How to cut a roll of candy into desirably shaped pieces
October 30, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Confectionery Filter: How can I cut a roll of candy into desirably shaped pieces without getting sharp corners?

I enjoy making candy, but by the time it comes to cutting a roll of cooling candy into pieces, if I use scissors it ends up making sharp corners. I can then roll the cut pieces into balls, but if I do that, the sharp corners irritate my palms, plus the candy pieces end up loosing their shine/gloss when I roll them in my hands.

What I'm looking for is a new approach to cutting the candy into pieces. I work on a silicone mat for non-stick, so I can't just take a hot knife to the candy roll, since you're not supposed to cut on the silicone.

What are some other ideas you might have to accomplish this?
posted by purefusion to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't make candy, but can you use a thin wire to twist/wrap around the log to "pinch" it in the middle? Like you use string to cut cinnamon rolls?
posted by lilnublet at 4:09 PM on October 30, 2010

Interesting idea. A wire sounds feasible at first, but I'm thinking it might be a little too slow or awkward for cutting a whole roll of candy, as one roll will make 30-50 pieces and since it cools pretty quickly, at some point will be too hard to cut with a wire. Just a thought.
posted by purefusion at 4:17 PM on October 30, 2010

Assuming that a loop of wire gives the sort of cut you want, you can make using the wire as efficient as scissors.

Make a device that functions roughly like those noose-doohickeys dog catchers use.

You need wire, a length of metal tubing, and a small length of comfortable dowel.

First, I'd use some strong, fairly stiff steel wire. Take a working length of maybe 5"+ length of tubing.

The tubing should have maybe a 1/8" inner diameter. Brass or copper might be a good bet, given that they'll have thicker, more easily-workable walls than steel or aluminum.

Score a groove around the circumference of your tubing, about 1" from the end. The groove should be at least one-half wire-diameter deep, and wire-diameter wide. Wrap the wire's end into the groove, and tie/twist it on good and tight with some pliers.

Cut a small notch in the edge of that same end of the tubing, and run the wire up in that and down into the tubing. Fish it through to the other end of the tube.

Wrap the wire around the dowel, grasp that in your hand, and push on it to create a loop of wire on the notched end of the tube. Ta-da!

To use, feed the end of the candy roll into the loop. Pull on the dowel to cut the candy, push it back down the tube to re-open the loop, repeat.

This design was engineered just now, by me, for you. No royalties necessary.
posted by Netzapper at 4:48 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I use a piece of waxed paper to smooth candies after i cut them. No fingerprints or ouchies that way.
posted by gomichild at 5:07 PM on October 30, 2010

What about using a wire cheese cutter? Just pressing down might curve the candies into less ouchie shapes.
posted by pickypicky at 5:16 PM on October 30, 2010

Netzapper, I might just have to try that out. :)
posted by purefusion at 5:46 PM on October 30, 2010

If it helps, in How It's Made -- Hard Candy they seem to be using blades to chip away at the rods while they're balanced over something (the candy is sort of cut mid-air).
posted by kmennie at 7:35 PM on October 30, 2010

You can use dental floss rather than wire, if that's handier.

Another thought - can't you just roll the candy while it's a little bit warmer? Wouldn't that eliminate hard edges? Or am I misunderstanding what you're making?
posted by maryr at 11:31 PM on October 30, 2010

maryr: It's still quite warm when I cut it, but apparently that doesn't matter much.

kmennie: I figured the industry used something sharp and fast, but I don't know how I'd create a setup like that at home.
posted by purefusion at 5:22 AM on October 31, 2010

Okay, so admittedly I didn't watch the video before I made that comment, but was referring to my memory of a video where the candy was on rollers and got fed into a sort of candy guillotine. After watching the linked video though, I remembered that I've actually seen it before.

My thoughts are that my candy is still rather warm and soft by the time I cut it. I don't let it cool down all the way to hardened stage, and sometimes I'm not making hard candy at all. Sometimes I make something softer like taffy, but still have the same issue with cutting it.

Maybe the quick guillotine would still make a smooth cut in soft candy, but if I were to let each piece fall on top of each other, they would stick to each other and make a mess. I'd have to constantly move the cut pieces away from the cutting area.
posted by purefusion at 7:17 AM on October 31, 2010

There was also a segment on an Unwrapped about crystal-cut candy (at 3:25) which shows the guy using a flat metal extra-wide spatula-type thing. These are hard candies, though.
posted by clerestory at 8:19 AM on October 31, 2010

What about one of those hard-boiled egg/tomato cutter things? Like this first-return-on-Google here: LINK
posted by macadamiaranch at 8:30 AM on October 31, 2010

Interesting thought, no doubt, but I'm not sure an egg slicer would be ideal for this. The pieces might still end up sticking together afterwards, and it kinda sounds wonky at best.
posted by purefusion at 9:27 AM on October 31, 2010

clerestory: I also saw that segment on unwrapped, which is a similar cutting process to the video posted above.
posted by purefusion at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2010

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