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citric acid in hard candy makes it burn

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm making hard candy; (about 2  cups of sugar) after the sugar reaches 300 degrees I dip the pan in cold water to stop the cooking.    I wait a minute and add about 1/4 teaspoon citric acid to the mix.   The citric acid seems to cause the sugar to burn within a minute or two.  I'm wondering if the sugar mix has to cool down before the citric acid can be added?

post #2 of 15
Do you have a picture of it burning? Ive honestly never seen that. Especially if your dipping the pan in cold water to stop to stop the cooking, I dont think your sugar is too hot by any means. Is your formula just sugar? Any glucose in it? How are the candies finished off? Are they pulled or just dropped? Did this happen just once, or is it something that happens to you consistently?

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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

There is glucose in the mix.  Does glucose react with citric acid?  The boiled syrup is poured into silicone moulds.   If I pour the hot syrup straight out onto a silicone mat to cool fast, it still gets that burned taste.   The problem is consistent over many trials.

post #4 of 15
Is the sugar gaining a strong caramel color? Are you sure your only taking your sugar to 300 degrees? If you do not add citric acid, will it not taste burnt? Citric acid will add (obviously) an acidic flavor to the candy, this goes well with fruit and citrus flavored hard candies. Ive honestly never seen the citric acid to be a problem in contributing to a burnt flavor. What are you boiling your sugar with? Are you using a heavy bottomed pot? Glucose and citric acid will not react in a negative way. Glucose is a common ingredient when making hard candies, as is citric acid. Where did you get your citric acid? Is it old? If you taste a small bit of it, does it have that burnt flavor you detecting? Maybe you need some fresh. Can you give a pic of your pot your using to boil?

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post #5 of 15

If you are using citric powder yes that could burn since you are well over boiling point

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post #6 of 15
Its not over the boiling point if he's cooling the pot down in cold water and waiting one minute like he says in the first post

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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'll do another boil to double check,  I'm using a copper pot lined with tin, a high end thermometer, and granular citric acid that is fresh and tastes fine.    The sugar takes on a slight caramel colour just after the citric acid is added at about 275 degrees and then the burnt taste develops.

post #8 of 15
Im inclined to say that your pot may be too thin. Can you post a pic? You shouldn't be having any caramel color at 275f. Also, are you adding the citric acid simply as an acidic component for the sugar itself (to make it easier to pull), or is it to add a sour taste to the candy? If its the latter, the citric acid can be added to hard candy after the sugar is poured out on the silpat. Just mix it in with the back of a spoon the same way would would color the pool of sugar multiple colors. Also, what kind of thermometer are you using? I know you say its high end, but just curious.

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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I did another test boil.  I used the copper pot in the pictures together with sugar, glucose,water, and regular granular citric acid.   I brought the sugar up to 300 degrees and then immediately set the pot into water to stop the boil.   At this point ( about 280 degrees) I poured out two puddles of sugar onto the Silpat; one with no citric acid, and one with citric acid mixed in.  See the discolouration in the acid sample in the pics.  The acid sample had the bitter taste of burned sugar.

 

I put the pot with the remaining sugar into a 250 degree oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Once again I poured a puddle with no acid, and a similar puddle with citric acid.    This time no discolouration of the acid sample and it was good with a nice sweet citric taste.

 

I'm pouring the sugar into high detail 2 part moulds.  The moulds don't fill well if the syrup is below 275-280 degrees so that's why I'm having this issue.  It seems that citric acid has a burn point somewhere above 250 degrees.

 

post #10 of 15

Thanks for those photos, very nice. What about making another test batch, but this time add the acid in the beginning. Dissolve it in the water at the very start and proceed with boiling to temp. Also, those are very cool molds, do you mind sharing where you got them from?

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank-you for the input Minas, appreciate it.   I'll try your latest suggestion.   I make the molds myself; it's a hobby of mine.

post #12 of 15

I am having the same issue, I tried adding the citric acid before heating and then again as soon as I pulled it off of the heat. I found the post as I was looking for answers. I have been making some great hard candy and both of my daughters and I love sour candy so I wanted to try sour apple, it's horrible, very burnt tasting and the green turned to an ugly swamp water look. As a note I also tried to make sour gummies with the citric acid with the same result, and tried a recipe I found online for a sugar/citric mix that is very similar to hard candy that you pulverize to make a sour coating, it too "burnt". I would really like to figure out how to correct and still reach the "Hard Crack" temp without the burnt taste. I'm using my mothers old very thick candy cooking pot (as a note). Maybe using a liquid citric acid? Or I read Malic acid? any thoughts?

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

When boiled sugar comes off the stove at 300 degrees it is too hot to add citric acid.   I've been having the same problem and found that if the pan is cooled in water for a second and let sit in a 250 oven for 5-10 minutes the sugar is still liquid, and citric acid can be added without burning.

post #14 of 15

I've been having the same discoloration. I wanted to make some key lime suckers for my cousin's kids for Christmas, but they came out tasting so burnt and bitter and slightly brownish-green (a not very appetizing color!). 

 

I will give the 250 C oven trick a try. I'd love to be able to make some citrus candies than have a little bit of sour to them.

post #15 of 15

I ruined two batches before I realized it was the citric acid burning. I followed the advice here and added the acid at about 255ºF degrees and the batch is the best so far. Thanks for the tips.

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