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Candymaking: A Guide for Home Confectioners DVD

By Sharyn Pak
On Air Video Incorporated

8203 Westminster Rd.
Elkins Park, PA 19027

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 it!

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!

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2011

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