How to Keep Sugar From Crystalizing

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Unless you are making rock candy, you need to prevent sugar from crystallizing while you are making candy. Failing to do so will result in candy that shatters or has a gritty, sand-like texture. When sugar is dry its crystals are stable, but when you add sugar to water and heat you are creating an unstable substance. Candy makers long ago discovered simple ways to prevent sugar from crystallizing; those methods are listed as ingredients in the recipes used to make candy.

  • Add butter or heavy cream to melted sugar to prevent crystallization. Fats cover block the sucrose from forming crystals. Toffee is smooth and easily broken because the butter blocks the sucrose from crystallizing.

  • Introduce an acid like lemon juice or cream of tartaric to the melted sugar to prevent crystallization. Acids break sucrose into the simpler compounds glucose and fructose, according to the Baking 911 website. Acids are often listed as ingredients in sour candy.

  • Pour honey, brown sugar, molasses or corn syrup into the sugar mixture to prevent crystals from forming. Altering the ratio of glucose to fructose will slow crystallization.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many candy recipes use both fats and simple sugar compounds to prevent crystallization and add flavor.

References

  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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