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The Homeschool Magazine: The life of a product reviewer is sometimes difficult. So many great products must be sampled to bring you, our faithful readers, helpful information. Reviewing Candymaking: A Guide for Home Confectioners by Sharyn Pak required great sacrifice on my family’s part. Don’t get me wrong: we all very much enjoyed watching the DVD that shows beginning candymakers how to make wonderful confectionaries! Sharyn Pak in very professional and personable in her presentation. Her demonstrations are clear and make the process accessible for even a novice cook. But after watching the mouthwatering demonstrations in the DVD, we felt compelled, dare I say duty-bound, to try some of the recipes. After all, it would be unfair to our dear readers not to personally try these recipes and report the results. The sacrifice was great, but you are worth it!
Candymaking covers making dipped and drizzled candies, clusters, turtles and bark, molded candies, peanut brittle, filled cookies, lollipops, and saltwater taffy. Sharyn does a marvelous job of explaining he process of each type of candymaking. She demonstrates each step with enthusiasm and care. The DVD includes a detailed list of needed tools and materials broken down by category of candy, not by individual recipe. The presentation could be enhanced by the inclusion of a file with each recipe to make the process simpler, especially when you come back to the recipe later.
We tried several of the recipes with nearly flawless results. Sharyn uses a warm, friendly, and encouraging teaching style to demonstrate step-by-step how to make each delicacy. She carefully explains the necessary tools, what is involved in the techniques, how to vary the craft for a range of results, how to present the finished product in a festive manner, and she even adds some interesting information about the history of candymaking. Most of the recipes are appropriate for beginners to advanced cooks, although kids would require some parental supervision. Even young children could help with many of the projects, and, of course, they could help enjoy the delicious results.
My family enjoyed watching Candymaking and learning some new methods for making these ancient delights, be we especially enjoyed that Sharyn makes the process accessible for mere mortals such as ourselves! I never would have attempted lollipops or saltwater taffy—these were projects reserved for Mary Poppins and Betty Crocker. But now that I’ve been inspired by Candymaking, you should see the lovely confections coming from my kitchen.
Video Librarian: Sharyn Pak, host of several crafting titles, turns her attention to candymaking in this program likely to appeal to children as well as adults. Many of the treats created here require molds and ingredients from candy supply stores, but there’s also a section on tempering high-quality chocolate for dipping bonbons. Techniques start out simple, such as coating store-bought sandwich cookies or pretzels in chocolate or colored coatings melted in the microwave oven (who knew that Nutter Butters dipped in yellow or white coating could turn into ghosts and snowmen?). From there, Pak moves on to caramel-pecan turtles and chocolate bark, molded confections and dessert shells (using craft molds and pre-packaged Wilton Candy Melts discs), peanut brittle, and lollipops. Most interesting is the section on filled candies, which includes instructions for making peanut butter cups. Pak even makes pulling saltwater taffy look easy. Because candymaking involves heat and often hot, sticky ingredients, children will need to be supervised. Featuring PDF lists of ingredients, tools, and materials, this sure-to-be-popular how-to is recommended. (3 out of 4 stars.)
Midwest Book Review: Sharyn Pak is the host of Candymaking, a user-friendly DVD tutorial to the the joy of making seven different types of candy: dipped/drizzled candy, clusters/turtles/bark, molded candies, peanut brittle, filled candies, lollipops, and saltwater taffy. No expensive materials are required outside of standard kitchen utensils and possibly some candy molds. An excellent “how-to” demonstrative video for cooks of all skill and experience levels, Candymaking is highly recommended to candy lovers everywhere—and as a resource for making unique, sweet-toothed gifts with the perfect homemade touch!
Library Journal: Craft expert Sharyn Pak believes anyone can make candy at home, and she sets out to prove this theory with very successful results. In clear and concise steps, Pak demonstrates the skills needed to create seven different types of candies—from basic dipped treats to molded chocolates to taffy—frequently repeating a step as needed to reinforce a particular skill or concept. The menu allows viewers easy access to the various sections; the production values are simple yet solid. While the confections viewers learn to make may be more Good Housekeeping than Gourmet, Candymaking is still a terrific introduction to the art of candymaking, and Pak’s latest crafty effort would be a stand-out title for those who like to sweeten up their table.
Homeschool.com: I am a soap maker and so have lots and lots of cute little molds that I picked up at thrift stores but have never even used for soap. I thought they would be useful for candies but had never taken the time to do so.
The setting is a kitchen with a colorful backdrop. You can clearly see each step, so you know what to expect and what to look for when making candy. Needed items are introduced before the project, so you know what they look like. You can also print a copy of what you need from your computer.Most of the projects involve using a microwave or stove. If you do any baking, you will most likely have many of the needed items, but you may want to check out the candy section of your craft store for some of the items recommended. You will need a candy thermometer for some of the cooked candies.
Projects include melting chocolate or some other candy base and pouring it into a mold, dipping cookies and other food items into melted chocolate or candy base, drizzling melted chocolate on candy or food, making filled chocolates, cooking peanut brittle, making lollipops using either a lollipop mold or by pouring directly onto waxed paper, and cooking and pulling taffy. Different types of flavorings are discussed and used. You also learn how and why to temper chocolate for some of these recipes. There are beautiful displays of the candies made. Ideas for wrapping and gift-giving are covered, and these are all great starting points. I could imagine using some of these ideas for birthday parties and holidays. Between each project, there is a short snippet about some aspect of candymaking.
Overall, this is a great DVD to use with your children in order to make different candies. You can spend your money on cute little molds instead of paying exorbitant prices for the same kind of candy at those fancy candy stores.
Throughout human history one thing remains constant and that's our insatiable sweet tooth. Candy is one way we satisfy those cravings. But candymaking is also a fun craft. In this program you'll learn the basics of candymaking and how to create seven different types of candy, all of which are quick to make and delicious. Craft expert (and candy-lover) Sharyn Pak demonstrates the basic process and skills necessary for candymaking and then builds upon these skills with each subsequent candy recipe.
In this program you'll learn how to make:
• Dipped and Drizzled • Saltwater Taffy
• Molded Candies • Peanut Brittle
• Filled Candies • Lollipops
•Clusters, Turtles and Bark
Host: Sharyn Pak Withers
Running time: 76 minutes