One thing most candy recipes have in common is their copious use of sugar. It’s important to know the distinctions between different types of sugar products, so that your candies are successful.
Granulated sugar: This is derived from either beets or sugarcane, and when a recipe calls for “sugar” or “white sugar,” it is referring to granulated sugar.
Brown sugar: This is granulated sugar with molasses added. It comes in “light” and “dark” varieties; light brown sugar has a milder flavor and is usually recommended for candy making. Brown sugar should be packed down in a measuring cup while measuring. Generally, brown sugar should not be used to replace other sugars.
Superfine sugar: Also called caster sugar. This is granulated sugar with a very fine texture. It is useful when making candy centers because it dissolves quickly and doesn’t produce a grainy texture. Superfine sugar can be used in place of regular granulated sugar without adverse results.
Powdered sugar: Also called confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar. This is very fine-textured sugar with cornstarch added; it needs to be sifted before use. Do not use powdered sugar to replace any other sugars in candy recipes.
Corn syrup: Also known as glucose. Corn syrup is produced from cornstarch and comes in “light” and “dark” varieties; in confectionery light is generally preferred. Corn syrup prevents other sugar from crystallizing and makes cooked candies firmer, so is often used in cream fillings and fudges.
Invert sugar: Liquid sugar. It improves the shelf life of many candies. Only use invert sugar if a recipe specifically calls for it.
Honey: Any mild bee’s honey can be used in recipes that call for honey. The honey should be liquid, not of the “creamed” or “honey spread” varities.
Molasses: A by-product of the sugar refining process, it is a thick dark syrup with a distinctive taste.