Before making candy, check your candy thermometer for accuracy by placing it in water and bringing the water to a boil. The thermometer should register 212 degrees F (100 degrees C). If the reading is higher or lower, take the difference into account when testing the temperature of a syrup.
Thread Stage – Binding agent for fruit pastes
A spoonful of sugar drizzled over a plate forms a fine, thin thread.
223-234 degrees F (106-112 degrees C)
Soft-ball Stage – Fondant, Fudge
A spoonful of sugar dropped into ice water forms a ball that flattens immediately when you press it between your fingers.
234-240 degrees F (112-116 degrees C)
Firm-ball Stage – Caramel candy
A spoonful dropped into ice water forms a ball that stays firm and pliable but is still sticky between your fingers.
244-248 degrees F (118-120 degrees C)
Hard-ball Stage – Marshmallow
A spoonful dropped into ice water forms a ball that is sticky but not pliable.
250-266 degrees F (121-130 degrees C)
Soft-crack Stage – Taffy
Dropped into ice water, the syrup can then be stretched between your fingers and separated into elastic strands.
270-290 degrees F (132-143 degrees C)
Hard-crack Stage – Barley sugar
Dropped into water, the syrup will solidify.
300-310 degrees F (149-154 degrees C)
Light Caramel Stage – Glazes, Coating Agent
Poured onto a white plate the syrup will be honey-golden in color.
320-335 degrees F (160-170 degrees C)
Dark Caramel Stage – Glazes, Coating Agent
Poured onto a white plate the syrup will be deep reddish amber in color.
Up to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)