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Making humbug candy

Humbugs are traditional hard-boiled sweets available in the predominantly Commonwealth countries. They are usually peppermint flavoured and have two different coloured stripes.

Hard-boiled sweets are one of the oldest industrialized confectionery products and are primarily made up of a mixture of sugar, water, glucose, glycerin, colour and flavouring. This mixture is heated to temperatures of above 150°C.

The final texture of the sweet candy depends on the sugar concentration. As the mixture is heated, and boils, the water evaporates, the sugar concentration increases, and the boiling point rises. A given temperature corresponds to a particular sugar concentration. In general, higher temperatures and greater sugar concentrations result in hard, brittle candies.

When the sugar mixture is heated, it melts and becomes a workable amorphous mass that can be pulled (aerated), rolled, and fashioned by stretching and folding many times. The stripes originate from a smaller piece of coloured mixture which is folded into the main mixture.

As it cools, the mixture becomes thicker and begins to hold its shape. The mixture is finally rolled into a long, thin cylinder and sliced into segments with rounded ends, or else pinched cylinders with a 90-degree turn between one end and the other (shaped like a pyramid with rounded edges) before it is completely cooled.

Once completely cooled, the sugar crystals remain together and form the solid hard candy.