How-to Cold-Water Test Candy
Is it done? Use a metal spoon to drizzle some of the boiling candy mixture into a cup of cold tap water. If you don’t have a candy thermometer to accurately gauge temperature, this is your best test for doneness.
Thread Stage (230°-233°): Upon water contact, the mixture should form fine threads that will not ball up.
Soft-Ball Stage (234°-240°): Upon water contact, the mixture will shape into a ball and then flatten in your hand.
Firm-Ball Stage (244°-248°): Upon water contact, the mixture will shape into a ball that will hold its shape and not flatten unless it’s squeezed.
Hard-Ball Stage (250°-266°): Remove candy from water. It will form a hard but pliable ball.
Soft-Crack Stage (270°-290°): The candy turns into threads upon water contact. When removed from water, it will bend easily and pull apart cleanly.
Hard-Crack Stage (300°-310°): The candy turns into threads upon water contact. It will break into hard, brittle pieces when bent.