I've made a few batches of hard crack candy, but so far every batch i've made has come out stickier than I'd like. by too sticky, i mean that the candies will stick to the parchment paper i store them in so hard that the two become inseparable. this happens even in the freezer.

So far I've tried

  1. letting the temperature go up a little higher on the candy thermometer (310-320)
  2. adding powdered sugar after the candies have cooled down

as experiments but to no avail. what can people recommend? is there an additive i could add to the mix?

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    the freezer may harden it too fast and have an adverse effect. have you tried another thermometer. right at 300° should do the trick, as long as you leave it there long enough for all water to cook off. some people grease the molds, too. is it possible that humidity is an issue? – zanlok Jan 27 '11 at 5:07
  • i meant after the candies had hardened, they even got sticky when stored in the freezer. it's possible humidity is an issue, because i have no idea how humidity affects hard crack candy. – Chicken Pie Jan 27 '11 at 5:45
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    Humidity is the enemy of hard candy. It will turn it into hard, sticky, goo. I'd try sealing a few pieces in an air-tight container along with some dry rice (or better, silica gel packets) and see if that works better. – RBerteig Jan 27 '11 at 8:27
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    You're making candy out of crack? Dude, get some help! – raven Jan 27 '11 at 14:10
  • @RBerteig that's a good tip! should I be doing this when the candies are setting and cooling down? or only afterwards? write it up as a response so I can duly reward you. – Chicken Pie Jan 28 '11 at 8:57

Get another thermometer and check that your thermometer is calibrated correctly. Many of the candy thermometers from China are ± 20 C

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  • wow, that's a frick'n huge diff. thanks for that tip! – Chicken Pie Feb 8 '11 at 7:57

I have the answer to this and as someone above said, it is to do with humidity. I make toffee apples to sell and have found out by trial and error that 1. you have to make sure they are definitely heated to 150c so that the mixture goes immediately solid when dropped in cold water and 2. Wrap them in cellophane the minute they are cool enough, so probably within 5 minutes of cooking. They get sticky quickly if left in contact with the air. If you wrap them they will remain hard like glass and not tacky.

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Duplicating RBerteig's comment as an answer for posterity:

Humidity is the enemy of hard candy. It will turn it into hard, sticky, goo. I'd try sealing a few pieces in an air-tight container along with some dry rice (or better, silica gel packets) and see if that works better.

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Instead of powdered sugar, try dusting the candies with a tiny bit of cornstarch. This has the advantage of not turning sticky itself.

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Your recipe may be the problem. The all sugar with water and cream of tartar tends to have the problem you have stated. I prefer the 2C sugar, 2/3C corn syrup, 3/4C water, flavor/color to desire

Never freeze or refrigerate hard candy, if a fan such as your stove fan is going turn it off or move the cooling candy out of the way. Be sure to melt not just dissolve the sugar slowly in the first stage of cooking when you are stirring, and do NOT stir once you enter the boil stage. Flavor and color I add after I have removed from heat and boiling has started, stior very smoothly outward spiral then inward a few times.

Cream of tartar softens the candy, corn syrup will prevent it going "sticky" at room temperature so easily. While powdered sugar will help I find it isn't necessary with the corn syrup version, though humidity and temperature likely play a role in this.

It will probably still stick to parchment paper but I have had no sticking to other pieces when just thrown into a plastic bowl.

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Old thread, I know, but for anyone else looking for answers - make sure your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot. This can throw off even a well-calibrated candy thermometer.

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Mine melted in the fridge. I used the same version with the cream of tartar. My thermometer registered 300 before I dipped them. I think my problem was the same. I placed them on waxed paper and they stuck tight. I put them in a container then put them in the fridge and they melted. I had leftover candy so I greased a silicon candy mold sprayed with cooking oil. When they were cool I put them in individual plastic bags and stored them right next to the apples and those from the candy mold are in perfect shape still as hard a a rock. How is this possible? Apples melted, candy molds didn't melt a bit.

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I ran into this problem too: I didn't cook all the water out of my sugar corn syrup mix. I let it sit and simmer for a few hours before it would finally set. That was very time consuming but came out great.

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