Beating Candy Mixtures

In the case of fudge and pralines, manual beating with a wooden spoon brings about a change in appearance and texture.

When you first begin to beat either of these candy mixtures, they will be quite thin and very glossy. As the beating continues, the mixtures begin to thicken; this is the time to stir in nuts or other ingredients. At this point, watch very carefully as the mixture continues to thicken and the gloss just starts to disappear. When this stage is reached, quickly turn fudge into the prepared pan or drop pralines onto the waxed paper.

When making divinity or nougat, timing is very important. Beating with a sturdy, freestanding electric mixer transforms two very different mixtures (beaten egg whites and hot syrup) into candy. Separate the eggs, but do not begin beating the egg whites before you start cooking the candy mixture. (If you do, the egg whites will revert to a liquid state and cannot be beaten again.) Immediately after the sugar mixture has cooked to the recommended temperature, remove it from the heat; then begin beating the egg whites till stiff peaks form.

Pour the hot candy mixture over the stiffly beaten egg whites in a slow, steady stream (slightly less than 1/8-inch diameter) to ensure proper blending. At first, as the hot candy mixture hits the cooler egg whites, it may become hard. Continue beating and scraping the bowl occasionally, and the mixture will soften.

For divinity, continue beating till the candy just starts to lose its gloss. The mixture should fall in a ribbon off the beaters. It should mound on itself and not disappear into the mixture in the bowl.

For nougat, beat till the candy becomes very thick and less glossy. When the beaters are lifted, the mixture should fall in a ribbon that mounds on itself, then slowly disappears into the remaining mixture.