What, spend all day in the kitchen?

Perhaps I should classify this as Official Cooking Week on domesticat.net. It certainly seems to be what's occupying my waking time. Today, especially; I think I've finally conquered gingerbread. I tasted one of the gingerbread-humans I baked, and they're yummy. Dark, spicy, but soft.

Hard, crackly gingerbread belongs on trees, in my opinion.You can generally tell how serious someone is about cooking when they stop giving recipes with directions based on time and start giving recipes based on temperatures. With some of the recipes that I'm doing now, it's difficult to judge doneness by color or smell; temperature alone is the best way.

I hate trying to guess what stage sugar's in—thread, soft ball, soft crack, hard crack, etc. I'd rather trust my thermometer; it's more accurate than my eyes. When making candy, a thermometer's essential—and a guide like this doesn't hurt, either.


begins at 230°F

Syrup makes 2" thread when dropped from spoon.

Soft Ball

begins at 234°F

Syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball, but flattens when picked up

Firm Ball

begins at 244°F

The ball holds its shape and flattens only when pressed.

Hard Ball

begins at 250°F

The ball is more rigid, but is still pliable.

Soft Crack

begins at 270°F

Syrup dropped into chilled water separates into threads which bend when picked up.

Hard Crack

begins at 300°F

Syrup dropped into chilled water separates into hard, brittle threads.

Caramelized Sugar

310°F to 338°F

Syrup turns dark golden. Syrup will turn black at 350°.

all tags: