfactorily at 86 to 92 degrees F. Even when the filling is of the correct viscosity the shell of chocolate is not as consistent as with shell-moulding, and it is not usually possible to achieve as high a percentage of filling. The need for fluidity, at about 90 degrees F, limits the range of textures that can be produced.

Filling textures in one-shot chocolates are generally soft. Creams, fudge . . . 

(continued on next column)


Cast cream wafers by the ‘bob’ method

by Reg Groves 
Unless they are chocolate coated, cream wafers have a shelf life of only a few days, so they are generally made by small retail stores or companies that have their own chain of stores.

Cream wafers are simply thin discs of fondant cream that have been deposited while hot and fluid onto waxed paper or rubber plaques.

When colored green and flavored with peppermint, they are frequently known as “thin mints.”

Uncoated fondant will, by its nature, tend to lose moisture to the atmosphere, and it is for this reason that cream wafers have a short shelf life. Formula modification and storage conditions can delay the loss of moisture, but this confection must be consumed within a few days of manufacturing.

Loss of moisture causes the wafers to harden, but also results in the formation of unsightly white patches of “grain,” which are areas of coarse sugar crystallization.

Cream wafers are usually made by mixing a “bob” syrup with conventional fondant. A bob syrup is composed of sugar, water, corn syrup and/or invert sugar.

The origin of the term “bob” is somewhat obscure and may perhaps be traced to the use of a hydrometer (or “bob”) to measure the density and thus, the concentration of the syrup. It is one of the many quaint terms that are part of the candymaker’s vocabulary.

But, getting back to cream wafers, the composition of the “bob” syrup will strongly influence the texture, appearance and shelf life of the wafers.

A high sugar content will produce a pleasant short texture, but drying out and graining will occur more rapidly.

A high corn syrup content will give a more chewy texture and a less rigid wafer and will extend shelf life.

But too much corn syrup may cause the wafers to stick to the plaques.

Invert sugar is an excellent humectant, that is, it helps to retain moisture but does not produce a chewy texture. However, too much can make the wafers stick to the plaques.

Fluidity is important at the depositing stage, so the use of 65 DE corn syrup or even high fructose corn syrup will increase the fluidity.

Both are good humectants, but excess can make the wafers sticky.

(continued on next column)

Reworking hard candy scrap

by Reg Groves 

A manufacturer of striped hard candy sticks asked why the stripes often grain (crystallize), while the pulled portion does not.

He commented that the core into which scrap is incorporated sometimes grains too. The problem appeared to be the manner in which the scrap is reworked.

Scrap is often hidden in the core of hard candies, or worked into the stronger colors in the stripes. It is probable that the scrap is becoming grained before it is reworked.

If so, then the core and colored portions become seeded with sugar crystals and will eventually also grain.

Hard candy scraps can be used back into succeeding batches quite safely, provided that it has had no opportunity to absorb moisture from the air and then start to grain.

Preferably, the fresh scrap should be kept warm and then used in the next batch. A commercial microwave oven is very useful for reheating scrap to a suitable plasticity.

However, this is not always practical if the color and flavor are incompatible with those of the next batch.

A good alternative is to temporarily store the scrap in clean closed containers until it can be used in a later batch. If the scrap is kept hot for too long, it may grain and will have the same ill effect as old grained scrap.

Hard candy scrap will readily absorb moisture from the air once it has cooled, unless the relative humidity (R.H.) is below about 20 percent. Of course, the R.H. is rarely so low, and in most hard candy manufacturing areas, the R.H. is very high.

Hard candy is a highly supersaturated syrup from which sugar crystals will readily crystallize, called graining, when conditions are created that allow it to do so.

(continued on next column)

Prevent weepy caramel apples

by Reg Groves 

Question: Can you provide a formula to prevent my caramel apple coating from weeping?

Answer: A suitable caramel coating can be made from the following formula:
Sugar 32 pounds
Corn Syrup, 42 DE 32 pounds
Sweetened Condensed
Whole Milk 20 pounds
Vegetable Oil,
92 Degrees 6 pounds
Lecithin 0.5 ounces
Vanilla Flavor 0.25 ounces

(continued on next column)

Consistency in caramels 

by Reg Groves 

Question: We are having difficulty maintaining piece weights, and consistent proportions of nuts, caramel, and chocolate, on our “turtle” type clusters. The amount of peanuts or pecans used is often excessive. We need better weight and size control, but could use some suggestions. The caramel is made in batches, and is pumped into a depositor. The nuts are fed across a belt, and the caramel is deposited onto the bed of nuts.

Answer: In this type of candy, it is common to find a higher proportion of pecans, or other nuts, than what is set in the standard. The piece weights are difficult to control, due to both the irregular shape, and to using three separate components: nuts, caramel, and chocolate. The percentage of nut pick-up is not easy to control.

Adjustment of underweight pieces is often achieved by varying the amount of chocolate. Excessive proportions of nuts or chocolate drive the ingredient cost above the standard, since these are the most expensive ingredients.

The caramel is generally the least expensive.

For better control, first the bed of nuts or nut pieces should be evenly compacted across the belt. A set of two or three independently driven rollers, about six inches in diameter, can be mounted above the belt to gently compact the nuts.

This produces a more even bed of nuts which will present less total surface area to the caramel deposit, so that the caramel lays on the top surface, rather than flowing into the crevices.

Next, the diameter of the caramel deposit can be controlled through its viscosity. Hot caramel continues to flow after depositing, often resulting in pieces of too large a diameter, with excessive nut pick-up. Viscosity and flow are largely influenced by temperature. Care must be taken that the final cooking temperature is constant from batch to batch.

(continued on next column) 

Chocolate production simplified

by Reg Groves
Question: We make chocolate and have a conventional set of equipment: sugar mill, paste mixer, refiners and conches. All are in good condition, and should produce chocolate of a fine particle size. The production rate through the refiners does not exceed the rated capacity, but frequently the chocolate is coarse. Can you please advise us?

Answer: Due to changes in personnel, some unconventional practices had gradually been adopted, of which management was unaware.

The conches required four batches of mixed and refined paste for a fill. Recipes were issued for a conche-size batch. It was left to the mixer-operator to decide upon the quantities of ingredients for each one-fourth of a full conche batch. As far as the operator was concerned, all ingredients became mixed in the conche, so he organized the mixer batches to be as simple as possible. Recipe quantities of ingredients were seldom equally divisible by four, so he would make three identical mixes, and then adjust for the correct total in the final mix. For example, when the full conche batch called for 1,020 lbs. of cocoa butter, the first three mixes would have 250 lbs. added, and the final mix would contain 270 lbs. Other ingredients were treated similarly, and all of the lecithin was added to the fourth mix.

(continued on next column) 

Chocolate: Hand-dipping requires skill

by Reg Groves 

Question: I am experiencing difficulty achieving gloss on hand-dipped creams, caramels and nut clusters. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: Hand-tempering and hand-dipping of chocolate require a good deal of experience and “feel.” Most hand dippers work solely by feel. When developing the skill, it is advisable to use a thermometer.

The chocolate must first be warmed to the point where the cocoa butter is completely melted. This is done by moderate heating in a water-jacketed vessel – never over a gas flame! Judicious heating in a microwave oven is possible, provided that the periods of heating are brief, and the chocolate is frequently stirred. Do not heat above 120 degrees F, or the chocolate may develop a thick, granular texture.

Next, pour a pool of melted chocolate onto a marble slab, or a steel table at room temperature. Using one hand, continually mix the chocolate and occasionally scrape it from the table using a scraper in the other hand. The chocolate will become thick and cool. The correct temperature should be about 84 degrees F.

Having created a “seed-bed” of fat crystals in the chocolate, it must then be warmed to 86-87 degrees F. This is achieved by adding a small quantity of melted chocolate at about 100 degrees F and mixing thoroughly. The entire “tempering” process should then be dribbled onto a piece of metal or paper and placed in a cool area. After a few minutes, the chocolate should set hard with a good gloss. If not, stir the tempered mass for a few more minutes and try another sample. This will give time for the “temper” to advance. If the chocolate sample fails to set, it is not in temper and the tempering process should be repeated.


(continued on next column)

Process control of marshmallows

by Reg Groves 

A good marshmallow is a stable foam of small air bubbles, each bubble surrounded by a film of syrup. Composition, moisture content and type of aerating agent will affect the final texture. These can be controlled fairly easily.

But there are factors that are not easily controlled and are often neglected, resulting in substandard product. These factors include specific gravity and bubble size.

Specific gravity
Specific gravity compares the weight of the marshmallow to the weight of an equal volume of water. The more air that is beat in, the lighter the marshmallow will become. In many cases, the amount of air beaten in is judged by how high the batch rises in the beater bowl, or by beating for a prescribed time, or testing for peak between thumb and forefinger. These are not reliable tests.

It is simple to measure how much air is beaten in by weighing a sample of known volume. We know that one U.S. gallon (volume) of water is eight pounds 5.4 ounces (weight), and that the specific gravity of water is 1.0.

For more test purposes a gallon is too big a sample to take. A pint would be a reasonable sample, and a pint of water weights 16.7 ounces. Let us assume that a one-pint cup weighs eight ounces. This cup filled with water would weight 24.7 ounces.

By weighing a filled cup of marshmallow, we determine how the weight of marshmallow compares to the weight of water, then determine specific gravity by the following scale:

>18.0 ounces – 0.6 specific gravity;
>16.4 ounces – 0.5 specific gravity;
>14.7 ounces – 0.4 specific gravity; and
>13.0 ounces – 0.3 specific gravity.

The test procedure is to beat the batch to a level of aeration less than desired, then weigh a filled cup. Continue beating and weighing samples until the weight is down to the desired specific gravity.

Specific gravity for marshmallow is about 0.5 depending on the desired texture and viscosity.

Bubble size
The objective is to create a foam of very small bubbles with as even a size distribution as possible. This can be determined using a laboratory microscope.

(continued on next column)

Making Marzipan

1. How to produce imitation marzipan

By Reg Groves
PROBLEM: We would like to produce imitation marzipan fruits. Please provide a formulation and procedure.  

SOLUTION: Marzipan is made from blanched almonds, ground together with sugar and corn syrup, or invert sugar, to make a cohesive paste. A three-roll granite mill is traditionally used for grinding.

A typical formula follows:

Sweet blanched almonds 40 pounds
Bitter blanched almonds    5 pounds
Powdered sugar 50 pounds
Corn syrup or invert sugar   5 pounds

The proportion of corn syrup or invert sugar may be varied to obtain the desired cohesion and plasticity.

Almonds are blanched by brief immersion in hot water, and then the skins are removed in a blanching machine. The machine has two rollers, or belts, which run at different speeds, and rub off the skins as the almonds pass between them. The skins are then removed by a strong air draft.

While still wet from the blancher, the almonds, sugar and corn syrup (or invert sugar) are mixed together. This mixture is passed one or more times through a three-roll mill, until a cohesive soft paste is produced. Alternatively, a melangeur may be used.

There are many different formulations for marzipan paste. In some cases, ground almonds are mixed with a boiled syrup, in a kettle designed solely for marzipan. The kettle rotates against fixed paddles.

The fruit shapes are usually formed by hand, using hinged moulds. But there are machines, made in Europe, which are designed to press marzipan into shaped impressions in a Teflon roller.

The formed pieces are then delivered onto a conveyor belt.

The coloring of the marzipan’s surfaces, in order to imitate fruit skin colors and “blushes,” is applied with two techniques – spraying or airbrush. In some cases, the navel [i.e. of an orange] or other natural marks are applied by hand, using a fine brush.

Marzipan fruits and other marzipan novelties are traditional European candies – expensive to produce, but commanding a high price and having a high quality image. END

2. Marzipan and nut pastes made easy

By Reg Groves
Almond marzipan is more popular in Europe than in the U.S., where the most common form seen is marzipan fruits. These are shaped and colored to look like natural fruits. In Europe, far more varieties can be found – marzipan bars, centers, sandwiches, fruits and seasonal novelty items.

Almond marzipan is a paste composed of ground almonds mixed with a binder syrup. Quality and cost are influenced by the ratio of almonds to syrup.

The almonds may be partly sweet and partly bitter, and cost can be reduced by replacing part of the almond content with apricot kernels.

A typical, good quality formulation might be:
Almonds, ground to a paste 100 0
Sugar   45  0
Corn syrup   45  0
Water      12  0
Sorbitol, 70% solution   10  0
Almond flavor (oil of almond) 1

The syrup components are mixed and boiled to 244 degrees F. Then, in a mixing kettle, the almond paste is blended into the syrup and the flavor added, plus color if desired. 

(Continued on next column)

Making smooth chocolate-coated marshmallows

by Reg Groves

QUESTION: In making chocolate-coated marshmallows, we sometimes find that the coating splits, more so than on our other enrobed products.

ANSWER: Usually, splitting and leaking in enrobed marshmallows are due to the different rates of expansion of the center and the coating.

For the same rise in temperature, marshmallow expands more than chocolate.

If storage temperatures vary, the pressure from the expanding center may split the coating.

This could occur at its thinnest and weakest point, such as an air bubble or a thin bottom.

If the marshmallow centers are too cool and contracted at the enrobing stage, splitting of the coating is more likely to occur.

For chocolate coating, the temperature of the marshmallow centers should be 75 to 80 degrees F. END

(photo of Malley's Chocolates on next column from P Magee Enterprises)


Freezing Fudge

by Reg Groves 

QUESTION: Fudge should freeze satisfactorily, but occasionally our fudge is too soft following thawing. Can you advise?

ANSWER: Fudge must be completely cooled and crystallized at room temperature before freezing.

The graining process can take several hours to complete.

The final “set” results from the structure of fairly large sugar crystals which form as the final graining occurs.

Also, as the sugar crystallizes, additional heat is released in the form of latent heat of crystallization, and some moisture is released.

(continued on next column)

Extrusion of Fudge

by Reg Groves

Fudge normally has a texture that is fairly easy to extrude and cut. But the degree of crystallization must be consistent to prevent varying textures that cause problems in processing and in eating quality.

The formulations for fudge and for caramel are very similar, but the final states differ. Caramel is a single-phase system, a highly supersaturated and viscous solution. Fudge, however, is a two-phase system, with very fine sugar crystals as one phase and a solution of the remaining sugar and other ingredients, emulsified with the fat, as the second phase.

The crystalline or dry phase of fudge is normally induced by adding fondant to a formula that has been boiled and partially cooled. The process of crystallization is initially rapid, but may take several days before reaching completion in the finished product.

At this time, all of the previously supersaturated sugar will have transformed into fine crystals. The liquid phase will be an emulsified saturated syrup with some fat crystallization.

For uniform extrusion the degree of crystallization must be consistent. Boiling temperature and amount of boiling time are critical, and factors such as steam pressure and measurement of ingredients affect the process.

Crystallization is also influenced by the consistency of the fondant and temperature at which it is added, maturation of the fudge before extruding, and the storage conditions.
(continued on next column) 


by Reg Groves

A client recently had a problem with varying texture in tray fudge. Product normally had a fine smooth texture, but occasionally batches would be made which had a coarse sandy mouth feel.

In this case, the fudge was made by boiling the main portion in a steam jacketed kettle, then pumping into another kettle for mixing in fondant and flavor. Batches were then pumped to a depositor, for filling into trays. The production operatives did not really understand the nature of fudge, so it was difficult for them to determine the cause of the occasional coarse-textured batches.

Fudge is a two-phase system, in which the dry phase is very fine crystals of sugar. This phase is produced by “seeding” the boiled portion of the batches with fondant, and by controlled temperature, with efficient mixing. The wet phase is a solution of sugar, corn syrup, milk solids and other soluble ingredients, emulsified with vegetable oil.

The final texture of the fudge is dependent upon several factors:
1. The proportions of sugar to corn syrup.
2. The proportion and type of milk.
3. The proportion of vegetable oil.
4. Whether a good emulsion has been achieved.
5. The proportion of fondant used to initiate crystallization.
6. The temperature at which the fondant is added, and subsequent temperature through the tray-filling stage.

An investigation of the production process revealed that factors 1 through 5 were well controlled. When production had originally started, the boiled batches would cool to about 200 degrees F, simply by heat loss, as they were transferred to the mixing kettle. So the fondant would be added usually at a temperature between 200 degrees F and 205 degrees F. This is a little high, but was necessary to maintain fluidity for pumping to the depositor.

By normal heat loss in pumping to the depositor, and the dwell time in the depositor hopper, the fudge would cool to about 160 degrees F at the point of being filled into trays. This cooling, plus the mixing effects of the transfer pump and the agitator in the depositor hopper, consistently produced a fine smooth texture.
(continued on next column) 

Hints for fool-proof goat's milk fudge 

by Reg Groves  
In reviewing the questions submitted to this column in the past, I find that there are more that concern fudge than any other type of candy.

Looking back over years of projects for U.S. companies, it struck me that my very first project concerned starch-cast fudge, and current projects with two major clients are related to the production of fudge.

Perhaps this is because fudge is an especially American type of candy, and is made by so many confectioners.

The most recent inquiry was a lengthy letter from a small manufacturer of goat’s milk fudge. There is nothing especially different about goat’s milk fudge compared to that made with cow’s milk so the answers to his problems relate to making of fudge in general.

A few years ago I had a request to make fudge from water buffalo milk. Now that might have been different, but we could not find any water buffalo who would stand still long enough to be milked!

The manufacturer of goat’s milk fudge produces good product, but observes various inconsistencies from time to time. These may be listed as follows:

• A change in taste after two months.
• Change in texture after a few weeks.
• Sporadic occurrence of mold after about three months.
• The fudge turning to white at the edges of the pans into which it is poured.

The formulation contains sugar, goat milk, Karo syrup and salt, boiled to 240 degrees F.

After boiling, margarine, peanut butter or chocolate liquor is mixed in.

Further mixing initiates crystallization, and the fudge is poured into moulds.

After setting, the fudge is held in a conditioned room for widely varying lengths of time before packing.

The change in taste during storage is probably due to gradual rancidification of the goat milk fat. Raw milk contains a lot of water, requiring a fairly long boiling time to drive off the excess water.

The long cooking time probably initiates rancidity.

It would probably be helpful to add lecithin to extend the shelf life of the milk fat.

The change in texture may be due to drying out. The formula had a very low proportion of Karo syrup, which is the only significant humectant present. Humectants, such as Karo syrup, corn syrup, invert sugar and sorbitol, help to retain moisture in the fudge.

Mold probably occurs because the solids in the syrup phase of the fudge are too low. This is caused by having too little Karo syrup in the formula. Fudge is a two-phase system, a dry phase and a wet phase.

The wet phase is the residual moisture into which are dissolved the humectant ingredients, plus sugar, to the point of saturation. If the level of humectant is raised, then the dissolved solids in the wet phase will be increased.

If wet phase solids are below about 74 percent, then molds may grow in the fudge.
(continued on next column)

Chocolate Bottoming 

by Reg Groves  

Problems arise for many companies in trying to achieve a good bottom coating, without leakers. Good bottom coating requires a combination of tempered chocolate, a properly adjusted de-tailing rod, and sufficient time on a cold plate cooling conveyor.

Under-tempered chocolate sets more slowly and with a softer structure. So it is likely to remain adhering to the cold plate conveyor belt and then to peel off the center as it transfers to the enrober wire belt.

De-tailing rod
The direction of rotation is normally opposite to the conveyor direction. It is normal to adjust the conveyor belt heights so that the cold plate conveyor is slightly lower than the pre-bottomer wire belt. The speed of the pre-bottomer wire belt may be slightly faster than that of the cold plate conveyor.

The combination of these factors reduces the possibility of a foot on the leading edges of the centers and ensures better removal of tails from the trailing edges.

There should be a sufficient gap between the de-tailing rod. Having made these adjustments, the de-tailing rod is then adjusted to such a height that a good coating of chocolate is left on the bottom of the center without forming feet or tails.

Cooling time
In many cases there is insufficient time between bottom coating and enrobing to allow the chocolate bottom to set. Consequently, the bottom either peels off on the cooling conveyor, or it is largely washed off by warm chocolate in the enrober. In an ideal design there will be a four minute interval between bottoming and enrobing.

Some companies will try to compensate for the lack of cooling time by running the cold plate at a lower temperature. This tends to aggravate the problem as the cold plate conveyor becomes wet with condensation and the chocolate adheres even more.

Proper setting of the bottom coating requires the correct combination of temperature and time. The thickness of the cooling plate conveyor belt may also have an influence since a thick belting will insulate the chocolate from the cold plate.

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Tips for Chocolate Liqueur Cherries

by Reg Groves

One of the best loved of fillings is the preserved cherry in a fluid syrup. There are a few methods of production. For small scale manufacturing, preserved maraschino cherries are drained of their syrup. They are then coated in a small revolving pan with several alternate applications of powdered sugar (or fondant sugar), and some of the cherry syrup. Invertase is the first added to the syrup. The sugar coating is quite soft and delicate. This, combined with the soft structure of the cherries, dictates small batches. Large batches would deform due to the weight and abrasion in the pan.

The invertase begins its action immediately by converting sugar (sucrose), some of which dissolves in the cherry syrup, into dextrose and fructose. This inverting action progressively softens the sugar coating so the cherries must be chocolate coated, by hand-dipping or by enrobing, immediately. They are too delicate for chocolate coating in revolving pans.

After chocolate coating, the inverting effect of the invertase continues. After a few weeks the sugar becomes totally dissolved because invert sugar is more soluble than sucrose. The cherries must have a thick chocolate coating with no weak spots, or leaks of syrup may occur. Storing in a freezer will delay the liquefaction.

Starch casting
By this method preserved cherries are drained and usually spun in a centrifuge basket to remove as much syrup as possible. Next a melted fondant cream of “bob” fondant mix is prepared. The cream should be high in sugar content and low in corn syrup (or better still, invert sugar) and have a moisture content for casting of about 13 percent.

All these factors, plus invertase, contribute to the eventual development of a fluid texture.

Dome-shaped impressions are formed in dry starch (8 – 9 percent moisture) and half-filled with the melted cream. A mechanical cherry dropper then places a cherry into each starch mould. Encasement of the cherry in cream is completed by a second deposit to fill the balance of the mould.

Liquid cherries formed in starch should be demoulded and chocolate coated as soon as they have set and cooled. If left in starch the starch will extract moisture resulting in a less fluid cordial.

Here again, a coating free of weak spots is desirable, and a few weeks of storage at about 65 degrees F are required for the full softening or liquefying effect.

Shell moulding
This method permits the use of a fondant cream filling that will eventually liquefy by invertase action or a cordial syrup solution.

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Hard Candy Inversion (Novelties)
by Reg Groves

Question: Our products are mainly pulled hard candy lollipops, in a variety of novelty designs of faces: clowns, Santa Claus, etc. Each face is formed in a press, then the eyes, nose, and mouth are applied with boiled hard candy syrup, using a funnel and stick. The faces have excellent shelf life, but frequently the eyes, nose, and mouth become sticky, even before packing. In extreme cases, they become syrupy and flow.

Answer: In this case, the formula for the hard candy, both for the basic face and for the applied features, was conventional. Batches of candy for the faces were carefully weighed, quickly boiled, cooled, pulled, and formed into blanks. So far, so good.

The problem arose in the treatment of the decorating syrups. These were prepared in small kettles over gas burners, by dissolving sugar, corn syrup and water, then boiling rapidly to the specified temperature. Color was added, and syrup poured into a depositing funnel, to apply the facial features. The deposits were quite small, and so one batch of colored syrup would last for maybe an hour of production. As the syrup cooled somewhat, it would become too viscous for clean deposits, so it would be re-heated over the gas burner, to restore it to a fluid state. Occasionally, water would be added to the syrup, and it would then be boiled back to the standard temperature.

The procedure meant that whereas the beginning portion of a batch of decorating syrup would have good shelf life, towards the end of each batch, the syrup would become progressively more

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by Reg Groves

Hygroscopicity. Quite a mouthful, this word. And quite a problem for many candy manufacturers. Candies that are hygroscopic attract moisture from the atmosphere, which usually makes them sticky. This leads to crystallization, otherwise known as graining.

Graining is largely prevented by the high viscosity of such candies. Surface moisture reduces the viscosity, allowing crystallization to occur.

Those candies that exhibit this problem the most are hard candies, brittles and caramels. The sticky surface condition has often been referred to as sweating, but the moisture that causes the surface stickiness is absorbed from the atmosphere; it does not exude from the candy. In the case of hard candies, brittles and caramels, the moisture is so bound that it will not readily migrate to the surface.

There is no known means by which the hygroscopicity of such candies can be prevented. But there are several measures that can be taken to reduce the opportunities for moisture attraction and to modify the effect if moisture is absorbed.

The golden rule is to avoid exposure to humid atmospheric conditions once these products have cooled. While warm, through the stages of cooking, sheeting, cutting and forming, there is little chance of moisture absorption. But once they are cooled, hard candies and brittles will attract moisture from the air if the relative humidity [R.H.] is above about 20 percent.

For caramels, the critical level is about 40 percent R.H. Such dry conditions are seldom found in candy factories, and, in fact, may be uncomfortable for employees. Ideally, in those workrooms where hygroscopic candies are formed, cooled, wrapped, cut-and-wrapped and packed, the atmosphere should be controlled at about 70 degrees F and 45 percent R.H. Dehumidification equipment is required to achieve these conditions. For many companies, the cost is considered prohibitive, but the benefits to products and wrapping machine operation are substantial.

With or without dehumidification, cooking should be partitioned off from the forming, wrapping and packing area. Products should be wrapped as soon as they are cool enough that they will not deform. The objective is to minimize the time of exposure to the atmosphere.


Some ingredients will increase the hygroscopicity. Invert sugar, sorbitol, glycerine, high D.E. corn syrups, high fructose, and high maltose corn syrups must generally be avoided. A low D.E. corn syrup will produce a significantly more dry candy, but will increase the viscosity and may produce a texture that is too chewy. Many manufacturers will replace regular corn syrup with high maltose corn syrup. One of the benefits is that if the candy does absorb some moisture, then stickiness and eventual graining will be less.



Cooking under Vacuum

by Reg Groves

As schoolboys in England, we were told by our Physics teacher that a tea kettle would boil faster at the top of Mt. Everest than it would at sea level. We fondly imagined those intrepid mountain climbers squatting around their campfire at the top of the mountain, eagerly awaiting the preparation of Darjeeling tea, liberally laced with rancid Yak butter. (This we knew, from the Geography teacher, to be a Tibetan delicacy!) But, we seldom questioned why the kettle would boil faster, if indeed the climbers ever had the time or inclination to demonstrate this physical phenomenon.

When water (or other liquid) is heated to the boiling point, it must overcome the atmospheric pressure, in order to vaporize. It follows that at a higher altitude, where the atmospheric pressure is lower; the water will boil more readily. We experience this when making candy in cities such as Denver or Mexico City, and have to boil several degrees lower for a given syrup concentration. As a general guide, for each 1,000 feet of elevation, boiling temperature should be reduced by 2 degrees F, or 1 degree C, compared to sea level boiling.

The main reason for boiling, in most candy formulations, is to concentrate a syrup to a controlled solids level. If we can artificially lower the atmospheric pressure, then we can reach the desired concentration faster.

There are other incidental benefits:

1. There is less degradation of sugar, by the effect of high and prolonged heating. Sugar will break down to invert sugar under excessive heating, and may caramelize. These changes may cause sticky product and a brown color.
2. High concentrations can be achieved by steam heating, rather than gas heating.
3. The boiled product will be cooler than if cooked under atmospheric pressure.

Measurement of Vacuum Pressure

The measurement of vacuum pressure deserves some explanation. Normal atmospheric pressure, 14.7 lbs. per square inch, was found to support a column of mercury in an evacuated glass tube to a height of 760 mms, and barometers were originally designed around such a column. Absolute vacuum would be a negative pressure of 760 mms (but this is very difficult to achieve). The British, being devious, elected to measure vacuum in inches of mercury, so most vacuum gauges in the English speaking world read “ins/Hg”. (Hg is the chemical symbol for mercury.) Thirty inches would be absolute vacuum, but most efficient systems will operate at about 28 inches.

In Continental Europe, and the rest of the world where a more sane approach prevails, vacuum gauges are usually read in millimeters (mm) of mercury. Fortunately, the vacuum cooking system was fairly well developed in our industry, long before Sir Edmund Hillary (who, incidentally, was British) scaled Mt. 

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Aeration of Toffee and Caramel

Aeration lightens both the color and texture of toffees or caramels. Its effect is to incorporate very small bubbles of air into the candy. The bubbles reflect light – producing a lighter shade – and they also weaken the structure.

Thus, aerated hard toffees will have a more fragile crunchy texture, and aerated caramels will have a softer “bite.” The specific gravity (or density) will be reduced.

Pulling – The most common method of aeration is by pulling. The pulling machine enfolds pockets of air, which are stretched by the pulling action into long cells that can usually only be seen through a microscope. Pulling may also induce some crystallization if the product is suitably formulated, and this further modifies the texture.

Most pulling machines have a fixed single speed, so the amount of aeration is largely controlled by the length of pulling time. Caramel and toffee are somewhat elastic when warm, and pulling increases elasticity.

So, product that is pulled may shrink or distort after die-forming or at the cut-and-wrap stage unless a period of relaxation is allowed after pulling. This may not be practical with crunchy toffees, as they set too hard to be subsequently spun into a rope for forming.

Pulling is becoming less popular because it is usually a laborious batch operation, and because most pulling machines are potentially dangerous. Other methods may be preferable.

Addition of frappè – If lightening of color is desired, with little reduction of density, then the addition of frappè may suffice. Frappè is otherwise known as mazetta, egg whip or nougat crème, and is a highly aerated syrup containing an aerating colloidal ingredient.

When added to toffees or caramels in batch operations, a weighed quantity is mixed in after reaching the final boiling point. Frappè usually contains about 25 percent water, and it is customary to add up to five percent of the batch weight. It will be necessary to boil higher to compensate for the water content of the frappè.
Due to the heat and fluidity of batches at this point, and the mixing action, much of the air may be dissipated from the added frappè. But usually, sufficient [air] remains to produce a lighter shade of color, although there may be little effect on the texture or specific gravity.

In continuous operations, frappè may be injected by a metering pump into the

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More on caramel

Amphibious caramel pecan clusters

by Reg Groves
Legend says that “Turtles” were the result of a misunderstood instruction by some long since retired candymaker, albeit, a fortunate mistake. It spawned a whole category of candy nut cluster products.

“Turtles” is a registered name of Nestlé Food Corp., but it has become the generic term for this type of product. We have Myrtles, Katydids, Millionaires & Billionaires (from Texas, of course), Buddies, Patties, Snappers, Dixies (from the South, where else?), and various other catchy titles. How about Mutant Ninja Amphibians to really get the children’s attention?

Whatever we call them, there are certain considerations and problems common to all. Most manufacturers strive for a caramel formulation that has good “stand-up” properties without flowing down into the nut layer. Whether or not this can be achieved is dependent upon a variety of factors – ingredients, formulation, control of depositing temperature and equipment employed.

In general, the higher the milk protein content of the caramel, the better its stand-up property will be. However, a higher milk content can produce a more viscous caramel. Viscous caramel causes tailing, but this may be cured by a higher fat content, lower boiling temperature or higher depositing temperature. Certain ingredients other than milk may contribute to “body” and stand-up. Carrageenan is one such material.

The extent to which stand-up can be achieved may be dictated by the depositing equipment. It is essential that the deposits are clean, without tails. Some models of depositors make clean deposits of hot viscous liquid better than others. Part of the key to this is in keeping the depositing pumps hot enough, and in being able to “suck back” the tails.

An alternative method of forming the caramel portion to ensure stand-up is by extrusion. Extruders form a far more cool and viscous caramel than a depositor can, and produce discs that are laid onto the nut bed. Then, either by the stickiness of the caramel, or by radiant warming, adhesion of the nuts is achieved. Extrusion forms more regularly-shaped clusters than does depositing. A more sophisticated system forms both the caramel and the nut pieces into regularly-shaped discs.

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Graining in hard candy sticks

by Reg Groves 

Some confectionery manufacturers encounter problems with graining, or crystallizing in striped and twisted hard candy sticks and candy canes. The problems are most noticeable in the center core and on the designs with dark stripes. 
Without knowing the syrup formulation, which can be a contributing factor, it is likely that improper working of scrap is the primary cause of graining.

It is common practice to rework scrap back into successive batches of hard candy. Scrap is often placed in the middle of batches, concealed in the cores of cylindrical sticks. And lighter colored scrap is customarily worked into more highly colored portions used in the striping.

Since graining is most common in the cores and the darker stripes, the scrap is probably graining off before it is used as rework. Grained scrap provides seed crystals, causing eventual graining problems in the fresh batches.
Hard candy is hygroscopic in nature. Above a relative humidity of 20 percent, cooled hard candy readily absorbs moisture from the air. But in most hard candy kitchens, the relative humidity (R.H.) is very high.

Even in wrapping and packing room areas, where humidity is often controlled, it is unusual to find the R.H. below 40-45 percent. The cost of dehumidifying below this level is excessive, and lower humidities are uncomfortable for personnel.

One of the factors that inhibits graining in hard candy is its extremely high viscosity. But viscosity is reduced at the surface when the candy attracts moisture from the air. Then crystallization of the sugar begins to occur, also known as graining. The sugar crystals act as seed wherever they are incorporated into fresh batches.
Provided that hard candy scrap has had no opportunity to absorb moisture from the air, it can usually be safely reworked into later batches. Fresh scrap is best kept warm (not hot) and used while in this state. Warm scrap does not readily absorb moisture. A microwave oven is useful in heating scrap to keep it warm. 
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Control of Texture in Nougat

By Reg Groves

The following article is re-published from correspondence by Reg Groves, President, Groves & Company, that was originally printed in Candy Industry magazine as the “Confectionery Workshop” column. Permission from Groves & Company, and Candy Industry, has been granted to Pat Magee, P Magee Enterprises

There is no one texture for nougat. This type of candy may be formulated to have a texture ranging from soft, moist and highly aerated to dense and chewy. And over the breadth of this range, the candy may be either grained (partly crystallized) or ungrained. Several products that we do not formally call nougat really belong to the nougat family. Examples include divinity, fruit chews and taffy.

Sugar to corn syrup ratio
In most nougats, the principle ingredients are sugar (sucrose) and corn syrup, usually 42 dextrose equivalent grade. Sugar imparts a dry firm texture. Corn syrup imparts a gluey and chewy texture, although it is not the only ingredient with this function. And when grained nougats are made, some of the sugar is in the form of crystals.

By manipulation of these two major ingredients, a wide variety of textures can be produced and controlled. Where a firm, dry eating nougat is required, there may be a preponderance of sugar in the formula. This is especially so for grained nougats. Where no crystallization is required, or where a very chewy nougat is desired, corn syrup will be the major ingredient.

Adjustments to texture, as between grained, dry, and chewy, are fairly easy to achieve by adjustment of the ratios of sugar to corn syrup. Incremental adjustments of one percent (of the batch weight) to these two ingredients will usually make a noticeable change in texture. Incremental changes can then be continued and evaluated after a period of aging, until the desired texture is achieved.

Grained nougat
For grained nougat, it is customary to deliberately initiate crystallization. This may occur due to syrup cooling and agitation, as the various ingredients are mixed together.

A more controlled method is to add fondant in the latter stages of mixing, to seed the batch and start crystallization. Another method is to add a measured quantity of grained rework. Not all of the sugar in the formula crystallizes, but only the portion that is in a state of supersaturation.

Crystallization continues until a state of equilibrium is reached. So the final texture may not be achieved until a few days after manufacture.

In ungrained nougats, the sugar is held in a state of supersaturation. This is achieved by the presence of the corn syrup and by the viscosity of the mixture.


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Question: How do I prevent caramels from becoming prematurely grained?

Answer: Even when the best ingredients are used, caramels can still develop a grainy texture.

1. If the proportions of corn syrup and sugar in the formula are not in balance, caramels can crystallize, or grain. A rule of thumb to follow for caramels is to use equal amounts of dry sugar and corn syrup. Too much sugar will precipitate graining. More corn syrup than dry sugar can be used, but only if this does not make the caramel too sticky. Also, the sugar provides body, and insufficient sugar may cause the piece to collapse.

2. The dry, crystalline sugar will not completely dissolve if insufficient water is used. The undissolved sugar will “seed” the batch, causing premature graining. At room temperature, a sugar solution is saturated at 67 percent to 67.5 percent solids. This means that dry sugar requires about 50 percent of its weight in water to go into solution, at room temperature. With heat, the amount of water needed becomes less. Tables providing the amounts of water needed at various temperatures are available. When calculating the amount of water needed in the formula, the water present in ingredients such as milks and creams should also be taken into consideration. This water is available to aid in dissolving the sugar. Too much water in a formula will increase the cooking time, resulting in a caramel which may be too dark and sticky, due to excessive inversion of sugar.

3. While the caramel is in the plastic state, too much agitation can cause graining. After reaching the final cooking temperature, the caramel should be cooled rapidly, and with as little agitation as possible. As it is cooling, the viscosity of the caramel helps to prevent crystallization. Agitation during cooling can cause crystals to form, thus seeding the mass, which will eventually grain.

4. Keeping caramel warm for too long after cooking can cause graining to take place. The caramel should be cooled as rapidly as possible, because the viscosity effect of cooling helps to prevent crystallization.

5. If the surface of the caramel is allowed to attract moisture, the piece will grain. Optimum storage conditions include a relative humidity of about 45 percent. Packaging with one or more moisture-proof barriers should be used.

6. Storage at too high a temperature can cause graining, because as the caramel softens, it becomes less viscous, allowing crystals to form. Warehouse and store temperatures should not exceed 80 degrees F.  For more information please contact the author. END

Publisher's Note:
The content above is published from correspondence by Reg Groves, President, Groves & Company, that was originally printed in Candy Industry magazine as the "Candy Doctor," for Knechtel, and “Confectionery Workshop” columns. Permission from Knechtel, and Candy Industry, has been granted to Pat Magee, P Magee Enterprises.

As each new column is posted, previous formulations will be archived by subject and available for purchase at a nominal cost. 
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