How to know I'm at 240 degrees (soft ball stage)--no thermometer!

Sooz

I want to make Carol/Readinglady's awesome Sour Cream Walnuts today but realized my candy thermometer has gone belly up. How do I know when the sugars/sour cream are at the soft ball stage of 240 degrees? My other thermometer only goes to 220 degrees.

Thanks!

Sooz

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plllog

Better Homes and Gardens describes it better than I ever could:


Cold-Water Test

For the cold-water test, spoon a few drops of the hot candy mixture into a cup of very cold (but not icy) water. Using your fingers, form the drops into a ball. Remove the ball from the water; the firmness will indicate the temperature of the candy mixture. If the mixture has not reached the correct stage, continue cooking and retesting, using fresh water and a clean spoon each time.

Thread stage (230 to 233 degrees F): When a teaspoon is dipped into the hot mixture, then removed, the candy falls off the spoon in a 2-inch-long, fine thin thread.

Soft-ball stage (234 to 240 degrees F): When the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, the candy instantly flattens and runs over your finger.

Firm-ball stage (244 to 248 degrees F): When the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, it is firm enough to hold its shape, but quickly flattens.

Hard-ball stage (250 to 266 degrees F): When the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, it can be deformed by pressure, but it doesn't flatten until pressed.

Soft-crack stage (270 to 290 degrees F): When dropped into the cold water, the candy separates into hard, but pliable and elastic, threads.

Hard-crack stage (295 to 310 degrees F): When dropped into the cold water, the candy separates into hard, brittle threads that snap easily.


[https://www.bhg.com/recipes/desserts/candy/cooking-and-testing-candy-mixtures/#:~:targetText=Soft%2Dball%20stage%20(234%20to,and%20runs%20over%20your%20finger.](https://www.bhg.com/recipes/desserts/candy/cooking-and-testing-candy-mixtures/#:~:targetText=Soft-ball%20stage%20(234%20to,and%20runs%20over%20your%20finger.)

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annie1992

Yes, I use the cold water method that plllog posted. I just use a tea cup, so I can get my fingers into it. I get cold water straight from the tap, but it's pretty cold. Drop a little in the cup and if I can make a soft sticky ball that I can pick up, it's done. It's easy to overcook, though, and undercooked will kind of flatten out and run off the edges of my fingers. It'll look different in the pan too, although that's hard to notice unless you know what to look for.

Annie

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Sooz

Thanks so much!!!!

I thought I posted a link to the recipe in a followup on this thread, but it might have disappeared!

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