Bee candy recipe

Having printed and studied all the bee candy references in the archives, we decided to attempt to take a fudgy or fondant-like candy. We did not wish to use corn syrup as we have some question about all corn syrup processes being good for bees. We did not wish to include cream of tartar for similar reasons. We began with the "12345" formula, using a small amount of vinegar (volatilized in process) to break down the sugar. We found the 1:5 water to sugar ratio too quick for the response of our thermometer in small batches, and backed off to 1:4, which doesn't change the end result, but slows the process. Our first pour, on a greased metal sheet, yielded a suitably friable cake but one too brittle for easy handling. Cooling the sheet with snow worsened the brittleness. Pouring onto wax paper on a towel gave a nice cake, but too thin. Cooling to 200F prior to pouring increased cake thickness.

In conclusion, to obtain satisfactory cakes we:

  1. Use 1 part water to 4 parts granulated sugar.

  2. Add 1/4 tsp. per vinegar per pound of sugar.

  3. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until boiling commences.

  4. Boil without stirring for 3 minutes, covered.

  5. Insert thermometer, and boil uncovered until 234F is reached.

  6. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to 200F.

  7. Whip with whisk until whiteness occurs.

  8. Pour (QUICKLY!) onto waxed paper having a towel beneath.

  9. Allow to cool undisturbed.

  10. Remove waxed paper, and store each cake in a plastic bag.

The cakes thus made can be handled as plates, but are fudgy. They are totally white with whiter areas inside. Tiny crystals shine from a broken edge of a cake. The waxed paper is readily removed before storage. If the towel is fluffy the wax paper depresses limiting the width of the cake.

We did try to make the candy without stirring which yielded a transparent gel that was extremely sticky. We did try to recycle our earlier failures, but they were crumbly until we added vinegar again, after which they behaved as new sugar.

The bees seem to like these cakes.

Bill Morong
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