A Kids Guide to Making Unique Candy
Candy bars, bubblegum, caramel candies, gummy bears, licorice, and lollipops; these and thousands of other types of candy are very popular among young kids due to their colorful designs and delicious taste. Not only can you find these yummy treats at the store, but you can also make them at home! …With mom and dad’s help of course. Below you will information about the science behind candy making, as well as some great candy recipes you can make at home.
Most forms of candy have a sugar, or sucrose, as the main ingredient to give the treat a sweet taste. Traces of sugar can be found naturally in plants, especially sources such as sugarcane and sugar beets. Sugar is composed of twelve carbon atoms, twenty-two hydrogen atoms, and eleven oxygen atoms. When you combine these three compounds, you create a carbohydrate. Sucrose is created by two simple sugars, glucose and fructose, that bond together. When looking closely at dry sugar, you can see these cube-like shapes, known as sugar crystals, which are formed from sucrose molecules.
When sugar is added to water, such as in a candy recipe, the sugar crystals dissolve. When cooking candy, sugar, water, and other ingredients are heated to a high temperature. However, as the ingredients boil down, the sugar remains saturated in order to maintain its sweet taste that gives candy its own unique flavor. As the solution begins to cool, the sugar molecules will begin to crystallize back into a solid state. The fact that sugar transforms into crystals is a very important factor in the candy making process. That is where the two main types of candies come in: crystalline, or candies that contain crystals in their completed form (Ex. fondant and fudge) and amorphous, or candies that do not contain crystals (Ex. taffy or lollipops).
Hard candies, such as sweet tarts, suckers, and jolly ranchers, are made from sugar, water, corn syrup, and flavoring. When these ingredients are heated and boiled, you have sugar syrup at 300 degrees F. When this syrup cools in molds, you are left with hard candy. When these candies are placed in the mouth, such as when you eat Pop Rocks, carbon dioxide is released, causing the hard candy to release bubbles and pop. The sugar crystals dissolve in the mouth, transforming from a solid to a liquid. The process of making chocolate candy is a little different. Chocolate contains more than 300 chemicals, some of which give it its pleasurable taste. Ingredients such as vanilla, milk, corn syrup, butter, sugar, and of course, chocolate is cooked together. When the desired consistency is reached, the chocolate is allowed to cool and harden, resulting in a delicious chocolate snack.
Interested in making some of your favorite candy treats in your own kitchen? The candies below require the use of a stove, meaning that you will need help from mom or dad for that part of the recipe. These instructions are easy to follow and will provide you with a delicious result. Follow the links below to get started.