Confectionary candy coating is very similar to chocolate and is ideal for novice candy-makers because it is easy to use and doesn’t require tempering like real chocolate. Candy coating has many different names and there are many different brands including Merckens, Clausen, Make N’ Mold and Peter’s. It is generally sold in 16 ounce bags, which contain approximately three cups.
Candy coatings substitute cocoa powder and vegetable oil for the chocolate liquor found in real chocolate. White and colored candy coatings combine sugar, vegetable oil and milk and generally have a vanilla-like flavor. However, candy coating also comes in peanut butter, birthday cake, salted caramel, wedding cake, dark white and dark mint, chocolate truffle and other fun flavors.
Candy coating is great for dipping, molding, and barks. Simply melt and use. Good quality candy coating tastes delicious and is an excellent alternative to real chocolate. However when making brownies, cakes, mousse, or other baked treats do not use candy coatings. For best results, only use real chocolate as an ingredient in recipes.
Melting Candy Coating
Candy wafers are easy to melt. The simplest method is to use your microwave. Place wafers in a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave for 40 seconds. It may not appear like the wafers have melted, but when you stir them you will see they are soft and will likely leave melted chocolate on your spoon.
Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Now it will likely become more noticeable that the wafers are melting.
Continue microwaving only a few seconds at a time, stirring each time, until wafers are nearly but not completely melted. Notice in the picture there are still wafers in the bowl, but we did not microwave the wafers again.
The remaining wafers will melt as you stir. Do not continue microwaving the wafers until they are completely melted or you may scorch them.
You can also use a double boiler to melt candy coating. Bring water to nearly boiling in the bottom double boiler pan. Take pan off stove. Put wafers in the top pan of the double boiler. Place the pan over the bottom pan containing the hot water. Stir until the wafers are fluid. Never have the top pan over the bottom pan when the bottom pan is on the stove. Too much heat, water or steam ruins the candy coating.
Paramount crystals are a great thing to have on hand when using candy coatings. They help thin out the coating giving it a nice creamy consistency and they have virtually no flavor. Add a tablespoon of paramount crystals at a time, stir until they melt completely and continue to add crystals until the desired consistency is reached. Paramount crystals are especially good to use in colored coatings or coatings more than 4 months old.
Flavoring Candy Coatings
Concentrated flavors or oils are perfect for flavoring candy coating. We recommend adding 12-15 drops per pound. Because the flavor or oil is not diluted in water or alcohol like many weaker flavors, these concentrated flavors are the only flavorings safe for chocolate or candy coatings. Never add water or alcohol based products such as an extract to candy coating, as it may thicken or ‘seize’ it.
Candy writers are candy coating in a small tube. They are handy when just a little color is needed, like for example in the picture below.
Candy writers make painting molds, decorating cakes, cookies, and candies quick and easy. Melting candy writers is similar to melting candy coatings. Snip the end of the tube and microwave the candy writer for a few seconds at a time, kneading in between each time until the candy is fluid. You may also use an electric skillet or heating pad by turning to the lowest possible setting. Line the skillet with six or seven dry dish towels. Place the candy writers in the skillet or heating pad until fluid. Be aware that these methods takes approximately one to two hours. If the candy is melted, but still not coming out, simply use a pin to clean and unclog the tip.
Candy coating come in a wide variety of colors. However if the color you need is not one of them, you can color coating to reach the desired shade. You may either blend with colors of coating together or add candy color, which is oil based. Most colorings are water based and may ruin candy. AmeriColor Soft Gels when combined with Flo-Coat may also be used. To color white candy coating with AmeriColor Soft Gels add 1½ tablespoons of Flo-Coat and 1 teaspoon of the Soft Gel to one pound of coating. The Flo-Coat will evenly disperse the Soft Gel Paste into the coating, resulting in a smooth and pourable consistency. If the coating begins to set, more Flo-Coat may be added without harming the coating, regardless of the quantity used to maintain the desired consistency.
When trying to make a color darker, start with a lighter shade of the color. For example, if you are trying to make Royal Blue, start with the blue candy coating and add blue candy color. A word of caution though, too much coloring can give the candy a bitter taste. You must use an oil based candy color to color the candy coating. When adding candy color to the candy coating, it may thicken. Add paramount crystals to thin. As mentioned above, we recommend one tablespoon to start, but add enough to make the candy more fluid. Add as little coloring as possible. Here are some suggestions for colorings.
Burgundy: red candy coating, pink and blue candy color
Fuchsia: pink candy coating, pink and touch of blue candy color
Light pink: white candy coating, and enough pink candy coating to make desired shade
Mauve: pink candy coating, with a touch of blue candy color and a couple of cocoa lite candy coating pieces.
Lavender: one pound white candy coating, 1/4 pound orchid candy coating
Light blue: one pound white candy coating, 1/4 pound blue candy coating
Navy: one pound blue candy coating, blue and touch of black candy color
Hunter green: green candy coating, green and touch of black candy color
Gold non-metallic: yellow candy coating and yellow candy color
Keeping Candy Coatings Melted
Turn an electric skillet on the lowest possible setting. Line with six or seven dry dish towels. Place bowl in skillet. This method works wonderfully. You can make candy all day without remelting. (In the picture below we are keeping the candy coating in the squeeze bottle melted, while using the skillet to melt the other coatings. Multitasking!)
Using a squeeze bottle is a great way to fill molds with your candy coating. Simply pour the melted coating into a squeeze bottle. When not using the squeeze bottle, keep it warm by using the above method. When finished, take the cap off and wash. Dump all excess coating onto wax paper as it may be reused. Place squeeze bottle in the freezer for a few minutes to set up coating. When set up, squeeze the bottle and dump out all the excess candy coating.
Storing Candy Coatings
Keep coating in an air-tight container, in a cool, dry place for up to four months. Do not refrigerate. If the candy coating becomes difficult to melt, add paramount crystals.