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I recently made free-form candy swirls out of chocolate-like coloured candy. When I got to the point of putting it into my disposable plastic piping bag, I had to wrap it in a tea-towel in order to work with it because it was so hot.

The candy didn't melt through the plastic, and I could do some basic swirls with my jerry-rigged bag. However, it was too hot to handle (literally) and the slippery tea-towel-on-plastic made doing anything intricate prohibitively difficult.

I know most people use candy molds, however I don't care to spend the money on something I use once or twice a year.

Are there any tools I could get that could also be used in other applications? (for example, my piping bags and tips can be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, etc. which I do frequently enough to justify buying a small assortment of metal tips)

Are there any techniques for working with melted candy, other than "try not to get burned"?

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I answered a question a while ago regarding candy and heat when working with it, may be relevant: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/9898/… –  Orbling Jan 22 '11 at 0:48
    
Thanks for the vids, @Orbling. These don't quite seem to be what I'm working with. The hard candy shown there is quite different from the soft, chocolate-consistency candy (can I call it candy?) that I've tried. –  Peach Jan 22 '11 at 3:07
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Aye, it is quite different, but the heat advice is similar. It needs to still be very hot when working with it. If you can not find more insulated equipment to protect your hands, then wearing gloves, or anything that provides some protection is advisable. –  Orbling Jan 22 '11 at 6:42
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Understood, @Orbling. Insulated gloves might be the best option, then. –  Peach Jan 22 '11 at 16:05

2 Answers 2

You might try welding gloves or fireplace gloves. (fireplace gloves tend to be longer, and might go up to your elbow).

They're typically made of suede, with an insulated lining. I use them instead of pot holders, but they also come in handy when I'm doing large amounts of grilling (once a year, for our departmental picnic, cooking for a couple hundred people).

The fireplace gloves also come in handy when camping, as you can reach in to move logs if you're quick about it. The only issue is that too long of exposure to hot, dry heat will cause them to harden up and lose their insulating properties. I have to get a new pair every few years or so because of the way I use them.

I also have some really heavy duty rubber gloves that I got more as a joke -- I'm not sure if they're for haz-mat purposes, or what, but they come in handy for when I have to deal with hot but wet things. I've also used them when dealing with cleaning out the fridge at work that had gotten pretty scary (it was near a conference room, and people using the conference room would leave stuff in there and forget about it). I've seen similar gloves, maybe not quite as thick, though, at a restaurant supply store near heavy rubber aprons for the people doing the washing up.

And, if those still don't fit your preferences, you can find silicone potholders ... they've got good grip, and you should be able to roll it into a cone around your piping bag.

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I imagine you could dip a metal or wooden stick into the hot mixture and create shapes as it drips or flows off the utensil while moving the hand (since you are attempting freeform shapes). With a bit of experimentation it may produce some interesting results! :) However I have not personally worked with melted candy, and am looking forward to hearing how you achieve the results you desire.

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