The life of a product reviewer is sometimes difficult. So many
great products must be sampled to bring you, our faithful readers,
helpful information. Reviewing Candymaking: A Guide for Home
Confectioners by Sharyn Pak required great sacrifice on my
family's part. Don't get me wrong: we all very much enjoyed watching
the DVD that shows beginning candymakers how to make wonderful
confectionaries! Sharyn Pak is very professional and personable
in her presentation. Her demonstrations are clear and make the
process accessible for even a novice cook. But after watching the
mouthwatering demonstrations in the DVD, we felt compelled, dare
I say duty-bound, to try some of the recipes. After all, it would
be unfair to our dear readers not to personally try these recipes
and report the results. The sacrifice was great, but you are worth
Candymaking (76 minutes run time, $16.95) covers making
dipped and drizzled candies, clusters, turtles and bark, molded
candies, peanut brittle, filled cookies, lollipops, and saltwater
taffy. Sharyn does a marvelous job of explaining the process of
each type of candymaking. She demonstrates each step with enthusiasm
and care. The DVD includes a detailed list of needed tools and
materials broken down by category of candy, not by individual recipe.
The presentation could be enhanced by the inclusion of a file with
each recipe to make the process simpler, especially when you come
back to a favorite recipe later.
We tried several of the recipes with nearly flawless results.
Sharyn uses a warm, friendly, and encouraging teaching style to
demonstrate step-by-step how to make each delicacy. She carefully
explains the necessary tools, what is involved in the technique,
how to vary the craft for a range of results, how to present the
finished product in a festive manner, and she even adds some interesting
information about the history of candymaking. Most of the recipes
are appropriate for beginners to advanced cooks, although kids
would require some parental supervision. Even young children could
help with many of the projects, and, of course, they could help
enjoy the delicious results!
My family enjoyed watching Candymaking and learning
some new methods for making these ancient delights, but we especially
enjoyed that Sharyn Pak makes the process accessible for mere mortals
such as ourselves! I never would have attempted lollipops or saltwater
taffy--these were projects reserved for Mary Poppins and Betty
Crocker. But now that I've been inspired by Candymaking,
you should see the lovely confections coming from my kitchen!