Working with hard candy can lead to potential burns if you are not protected against the heat of molten candy. When working with cooled yet hot hard candy, you’ll need to have a pair of heat-resistant gloves that will keep your hands safe.
A pair of latex/nitrile disposable food-grade gloves over cotton gloves will provide enough insulation from heat and maintain the tactile “hands-on” feel of working with sugar. If the candy is still sticking to the gloves, wait for the candy to cool a bit longer.
A decent pair of gloves should have the following features:
- Covers wrist
- Food-grade material
For the best results, make sure that you look for gloves that are long enough to cover your forearm and non-slip so that you don’t lose grip on the candy or utensils. With temperatures above the boiling point of water, it is important to be protected against possible burns while working with the candy. You will need gloves that act as a barrier against temperatures as high as 300°F.
For pulling candy (under 200°F), a layer of food-grade nitrile gloves personally feels the best. They are heat-resistant enough to work on sugar yet flexible enough to easily grip.
A cheap quick-fix is to wear a couple layers of food-grade latex/nitrile gloves with (optionally) a light oil greasing to reduce stickiness. Oil might not be necessary depending on how much the sugar has hardened and cooled. Instead of using grease, allow the candy to cool on a Silpat mat which is basically a food-safe workspace for when candy becomes too hot to handle.
Hands-On Handling of Hot Candy? – Cotton Canvas Gloves
While these gloves are not exactly food-grade, these pass for personal projects. Ideally, a layer of latex/nitrile gloves over cotton gloves will take care of most candy-making needs. However, just the cotton glove itself has proven to be enough.
Pulling heated sugar. These gloves are ideal for pulling molten sugar that is too hot to hold barehanded. Don’t forget that sugar can hold heat for long time even after taken off the heat.
Molding sugar ribbons. The cotton canvas material makes handling heat easy. While manipulating heated candy, having a flexible yet durable layer of cotton makes pulling and molding candies heat-free.
Tight-knit around wrist. This unique feature is a nice quality of life. It prevents heat and potentially moisture from going up the gloves.
Baker’s Must – Cuisinart Heat Resistant Silicone Gloves
- Heat resistant (425°F+)
- One size fits most (small hands beware)
- Strong grip – Good for grabbing large hot objects
- Textured grip (not ideal for direct handling of sugar)
- Not smudge-free
- Not for fine detailed work
Hard Candy – When it comes to making and handling hard candy, these gloves are a great fit for the job. If the textured grip is a problem, switch to food-safe latex gloves (2-3 layers if needed due to heat).
Baking – Reaching into the hot oven? These are perfect for handling baked goods as well. The textured grip on these gloves makes sure nothing will slip out of your hands.
Not for delicate pieces – These gloves have dents that can leave marks, especially when directly handling certain confections and pastries.
Handling Chocolate? Cotton Gloves Are a Must!
What kind of gloves do you use to handle chocolate?
Cotton gloves are just thick enough to keep fingerprints away from chocolate candies. Make sure your hands are completely dry before putting on cotton gloves. Excess moisture can seep through gloves into chocolates, causing them to seize.
Cotton is a great thermal insulator. The heat from bare fingertips (as well as thin latex/vinyl gloves) can smudge some chocolates (especially delicate pieces). The extra padding allows for precise handling of chocolates where visual appearance must be as perfect as possible.
If the cotton gloves are smudging the chocolate, wear a layer of latex/nitrile gloves over the cotton. This provides a bit more insulation and smudge-free handling.
Using Hot Sugar? Must-Have Accessory – Silpat Baking Mat
Latex (non-powdered) gloves are fine for working with hard candy. However, not everybody has a clean marble slab or steel surface to use. Marble is useful when making hard candy because it acts as a heat sink. You could also cool your hands down on the marble when handling hot candy becomes overbearing.
Silpat baking mats are perfect for handling hot pulled sugar as it provides a non-stick greaseless surface. Compared to parchment paper, baking mats are a lot more convenient to work on. Making hard candy on parchment paper is a pain!
When it comes to pulling sugar, it can sometimes become too hot to handle. This surface gives your hands a break in between pulls and twists. After the candy cools a bit, it comes right off the mat’s surface without any sticking.