Sugar goes through several distinct steps as it gets hotter. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can use the traditional method. Dip a teaspoon into the hot syrup and drop a small amount of syrup into a cup filled with very cold water.
Stage Syrup Temperature Result When Dropped into Very Cold Water
Thread 230 to 234'F. Syrup forms a single 2-inch thread.
Soft-ball 234 to 240'F. Syrup forms a soft ball that flattens when
Removed from water.
Firm-ball 244 to 248'F Syrup forms a firm ball that does not flatten
When removed from water
Hard-ball 250 to 266'F. Syrup forms a ball that is hard enough to
hold its shape, yet is pliable.
Soft-crack 270 to 290'F Syrup separates into threads that are hard
but not brittle.
Hard-crack 300 to 310'F Syrup separates into threads that are hard
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