Sweet travel tips
November 2, 2012 5:45 PM   Subscribe

I want to make homemade candy for holiday gifts but am traveling from a semi-humid place to a quite humid one. Help me avoid a sticky mess! +other travel-with-candy tips.

I'm interested in taking up candy/confection making as a sort of weekend hobby sort of thing, as I have done with baking for a handful of years. I'd like to start testing out recipes to give as Christmas gifts to family and friends. I live in Providence, RI (humidity on a non-rainy day this time of year is around 60% or so) and am flying home to Houston, TX (where the humidity can be up in the 80-90% range, even in winter) for the holidays. I often get off the plane and can feel the humidity change as soon as I'm there. Making the candy in Houston is not desirable.. I only see my family once or twice a year, and I don't want to hide away in the kitchen for a few days to make all of this.

While Providence certainly isn't arid, I'm concerned about the shift in humidity and/or other travel factors making a mess of it. I have done some reading and know some candy can be particularly sensitive to humidity (mostly that you should not be making candy when there is a rainstorm outside, etc.), and I don't want people to open up a tin of goo, or to find goo in my suitcase. Is this a valid concern, or is the change not big enough to warrant me factoring it in when choosing recipes? If it is of concern, are there any types I should avoid - "no marshmallows", "no toffee", etc. would all be helpful.

I'd also like any tips on how to best travel with it. Should I carry it on? Keep it in tupperware til I'm in Houston where I can repackage it into a more gift-y tin/box?
posted by jorlyfish to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hard sugar candy (like lollipops) is very much affected by humidity, so at least for this trip, don't do that. Consider fondant (there are both cooked and no-cook recipes); you can color and shape it, add dried fruit or nuts, and then either dredge it in regular sugar or coat it in chocolate. And yes, cart it in something airtight, like Tupperware.

(There's a basic fondant recipe on the Domino's Confectioner's Sugar box that works well.)
posted by easily confused at 6:06 PM on November 2, 2012

Maybe add some food grade desiccant packs to your packages?
posted by islander at 6:06 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think that humidity effects the candy making process more than finished candy so making the candy in RI and taking it to TX is probably your best option. Caramels, toffees, chocolate barks, pralines, peanut patties, etc. are all candies that would travel well and not be effected by the humidity very much once packaged. I would keep it in Tupperware and then repackage in Houston if possible. I keep recommending this book, Who Wants Candy? to everyone who wants to make candy because it has easy to follow recipes that allowed me to make great candy on my first try!
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 7:44 PM on November 2, 2012

Marzipan! It doesn't get very weird with humidity, and you can sculpt and color it to look neat (like the traditional marzipan fruits), or just coat it with chocolate.
posted by Garm at 9:36 PM on November 2, 2012

For anyone who happens to stumble across this in a search, or those who favorited it:
Put everything in tupperware, checked the bag they were in. Made the mistake of using some cheaper plastic containers - I think they were from some take out - which broke, leaving my clothing etc. covered in peanut brittle shards. Fun. TSA was kind enough to leave a note in there saying they searched my bag.. can't help but wonder if they saw the mess or if it happened afterward.

The peanut brittle I managed to salvage ended up getting really weird and sticky - sticking to teeth in particular, more than usual/expected - due to the humidity, so I think I'm gonna skip that one next year, even though it probably largely had to do with the fact that it had been exposed to the air in my suitcase and not kept airtight the whole time. Also made peppermint marshmallows and almond toffee with dark chocolate coating, which both traveled with no issues.
posted by jorlyfish at 8:00 PM on December 24, 2012

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