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How to Make Homemade Candy Recipes 

You don't need to be a whiz at food science to make these delicious heirloom homemade candy recipes! | How to Make Homemade Candy Recipes |

Updated December 20, 2018.

Homemade candy recipes bring families and friends together, brighten any day and make it truly special!

These are scrumptious old fashion homemade candy recipes, the ones Grandma and Grandpa used to make before corn syrup was introduced to the food industry.

So effective was the marketing of corn syrup, it convinced generations of home cooks and food manufacturers that quality candy products could not be made without it.

This highly processed ingredient was cheap; it replaced sugar in most packaged foods found on grocery store shelves.

Throughout agriculture history, corn has become extremely hybridized and genetically modified; it is not the same ancient grain it once was.

Because of these genome manipulations and modern agricultural practices, allergies to corn and other grains are on the rise.

Does this sound familiar?

We know gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease are increasing for the same reasons.

Rediscovering our roots of origin can be a good thing, especially when it means we can once again enjoy treasured homemade candy recipes handed down through the ages.

Candy Making Makes Memories

Grandma's pantry was stocked with basic ingredients from which she created all kinds of family pleasing foods and wonderful treats for special occasions.

She learned her candy making skills from her mother and grandmother, and passed them on to her children, along with some of the family's favorite candy recipes.

Not to be outdone, Grandpa was a candy maker, too!

He mastered the art of fudge and made it look so easy to make.

He knew when it came to candy making, substitutions and making-do often resulted in product failures.

For us, candy making is fun food science, both chemistry and physics.

Just like in a scientific laboratory, it is important to have the proper equipment.

Precision and timing are everything in order to achieve the desired results, in this case, mouthwatering sweets.

The good news is good cooks don't need to know all about food science to make beautiful homemade candy recipes just like Grandma and Grandpa did.


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Homemade Candy Recipe Tips

For best results, follow the candy making tips below to successfully cook up great candies again and again.

  • Always follow a homemade candy recipe direction exactly.
  • Candy making requires patience and sometimes lots of waiting.  Allow plenty of time to complete the process, which can't be hurried.
  • Never double a candy recipe or alter the ingredients.  Instead, make two separate batches.
  • For best results, always use the ingredients recommended in the recipe.  Substituting ingredients can change the food chemistry of candy and lead to product failure.
  • Always use the size and composition of the kitchen equipment recommended in the recipe.
  • For best results use a large heavy metal pan surpassing the volume of ingredients by three times.
  • Wooden spoons work best for stirring and beating candies.
  • Don't hurry the time it takes for a candy mixture to come to temperature by turning up the heat.  Cooking candy too fast and at high heat causes sugar to re-crystallize making grainy candies, especially in creamy candies, such as fudge or caramel.
  • Always use a good candy thermometer.  Hang the thermometer on the side of the pan so the bulb is not resting against the bottom of the pan; this can give a false reading, measuring the temperature of the pan instead of the candy mixture.  Make sure the bulb is measuring the temperature of the liquid syrup not the foam.
  • To get an accurate temperature reading, always read the thermometer at eye level.
  • Vigilantly monitor the temperature as it approaches 200°F, 93.33°C.  Once a candy mixture reaches 200°F, 93.33°C, the temperature rapidly soars.
  • Candy making is affected by humidity.  If it is raining, or extremely humid outdoors, cook candy to one degree (1°F, 17.22°C) higher or so than stated in the recipe.
  • Candy making is affected by altitude.  Determine the boiling point of water at your altitude, and then adjust for candy making temperature accordingly.  For example, use a candy thermometer to determine the temperature of a pot of boiling water.  If the water boils at 210°F, 98.89°C instead of 212°F, 100°C, then adjust the temperature called for the recipe by decreasing it by 2°F, 16.67°C.
  • Always carefully test candy syrup using the cold water test.  Remove the candy from heat and set aside.  Using a clean spoon, drop a small amount of candy syrup into a cup of ice cold water. Always use a fresh spoon and a clean cup of ice cold water for each test.  The syrup will form a ball in the bottom of the cup.  It is the firmness of this candy ball that determines the stage of the candy.  Retest every 2 or 3 minutes until desired stage is reached. 
  • Taffy and fudge love humidity.  Make these candies on rainy or very humid days.  For all other candies, cook to temperatures one or two degrees higher than on days of normal humidity.
  • To keep sugar from recrystallizing and prevent gritty and grainy candy, cool candy mixtures quickly by placing the pan in an ice water bath.  Change the water as it becomes warm.  When the candy has cooled to the recommended temperature, beat it with a wooden spoon using constant steady strokes just until the mixture thickens and loses its glossy sheen; then it is ready to pour.
  • If beaten too long, fudge and fondant will harden in the pan before it can be poured.   Sometimes it is possible to work the warm fudge with your hands until it can be patted into the buttered pan.  Cut it into pieces immediately.  If the fudge is too hard to work with hands, scrape the bits from the pan and use them as dessert toppings sprinkled over cake, pie or ice cream, because it will still taste great.
  • Sometimes fudge and fondant won't set up or harden.  Pour the candy back into the saucepan or Dutch oven.  Add 1/4 cup, 60 ml milk and repeat the cooking--cooling--beating process over again.  Another alternative is to use the candy as a dessert sauce, called spoon fudge;  pour over cake, pie or ice cream.

Homemade Candy Recipes Testing Chart



Cold Water & Plate Tests


230°F to 234°F

106°C to 112°C

When dropped from a clean spoon into a clean cup of ice cold water, candy syrup spins a 2 inch, 5.08 cm thread.

Soft Ball

234°F to 240°F

112°C to 116°C

When dropped from a clean spoon into a clean cup of ice cold water, candy syrup in the bottom of the cup can be formed into a soft ball that flattens when it is removed from the water.

Firm Ball

242°F to 248°F

117°C to 120°C

When dropped from a clean spoon into a clean cup of ice cold water, candy syrup in the bottom of the cup can be shaped into a firm ball that does not flatten when removed from the water.

Hard Ball

250°F to 266°F

121°C to 130°C

When dropped from a clean spoon into a clean cup of ice cold water, candy syrup forms a hard, pliable ball in the bottom of the cup.

Soft Crack

270°F to 290°F

132°C to 143°C

When dropped from a clean spoon into a clean cup of ice cold water, candy syrup separates into hard threads that are not brittle.

Hard Crack

300°F to 310°F

149°C to 154°C

When dropped from a clean spoon into a clean cup of ice cold water, candy syrup separates into hard threads that are brittle.

Light Caramel

320°F to 335°F

160°C to 170°C

When dropped from a clean spoon onto a clean room temperature plate, the syrup will glaze the surface and will be a honey gold color

Dark Caramel

335°F to 350°F

170°C to 177°C

When dropped from a clean spoon onto a clean room temperature plate, the syrup will glaze the surface and will be a deep red-amber color.

Secrets to Homemade Candy Recipes Storage

Each confection requires its own method of storage in order to preserve quality and flavor.

  • To keep fudge and fondants fresh and creamy for several weeks, wrap tightly in waxed paper, plastic wrap or foil.   Store wrapped candy in an air tight container in a cool dry place.
  • To keep out moisture and prevent candies from sticking together, caramel and taffy pieces should be individually wrapped in waxed paper.  Store wrapped candies in an air tight container in a cool dry place.
  • To keep out moisture and prevent candy from softening, store brittles in an air tight container in a cool dry place.
  • To keep chocolate dipped candies, place candy pieces in individual bonbon cups and store them in a cool dry place.
  • To keep popcorn balls, wrap each ball individually in waxed paper or plastic wrap, place in a moisture proof container, such as a plastic freezer bag, and freeze.
  • Divinity tends to dry out easily and is not a good keeper.  So, enjoy eating it up until it is all gone while it is still fresh.

Homemade Candy Recipes

It is with great pleasure we share our family's heritage and heirloom homemade candy recipes . . . 

. . . all of them gluten-free and most of them corn-free.

Gerald's Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Gerald's Chocolate Fudge Recipe  Are you looking for an old-time chocolate fudge recipe like Grandpa used to make?  Then you have come to the right place--delicious!

Grandpa's Marshmallow Recipe--Corn-free & Gluten-free

Grandpa's Marshmallow Recipe--Corn-free & Gluten-free  Imagine Grandpa's marshmallow recipe; a scrumptiously light and fluffy confection, so easy to make!

Chocolate Marshmallows

Cocoa Marshmallows

Coconut Marshmallows

Double Chocolate Marshmallows

Espresso Marshmallows

Fruit Flavored Marshmallows

Marshmallow Chocolates

Marshmallow Creme

Marshmallow Garnishes

Marshmallow Sauce

Mini Marshmallows

Peppermint Marshmallows

Mr. Bittner's Rocky Road Fudge Recipe

Mr. Bittner's Rocky Road Fudge Recipe  Mr. Bittner's Rocky Road Fudge recipe is so irresistible, why wait to make and enjoy it only once a year?

Simple Syrup Recipe--Key to Sweet Beverages and Confections  Enjoy making this lovely Simple Syrup recipe, and then take your gluten-free food to the next level by pouring on all the delicious flavor variations!

Agave Simple Syrup

Basil Simple Syrup

Blackberry Simple Syrup

Blueberry Simple Syrup

Brandy Simple Syrup

Cherry Simple Syrup

Cinnamon Simple Syrup

Classic Simple Syrup

Demerara Simple Syrup

Fennel Simple Syrup

Ginger Simple Syrup

Honey Simple Syrup

Lavender Simple Syrup

Lemon Simple Syrup

Lemon Balm Simple Syrup

Lemon Verbena  Simple Syrup

Lime Simple Syrup

Mint Simple Syrup

Muscovado Simple Syrup

Orange Simple Syrup

Peach Simple Syrup

Pear Simple Syrup

Raspberry Simple Syrup

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rich Simple Syrup

Rose Simple Syrup

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Rum Simple Syrup

Sage Simple Syrup

Strawberry Simple Syrup

Thin Simple Syrup

Thyme Simple Syrup

Vanilla Simple Syrup

Vodka Simple Syrup

Wine Simple Syrup

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