Freeze-dried candy is a fantastic way to breathe new life into your favorite sweet treats. Have you ever wondered how to make freeze-dried candy that’s crisp and bursting with flavor? Well, look no further, as we delve into the fascinating world of freeze-drying candy, exploring the process, the best candies to use, and how you can enjoy these crunchy delights.
What is Freeze-Dried Candy?
Before we dive into the delightful world of freeze-dried candy-making, let’s understand what freeze-dried candy actually is. Freeze-dried candy is any type of candy that undergoes a unique preservation process known as freeze-drying. This process involves freezing the candy to extremely low temperatures and then subjecting it to a vacuum, effectively removing all the moisture.
This extraordinary method results in candy with an entirely different texture and flavor profile. Imagine your favorite candy transforming from its original chewy or gummy state into a crispy and crunchy delight. The magic of freeze-drying makes this possible.
What Happens to Candy When You Freeze Dry It?
The freeze-drying process works wonders on candy, particularly those with high sugar content and low moisture levels. When you place candy in a freeze dryer, it undergoes a remarkable transformation. The high sugar content in the candy, combined with the vacuum and low temperatures, alters the crystalline structure of the sugar, creating a unique texture.
For example, Skittles, which are primarily sugar with a touch of starch for chewiness, become crunchy and popcorn-like after freeze-drying. The hard candy shell remains intact, but the inside puffs up, resulting in a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.
Where to Buy Freeze-Dried Candy
If you’re not ready to venture into making your own freeze-dried candy, there are plenty of options to buy these delightful treats. Depending on your location, you can find freeze-dried candy at fairs, festivals, farmer’s markets, and even local stores. Small-scale producers often set up tables at these events, offering a wide variety of freeze-dried candies.
Online platforms like Etsy have also become a popular marketplace for freeze-dried candy sellers. You can explore a plethora of candy options, from Skittles to marshmallows, all at your fingertips.
For those looking to buy freeze-dried candy in bulk, consider reaching out to a local producer or someone who freeze dries candy. While it may cost more than making it yourself, the convenience of having freeze-dried candy readily available can be a game-changer, especially for businesses like ice cream shops.
How to Make Freeze-Dried Candy
If you’re ready to embark on the journey of making your own freeze-dried candy, the process is relatively straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
Pre-freeze your candy: Start by placing your candy on a baking sheet or tray and freeze it until it’s solid. This pre-freezing step helps speed up the freeze-drying process.
Prepare your freeze dryer: Turn on your freeze dryer and select the custom cycle. Most freeze dryers have a special “candy mode” that optimizes the process for candy. Set the freezing temperature to 0°F and the drying temperature to 135°F.
Load the candy: Place your frozen candy on the freeze dryer trays, ensuring they are evenly spaced. It’s crucial to leave enough room for expansion during the process.
Begin the freeze-drying cycle: Seal the freeze dryer chamber and start the process. It typically takes about four hours for candy to be properly freeze-dried.
Check for dryness: After the cycle is complete, check the candy’s texture. It should be dry and crisp, not sticky or chewy. If needed, you can run another cycle to ensure thorough drying.
Store your freeze-dried candy: Once your candy is ready, store it in airtight containers to maintain its crispness and flavor. Adding desiccant packets can help absorb any residual moisture and extend its shelf life.
Best Candy To Freeze Dry
Now that you know how to make freeze-dried candy, let’s explore some of the best candies to freeze dry:
Skittles are a popular choice for freeze-drying due to their high sugar content. They transform into crispy, intensely flavored delights that are a hit among candy enthusiasts.
Freeze-Dried Jolly Ranchers
Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers expand into massive, crunchy bursts of flavor when freeze-dried. They’re not only delicious but also visually appealing.
Freeze-Dried Peppermint Candies
Peppermint candies take on an intense minty flavor and a satisfyingly crispy texture when freeze-dried. They offer a unique and refreshing taste experience.
Freeze-Dried Gummy Bears
Gummy bears hold their shape well during freeze-drying, resulting in a crunchy texture while retaining their fruity flavors. They come in a variety of flavors, making them a versatile choice.
Freeze-Dried Gummy Worms
Similar to gummy bears, gummy worms maintain their shape and offer a satisfying crunch after freeze-drying. Some varieties even come with a sour coating for an extra zing.
Freeze-Dried Nerds Clusters (& Ropes)
Nerds gummy clusters combine the best of both worlds with a crunchy outer layer and a puffed gummy interior. They are visually intriguing and make for excellent gifts.
Freeze-Dried Peach Rings
For those who love peach-flavored candy, freeze-dried peach rings offer a unique twist. They maintain their flavor while becoming delightfully crisp.
Freeze-Dried Caramel M&Ms
Caramel-filled M&Ms undergo a remarkable transformation during freeze-drying. The caramel interior puffs up, creating a crunchy candy with an intense flavor.
Freeze-Dried Milk Duds
Chocolate-coated caramel milk duds retain their original flavors while offering a delightful contrast between the crispy exterior and the caramel interior.
Freeze-Dried Charleston Chew
Charleston Chew, an old-fashioned candy, becomes a crunchy, nougat-filled delight when freeze-dried. It’s a nostalgic treat with a new twist.
Twix bars experience a unique change during freeze-drying. The caramel puffs up, resulting in a crunchy layer atop the chocolate-covered cookie base.
Experiment with different candies to discover your personal favorites, and enjoy the crunchy, flavorful world of freeze-dried candy.
Freeze-drying candy is a remarkable process that elevates your favorite sweets to a whole new level. With the right candy selection and a bit of patience, you can create crunchy, intensely flavored treats that are sure to delight your taste buds. Whether you choose to make your own freeze-dried candy or explore the wide range of options available for purchase, you’re in for a sweet and crispy adventure. So go ahead, savor the magic of freeze-dried candy, and enjoy the delightful transformation of your beloved treats.