A candy thermometer measures the sugar solution used in the cooking of sweets. There are three types of candy thermometers. The dial thermometer has a round face with a needle that points to the temperature. The glass thermometer contains a liquid that increases as the solution gets hotter. It looks like a thermometer time. The digital thermometer, with digital reading, is the most accurate of the three. All thermometers will measure temperatures between 100 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Immerse the end of the candy thermometer in boiling water for the precision test. A temperature of 212 degrees at sea level is accurate. If it varies, you will have to make up the difference as you cook.
- Adjust the difference while you are cooking sweets. If the precision test shows a temperature of 214 degrees, it has a difference of 2 degrees. If the candy recipe says it needs to reach a temperature of 250 degrees, the correct temperature setting is 250 degrees plus 2, or 252 degrees.
- Make adjustments, if necessary, for high altitude cooking sweets. Subtract 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet that live above sea level. If you live at 2,000 feet above sea level and the candy recipe calls for a temperature of 250 degrees, subtract 4 degrees from 250 degrees, and cook the sweets at 246 degrees.
- Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan to cook the sweets. Check the caramel thermometer frequently, so you know when it reaches the right temperature. If the tip of the thermometer is resting on the bottom of the pan, you will get a false reading.
Tips and warnings
- The different stages of candy cooking are marked on some candy thermometers.
- The digital thermometer is the easiest to read.
- It isn’t easy to see the temperature reading on a glass candy thermometer when it is next to the pan.
- Be careful. The candy sugar solution is very hot and can burn before you can get it out of your skin.