Kitchen Tools: A Candy Thermometer

Whether you're boiling sugar, making cheese, or planning a little deep-fat frying, a candy thermometer is an essential tool to have on hand.

Digital "instant-read" thermometers are great for checking the temperature of a roast or a loaf of bread, but their temperature ranges aren't usually high enough for sugar work. Most candy thermometers start at 100-degrees and go up to 400-degrees Fahrenheit, which is a good range for any kind of project you're planning on doing.

Candy thermometers also come with a metal clip that will attach to the pan, allowing you to leave the thermometer in the liquid and keep a close eye on the temperature as it rises - and keeping your fingertips safe from burning liquids!

We use a basic mercury thermometer set in a stainless steel facing with the temperatures clearly marked. We bought ours for about $15 from the China Fair in Boston, but they are readily available at most kitchen supply stores and online. Here are a few:

• Professional Candy and Deep Fry Analog Thermometer, $12.99 from Amazon.com
• Digital Oil and Candy Thermometer, $35 from Williams-Sonoma
• Taylor Classic Candy, Jelly, and Deep Fry Thermometer, $14.99 from Target

What do you use your candy thermometer for?

Related: Home Cooking: How Do You Boil Water?

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

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