Scoring candy (e.g. toffee, caramel, etc.) - What's the secret?
- FML Oct 21, 2003 02:39 PM
I have made various types of toffee and caramel over the past year, and while the flavor comes out great, I am never successful in cutting the candy into even squares. It either seems to "re-glue" together or is too hard to cut. Is the secret in the timing of when you cut it (e.g. the amount of cooling that the candy has done)? Or is it the recipe itself? Or the cutting tools? Or something else entirely? And does the process differ for different types of candy?
My thought it that it's completely impossible to break real toffee into regular-sized pieces, even with scoring. Even the Endstrom's people (who make such better toffee than me, i'm not worthy!) don't break their amazing confection into regular pieces, but rather it comes in shards. Unless the toffee is poured into molds I have no idea how to make it regular. Perhaps an electric jigsaw? Who knows.
Try freezing the candy and score it, pressing hard, using some razor that has a very narrow angle like an X-acto (clean). Tap the back of the candy with the handle of something right on were the scores are on the other side and break it then with your hands. This works best with small batches and larger pieces.
Try cutting it when it's cooled down somewhat - if it's too hot it will just fuse back together. This takes the correct timing - if too cold, of course, it will just shatter. And use an oiled knife. You'll still have to break it apart when it's cooled entirely - using the oiled knife just "scores" it so it will break more-or-less evenly. There will still be pieces that don't break into nice, tidy little squares or rectangles but don't worry - they'll still taste good!
For toffee I use an oiled pizza wheel. I start scoring a minute or two after I pour it onto an oiled marble board or the back of a non-stick baking sheet. I'll then rescore along the same lines until it starts to set up (only takes toffee a few minutes.) I don't get perfect diamonds, but that is a function of my inability to draw a straight line on graph paper. What I'm saying is you get the shape you cut.
The couple of times my caramel has turned out, I've just used a very heavy knife, well oiled. Much better shapes since I have a long, straight instrument and a pivot point.