I've been trying to recreate the results from: http://cookingsciencetradition.blogspot.com/2010/12/crystallization-of-sugar.html
to very little success.
1: Add 1 + 1/2 cups white refined sugar, and an arbitrary amount of water to a pot.
2: Add some heat, and stir until sugar fully dissolved
3: Allow sugar to boil (without stirring) on high heat until 240F is reached
4: Turn off heat, and allow to cool until 100F is reached
5: Pour into mixer, and beat.
What goes wrong:
While the sugar is cooling, it seems to crystallize on the surface. Then, during the beating process, it beats without turning into crumble, going from a clear syrup to a white almost crystalline looking substance (with visible strands within the substance resembling the etching seen in ribbon candy), but after only 40 seconds of beating, it starts to give the electric mixer trouble -- first starting to spew strands of candy at the sides of the mixing bowl, and then turning to crumble (identical, visually, to the crumble which is shown in the link I gave above) if left mixing too long. If I stop the mixing right when it starts spewing strands of candy, then it quickly hardens into a strange mass, almost identical to a very hard icing -- Hard, and visibly rough, fragile and crumbling when pressure is applied (though not turning to dust!), quickly melting/dissolving in the mouth into a very smooth, creamy feeling substance (not dissimilar to what fudge does in the mouth!) when consumed.
To be honest, I have no idea what is going on, or why my candy is behaving this way. Is there something obvious here that I am doing wrong? Is it possible that what is happening is actually exactly what should be happening? The reason I doubt this, is that the website I linked shows a picture of the result when the sugar syrup is cooled and beaten properly -- though my product has exactly the same color, it does not have the glossy shine which is showcased in the link's photo.
Now, it is possible that my thermometer is not calibrated correctly -- for the sake of faster problem solving, let's assume that my thermometer is of godly quality (though, I am still open to human error being the cause -- IE, maybe I misread the temperature during the cool-down process, and this is why it turned to crumble?)
Miscellaneous facts: I live at 96.343 m above sea level. Indoor humidity is typically around 53%. Outdoor humidity can be as high as 70%-80%. I use filtered water
Am I making any obvious mistakes? Does the ratio of water to sugar matter? I would think not, since the ratio between sugar and water is dependent upon the boiling point, and hence temperature of the mixture. Is my altitude screwing things up? Could that cause problems with my (momentarily ungodly) thermometer? Does humidity have anything at all to do with this? Is anything even going wrong to begin with -- could it be that I am crazy, and what I describe is exactly what ought to happen?
Thank you very much for your time, and potential answers! I hope I can eventually get this right.