Where to take candy-making lessons?

fudge closeupEric asks via Facebook:

Is there any place around to take candy making lessons? I'd like to learn how to make a proper fudge, or Opera Cream.

Got a suggestion for Eric? Share, please!

Earlier on AOA: A sampling of cooking classes

photo: Flickr user Chocolate Reviews

Comments

The Chocolate Gecko offered a class before Valentine's Day. You could contact them to see if they will be doing that again.

The Arts Center in Troy has a class coming up on Easter treats (March 25) that includes chocolates.

Thanks- I checked out the Arts Center page and it is very uninformative. It could be anything from serious candy making to melting stuff in the microwave. I really miss the old Knowledge Network- they had excellent specific descriptions of what you were going to learn in a class.

Not exactly what you were asking for but class called Making Candy at Different Drummers Kitchen in Stuyvesant Plaza in April....

http://www.differentdrummerskitchen.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=5162#details

That's a step in the right direction.

Confectionery House in Troy no longer offers lessons, but they might know who is offering credible classes.

http://alloveralbany.com/archive/2009/04/02/confectionary-house

don't underestimate the power of Joy. The Joy of Cooking, that is...older versions of the cookbook (1997 and before) have sections on candy making, or at least cooking temperatures/stages (ie hard ball, soft ball etc).

Eric -- Rebecca is right. At least for something like fudge, you can use a basic cookbook or find plenty of recipes online. Fudge is pretty forgiving and does not take expensive ingredients. Experiment on your own with basic chocolate fudge and then you can fool around with add-ins like nuts or peanut butter, or other flavors. And you can buy a candy thermometer (not that expensive), but I used to do the method Rebecca cites for "soft ball" or "hard ball" stages (you drop a small amount of the cooked sugar mixture in cold water and the way it coagulates -- into a soft ball or a hard, crackly mass -- tells you if you've heated the sugar to the right temperature). Fudge is not rocket science. Even truffles are not that hard.

I don't actually know what "opera creams" are, but for fancier chocolate making (including tempering chocolate), you might get a chocolate maker to give you a 1-hour tutorial for not too expensive a price.

Thanks for the advice, but I've tried making fudge. Repeatedly, and using Joy of Cooking and other books. Mine tends to turn into a grainy lumpy mess. I know there are short cuts (Karo) but I want to get a little guidance in the procedure. I can make good meringues, Divinity and icings but fudge escapes me.

Opera Cream is similar to fudge- you boil sugar syrup and at just the right stage you add cream and knead. The result is a smooth melting substance most often used as a center for coated candies.

Eric- The Easter Confections class at The Arts Center will use melted chocolate primarily to do dipped items and molds. I would be happy to connect you with the instructor, Sue Dunkel, to get more information on specifically what the class will cover, if you're interested. I actually took a chocolate truffles class with here in the fall and she is very good at showing both the "easy" way and the more traditional methods.
My email is lauren@artscenteronline.org

My Aunt Eva married the Brazilian Ambassador . She gave my mom the recipie for Brigaderos.
This is the best chocolate desert i ever had . There are
three ingredients one can of condensed milk, three tablespoons of unsalted butter, and three tablespoons of coccoa powder. Stir in a sauce pan til blended. Let cool. When cool roll in your hands (wearing surgical , buttered gloves). I roll the fudge in chopped pecans, cocoa, sprinkles, or coconut. refridgerate and serve

There is Candyland Confectionary in East Greenbush. They offer classes, but I haven't taken one. I have shopped there, and it's a great place to go if you are into candy making. One tip, make sure no water or steam gets into your chocolate. That could be causing the graininess.

@ Rebecca: FYI, the latest 2006 edition of the Joy of Cooking has retained all of the candy-making information and recipes from earlier editions. These recipes were re-tested in 2005 to ensure quality. Gingered Chocolate Clusters are my personal, easy-to-make favorite (dark chocolate, candied ginger, and macadamia nuts).

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