The holiday season seems to approach more rapidly with each year. For professional confectioners and bakers, it feels like the holidays hit at lightning speed. Do not fret, we are dishing our top specialty ingredients and accessories to make the holiday baking and candy-making season even sweeter [pun intended]! Check out our favorites below so you can plan ahead for a busy season.
Hard Candy Mixes
LorAnn’s Hard Candy Mixes make holiday confections easier than ever with their perfectly pre-measured candy mixes, conveniently packaged in a single use bag for the home consumer. Each mix is designed to work with 1-dram (1 teaspoon) of LorAnn Super-Strength Flavors and yields over 1lb. of hard candy. LorAnn offers both a regular hard candy mix as well as a sugar-free hard candy mix to accommodate special dietary needs. Also available in bulk-sizes for food service, distributors, and manufacturers.
Shipping delays are something we can all relate to during the busy shopping season. LorAnn’s Desiccant Packs are the perfect solution for ensuring both your holiday creations stay fresh during their journey. Our food-grade desiccant packs are specially designed for absorbing moisture in tightly sealed packages, storage and shipping containers, protecting products from moisture damage. Packets are made from high-quality, coated paper for ultimate moisture absorption and even heat resistance.
Invertase is the secret ingredient for cream-centered confections like mint patties, truffles, bonbons, cordials, chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate-cream eggs, and more. Creamy confections are often highly desirable for their rich taste and creamy texture. Invertase is a naturally occurring enzyme extracted from yeast and is used to convert sucrose into a liquid. When added to sucrose (table sugar) or foods that include sucrose, invertase splits the sugar into glucose and fructose, to transform it into a liquid form. It is commonly called “invert sugar” or “inverted sugar syrup.” Inverted sugar is frequently used in commercial candy recipes because it keeps treats fresh for longer periods of time.
Creating your own chocolates with liquid centers is easy. Start by making a batch of confectionery fondant and then allow it to rest at room temperature for 24 hours before using. Once you have your prepared, rested fondant, gently rewarm over a double boiler, taking care not to exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in your invertase and any flavoring. From here, you can pour the fondant into starch molds. Once firm, the fondant pieces can be dipped or enrobed in tempered chocolate. Over time, invertase will help break down the sugars, which will soften the fondant, yielding a creamy, buttery, and sometimes liquid filling. The process can take anywhere from 3-10 days so plan ahead.
Creating eye-catching, sweet treats this holiday season is a breeze when you have a dipping tool set on hand. With LorAnn’s Dipping Tool-Set, this 2-piece set includes a fork and spiral tool, you can easily and securely dip fruits, candies, nuts and more into melted chocolate, cheeses, or other coatings. Recipe Tip: Flavor your chocolate creations with Super-Strength Flavors appropriate for use in chocolate to give your creation an extra surprise.
Cream of Tartar
Rather than using liquid corn syrup, try Cream of Tartar in your hard candy. This is an especially popular ingredient in old-fashioned candy recipes. Cream of Tartar will help prevent sugar crystallization in candy just like corn syrup. No one wants to have large crunchy sugar crystals in their holiday hard candy! Cream of Tartar is the perfect solution to aid in smoother, glassy candies. When it comes to baked goods, Cream of Tartar will be your best friend when it comes to building your best gingerbread houses. Using Cream Tartar in your gingerbread icing helps create the edible glue that holds your strong and sturdy gingerbread house together. That way you don’t have to worry about it falling apart. Plus, use the icing to create cutesy icicles on your house.
Soy Lecithin in Baked Goods, Buttery Candies, Chocolates, and Hard Candy
Lecithin in Baked Goods
Not only does lecithin extend shelf-life, just a touch homogenizes the ingredients in your favorite dough recipes, yielding smoother, more elastic dough, resulting in a lighter, chewier finished product. If you enjoy homemade bread or ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls at brunch, lecithin is a must! The usage for baked goods is just 1 teaspoon per cup of flour. Because lecithin loves fat, you will mix the lecithin into your fat or oil prior to adding to the batch. There is no need to adjust any of your other ingredients, cooking time or temperature. Since such a small amount is used, it won’t alter the flavor of your treats.
Using Lecithin in Buttery Candies or Chocolates
Just like lecithin mixes well in baked goods, it also improves mixability in chocolates which can help improve the texture of buttery candies and chocolates, while protecting the flavor. Lecithin will also keep buttery candies fresher longer because it slows down the oxidation process of the fat.
Using Lecithin in Hard Candy
Not all flavors respond the same when added to cooked sugars. There are many oil-soluble flavors that are a bit heavier and more difficult to fully incorporate. The flavor may pool in the molds or float to the tops of the candy, yielding an uneven flavor throughout. To help these heavier flavors stay mixed, stir a small amount of lecithin into the boiled candy syrup. Since lecithin is an emulsifying agent, it helps keep oils evenly mixed and emulsified throughout the batch.
We recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon of lecithin per cup of sugar.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
With holiday season also comes cold and flu season. Use Ascorbic Acid also known as Vitamin C in your homemade gummy recipes. Implementing Vitamin C into your diet can help support a strong immune system and aid in cold prevention and fighting off infections.