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different cooling properties on silpat?

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I made a couple of batches of candy yesterday, and for the first time, turned it out of the pan and cooled it on a silpat. The first batch set up more slowly than usual, and the second batch didn't set at all (however, I'm willing to blame that on the fact that I made a couple of substitutions in the recipe).

Does the silpat affect the way something cools on it, compared to a baking sheet with parchment?

As a side note, I now have some really tasty, but really gooey, meyer lemon macadamia nut clusters. Suggestions on how to salvage them so they can be wrapped and packaged, or am I just going to have to peel them off the silpat and eat them myself.

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  1. Silpat retains heat for a bit, unlike parchment paper or a rack.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl S.

      Yeah, even as I typed "parchment on a baking sheet" I realized that a silpat, which doesn't conduct heat, is going to cause the food to retain its heat more than parchment on a metal baking sheet, which will conduct heat away.

      Since candy is traditionally cooled on a cold surface (marble), I wonder if I should forego the silpat.

      Anyone with more silpat experience got any tips?

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I've not had any problem, but I do make sure to put the sheet over a rack so that the silpat has cooler air underneath it.

    2. j
      jennyantepenultimate

      I've been making candy on my silpat as well and love the nonstick properties more than ever. Not knowing anything about your recipe or substitutions, I would think that the problem is probably in your heating technique vs cooling.

      If your sugar does not hit certain temperature marks, it won't harden to the proper texture (hard-ball, soft-crack, etc.) you're looking for. Usually more cooking can help candy attain the proper texture. But since you've already added in the nuts, I would just put it in the freezer and serve it cold and call it caramel.

      Link: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/...

      2 Replies
      1. re: jennyantepenultimate

        I'm a fairly experienced candy maker (I've made this recipe in its original form many times), and I'm pretty sure I got it up to soft ball. Either I was wrong, or I got a little too much liquid in it. It's not runny, just gooey -- almost like soft taffy.

        I could probably serve them if I removed them from the silpat, rolled them in powdered sugar and served them immediately, but I don't think I can wrap/pack them (I tried waxed paper and it was too sticky -- I haven't tried parchment, though).

        I'd like to try another batch, but I don't want to blow another $6 worth of macadamia nuts unless I'm confident it will work.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          b
          babette feasts

          I think you could put it in the oven to cook more. Once it gets bubbly, extra water should be gone quickly. It was supposed to be toffee, right?