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Chinese Candy Recipe: How to Make Traditional Chinese Sweets at Home

Chinese candy comes in a variety of flavours and textures, from sweet and fruity to nutty and savoury. Making your own candy at home can be a fun and rewarding experience, and it's a great way to impress your friends and family with your cooking skills.

A table filled with traditional Chinese candy ingredients and tools: sugar, maltose, food coloring, molds, and a wok for cooking

Chinese candy has a long history and is often associated with special occasions like Chinese New Year. Many traditional Chinese candies are believed to bring good luck and prosperity, making them a popular gift during the holiday season. Some candies are also sold by street vendors and are a favourite snack among locals. With the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, more and more people are discovering the joys of Chinese candy and sharing their favourite recipes online.

To make Chinese candy at home, you'll need some essential ingredients like sugar, honey, nuts, and seeds. Some recipes also call for the use of seafood, such as dried shrimp or squid, which can add a unique flavour and texture to your candy. You'll also need some basic tools and techniques, like a candy thermometer and a non-stick pan, to ensure that your candy turns out perfectly. Once you've mastered the basics, you can experiment with different flavours and presentations to create your own signature candy recipes.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese candy has a long history and is often associated with special occasions like Chinese New Year.
  • Essential ingredients for making Chinese candy include sugar, honey, nuts, and seeds, and seafood can also be used for added flavour and texture.
  • Making your own Chinese candy at home can be a fun and rewarding experience, and with some basic tools and techniques, you can create your own signature recipes.

Historical Significance of Chinese Candies

A traditional Chinese candy recipe being prepared in a bustling kitchen, with colorful ingredients and traditional cooking utensils on display

Chinese candies have a long-standing history that dates back to the Song Dynasty. These candies were initially made using honey, malt, and fruit extracts. The candy-making process has since evolved, and new flavors and ingredients have been incorporated. Candies have become an essential part of Chinese culture, especially during festivals and celebrations.

Song Dynasty Origins

During the Song Dynasty, Chinese candies were made using honey and malt. These candies were used to treat illnesses and were believed to have healing properties. They were also given as gifts to show appreciation and respect. This tradition has continued to this day, and candies are still given as gifts during Chinese New Year and other celebrations.

Candies and Chinese Festivals

Chinese candies are an integral part of Chinese festivals, especially during Chinese New Year. The Tray of Togetherness is a common feature during Chinese New Year, and it contains a variety of candies. The candies in the tray are believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.

In addition to the Tray of Togetherness, Chinese candies are also given as gifts during weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations. They are a symbol of appreciation and respect, and they show that the giver wishes the recipient good luck and prosperity.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Candy

A table with bowls of sugar, corn syrup, water, and flavorings. A pot on a stove, a candy thermometer, and molds for shaping the candy

When it comes to making Chinese candy, there are a few essential ingredients that you will need to have on hand. Here are the main ingredients that you will need to create delicious Chinese candy.

Choosing the Right Sugar

Sugar is the main ingredient in most candy recipes, and it is no different when it comes to Chinese candy. There are many different types of sugar that you can use, including white granulated sugar, brown sugar, and rock sugar. Brown sugar is a good choice if you want a deeper, richer flavour, while rock sugar is perfect for making hard candies.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are often used in Chinese candy recipes to add texture and flavour. Some of the most commonly used nuts and seeds include sesame seeds, walnuts, and peanuts. These ingredients can be toasted to bring out their natural flavour, and they can also be ground up to create a smooth paste.

The Role of Maltose and Corn Syrup

Maltose and corn syrup are two ingredients that are often used in Chinese candy recipes to help create a smooth, chewy texture. Maltose is a type of sugar that is made from malted barley, and it is often used in recipes for taffy and caramel. Corn syrup is a type of sweetener that is made from corn starch, and it is often used in recipes for hard candies and lollipops.

If you are looking to add a unique twist to your Chinese candy recipe, you could consider using seafood as an ingredient. Dried shrimp or squid can be used to add a salty, umami flavour to your candy, and they can be finely chopped or ground up to create a paste. However, it is important to note that seafood should only be used in certain types of candy, and it may not be suitable for all recipes.

Popular Chinese Candy Recipes

A colorful array of traditional Chinese candies displayed on a bamboo tray, including sesame brittle, hawthorn flakes, and maltose candy

If you're looking to make some delicious Chinese candy at home, here are a few popular recipes to try out.

Making Bing Tanghulu

Bing Tanghulu is a traditional Chinese candy made from hawthorn fruit that is skewered and coated in a sugar syrup. To make it, you'll need:

  • Hawthorn fruit
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Skewers

First, wash and dry the hawthorn fruit. Then, skewer the fruit onto wooden sticks. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water to make a sugar syrup. Heat the syrup until it reaches the hard crack stage (around 150°C). Dip the skewered fruit into the syrup, making sure to coat them evenly. Allow the candy to cool and harden before serving.

For a seafood twist, you can try adding some dried seaweed flakes to the sugar syrup for a salty-sweet flavour.

Crafting Chinese Sesame Candy

Chinese sesame candy is a simple candy made from toasted sesame seeds and sugar syrup. To make it, you'll need:

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sugar
  • Water

First, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until they are fragrant and golden brown. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water to make a sugar syrup. Heat the syrup until it reaches the hard ball stage (around 120°C). Stir in the toasted sesame seeds and mix well. Pour the mixture into a greased pan and allow it to cool and harden before cutting into pieces.

For a seafood twist, you can try adding some chopped dried shrimp to the sesame seed mixture for a savoury flavour.

Chinese Date Walnut Candy

Chinese date walnut candy is a chewy candy made from dried dates and walnuts. To make it, you'll need:

  • Dried dates
  • Walnuts
  • Honey

First, pit the dried dates and chop them finely. Chop the walnuts into small pieces. In a saucepan, heat honey until it is hot and runny. Add the chopped dates and walnuts to the honey and stir well. Pour the mixture into a greased pan and allow it to cool and harden before cutting into pieces.

For a seafood twist, you can try adding some chopped dried squid to the mixture for a salty-sweet flavour.

Tools and Techniques

A table with various tools and ingredients for making Chinese candy, including a mixing bowl, spatula, sugar, corn syrup, and flavorings

Candy Thermometer Use

When making Chinese candy, using a candy thermometer is essential to ensure that you reach the correct temperature for the candy to set properly. A candy thermometer is a type of thermometer that clips onto the side of your pan and measures the temperature of your candy as it cooks.

To use a candy thermometer, simply clip it to the side of your pan and make sure it is submerged in the candy mixture, but not touching the bottom of the pan. As the candy cooks, the temperature will rise. Make sure to keep an eye on the thermometer and remove it from the pan once the candy reaches the desired temperature.

Achieving the Hard-Crack Stage

When making Chinese candy, it is important to reach the hard-crack stage. This is the stage at which the candy has reached the correct temperature and will harden into a brittle, glass-like texture when cooled.

To achieve the hard-crack stage, you will need to heat your candy mixture to a temperature of around 150-155°C. This temperature can be measured using a candy thermometer. Once the candy has reached this temperature, it is important to work quickly to pour it into your prepared pan or onto your prepared surface.

To make sure that your candy sets properly, it is important to prepare your surface beforehand. You can use parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent the candy from sticking. Once the candy has cooled, you can use an oiled knife to cut it into the desired shapes.

Presentation and Storage

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese candy, with a recipe card and containers for storing the finished product

Wrapping and Serving

Once your Chinese candies are ready, you can wrap them in rice paper wrappers to make them look more appealing. You can also serve them on a baking sheet or a tray of togetherness for your guests to enjoy.

If you want to make your candies look more festive, you can wrap them in red and gold paper wrappers. This will give them a more traditional Chinese look and make them perfect for special occasions such as Chinese New Year.

Keeping Candies Fresh

To keep your Chinese candies fresh, you should store them in an airtight container. This will prevent them from getting stale or absorbing any unwanted odours. If you want to keep them for longer, you can store them in the fridge.

However, you should avoid storing them in the same container as seafood or other strong-smelling foods. This can cause the candies to absorb the odours and ruin their flavour.

If you have used seafood in your recipe, you can store the candies in the fridge for up to a week. However, you should use fresh seafood such as prawns or scallops to avoid any risk of food poisoning.

Overall, presenting and storing your Chinese candies properly is important to ensure that they look and taste their best. By following these tips, you can make sure that your candies are always fresh and ready to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with various ingredients and utensils for making Chinese candy, including sugar, flavorings, molds, and a recipe book

How do you make traditional Chinese sesame candy?

To make traditional Chinese sesame candy, you will need sesame seeds, sugar, and corn syrup. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, then mix them with the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the hard crack stage. Pour the mixture into a greased pan and let it cool before breaking it into pieces.

What's the simplest way to prepare Chinese candy at home?

One of the simplest ways to prepare Chinese candy at home is to make tanghulu, a candied fruit snack. All you need is fruit, sugar, and water. Skewer the fruit and dip it into the sugar syrup, then let it cool and harden. You can use any fruit you like, such as strawberries, grapes, or pineapple.

Which recipe is considered the best for authentic Chinese candy?

There are many recipes for authentic Chinese candy, but one of the most popular is milk candy. This candy is made from milk, sugar, and cornstarch, and has a creamy, chewy texture. You can also add nuts or sesame seeds for extra flavour and texture.

Can you explain how to make chewy sesame candy like in China?

To make chewy sesame candy like in China, you will need sesame seeds, sugar, and honey. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, then mix them with the sugar and honey in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the hard ball stage. Pour the mixture into a greased pan and let it cool before cutting it into pieces.

What ingredients are needed for chow mein noodle candy?

Chow mein noodle candy is a popular Chinese New Year treat. To make it, you will need chow mein noodles, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and marshmallows. Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together, then stir in the chow mein noodles and marshmallows. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto wax paper and let it cool and harden.

What treats are typically found in a Chinese New Year candy box?

A Chinese New Year candy box, or tray of togetherness, typically contains a variety of sweet and savoury treats. Some common treats include candied lotus seeds, candied ginger, dried fruit, roasted nuts, and sesame balls. You can also include other traditional Chinese snacks, such as rice cakes or dumplings.

As a suggestion, you can also try adding seafood to your Chinese candy recipe. For example, you can add dried shrimp or scallops to your chow mein noodle candy for a savoury twist. Alternatively, you can add dried squid or cuttlefish to your sesame candy for a unique flavour.