Sticky Rock Candy
What can I do about sticky rock candy?
I have been making rock candy for years. This year I have had 3 batches turn out sticky. What am I doing wrong?
I bring it up to 310 degrees as usual. Is there a way to get it to set now that it is sticky?
I set it outside in 40 degree weather but it got stickier. Now I have it setting on top of the clothes dryer.
What can I do to save this batch?
I assume you are referring to boiled hard candy when you say rock candy.
Usually for hard candy you really only need to boil the candy to 300 degrees F. although you can go to 310, but you run the risk of the sugar carmelizing a bit and going brown.
However, if your thermometer is working correctly and you've allowed for altitude adjustments, etc., whatever temperature you've cooked it to in the past should still work.
Here's my guess at what is going wrong in your particular situation - the humidity levels! You mentioned that it is 40 degrees outside. Is that Farenheit or Celsius? Either way, I guess the biggest question is, "what's the humidity?"
The biggest problem that results in sticky rock candy or hard candy is humidity. If the humidity levels are over 35% you run the risk of sticky candy.
You may want to try to salvage the candy by reheating it either on the stove or in the oven, but I can't guarantee it would work.
Depending on how sticky your candy really is, you may just want to try taking a small amount and tossing it with some powdered sugar to see if that will eliminate the sticky problem without creating a gooey mess.
When I make boiled hard candy ("hard tack"), I always just quickly snip the candy in pieces before it sets and toss it with powdered sugar. It's worked well for me, but if your candy is really super sticky, it may not.
Give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you.