John Nott on Caramel and Barley Sugar
Continuing with John Nott, here is his entry on Caramel.
“163. To boil Sugar to a Caramel.
If Sugar, brought to the Quality commonly called crack’d, were put between the Teeth, it would stick to them as if it were Glue or Pitch; but when it is boil’d to its utmost caramel Height, it will break and crack without sticking at all, therefore you must observe very diligently every Moment; when it has attain’d to this last Degree of Boiling, putting the foregoing Directions into Practice to know when it is crack’d, and afterwards biting the Sugar so ordered with your Teeth to try whether it will stick to them or no; when you perceive that it does not stick to the Teeth, but on the contrary cracks and breaks clever, take it off the Fire immediately, or else it will be burnt, and fit for no Use at all.
But in Respect to the other well-conditioin’d Boilings, if after you have preserv’d any Sweet-meats, some Sugar be left that is crack’d, or greatly feathered, and is of no further Use in that Condition, you need only put to it as much Water as will boil it over again, and then you may bring it to what Degree or Quality you please, and mix it with any other sort of Sugar or Syrup.
The pearl’d Boiling of Sugar is generally used for all sorts of Comfits that are to be kept for a considerable time.
The caramel Boiling of Sugar is proper for Barley Sugar, and for a certain small Sugar Work called by that Name, which is described in its proper Place.” [Section SU; 1726 edition.]
Nott’s recipe for Barley Sugar is as follows:
“33 To make Barley Sugar.
Boil Barley in Water, strain it through a Hair Sieve, then put the Decoction into clarify’d Sugar brought to a caramel height, or the last Degree of Boiling. Then take it off the Fire, and let the Boiling settle: then pour it upon a Marble-stone rubb’d with the Oil of Olives. When it cools, and begins to grow hard, cut it into Pieces and roll it into Lengths as you please.” [Section BA; 1726 edition.]
Nott, John. Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary. 1726. Facsimile. Edited with introduction and glossary by Elizabeth David. London: Lawrence Rivington, 1980. [Limited numbered edition.]