My fondant won't set

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Koala John:
I'm at my wits end trying to make fondant. I've invested several hours following this recipe:

Use 1 part water to 4 parts granulated sugar.
Add 1/4 tsp. per vinegar per pound of sugar.
Bring to boil, stirring constantly until boiling commences.
Boil without stirring for 3 minutes, covered.
Insert thermometer, and boil uncovered until 234F is reached.
Remove from heat, and allow to cool to 200F.
Whip with whisk until whiteness occurs.
Pour (QUICKLY!) onto waxed paper having a towel beneath.
Allow to cool undisturbed.
Remove waxed paper, and store each cake in a plastic bag.

And it's not working for me! I've tried variations from various places - higher temps, longer heating, not cooling before pouring into mould, not whisking after cooling. I've just had my fourth attempt and it looks like another runny mess that will not set and would drown more bees than it will feed. I want a hard candy board. What am I doing wrong? Anyone have any tips please?
John the awful cook.

I think you have too much water to begin with. I use about 1 quart to 15 lbs of sugar.It should be  hard to stir and really thick before it heats. It also needs to cool down to at least 180 before "whisking". I just waited for the 180 and then stirred up all  the solids from the bottom. It has the consistency of ,oh , hot sticky applesauce, I guess. It should be hard to stir with a lot of thick sugary candy at the bottom of the pan. I poured mine into "candy boards". It took a couple of hours to set up after that. Sometimes much longer. I am not sure what the difference was between the ones that set right and the ones that didn't. Temperamental stuff.

I use Robos recipe from his site. Basically, 25lbs sugar, 2qrts water w/ 6 TBS of vinegar. Heat to aprox 260F while adding sugar gardually. Be patient, it will take a long time. Last year I hetaed to 275F and it was rock candy, but the bees ate it. This year I heated to 255F and its a little chalky(hard, dried icing), but bees are all over it as i added it this week. Be very careful of hot syrup. I also used disposable "pot-pie" pans and they worked great. Each cake of candy is about 1/2 lbs and fits very nicely in my Honeyrun apiary vented all season cover. I really like this set-up so far and will do all of my hives w/ this set-up for next winter. For five hives I cut recipe in half and it is still too much so far. I froze left over. It made 15 Pot-pie pans worth.

Dick Allen:

--- Quote ---Use 1 part water to 4 parts granulated sugar.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Insert thermometer, and boil uncovered until 234F is reached.
--- End quote ---

You need 5 parts of sugar. The easy to remember method is the 1 -234 -5 procedure. 1 part water, with 5 parts sugar, heated to 234º F. 

Also, FYI, vinegar (and cream of tartar) has been reported to be detrimental to bees. While it’s use is mentioned in some of the beekeeping literature and many beekeepers use it, and it probably will  go unnoticed by you, researcher Leslie Bailey does point that out in his book: “’Honey Bee Pathology” saying it shortens the lives of bees when compared with plain sugar. Dianna Sammataro also cautions against using it in her book: “The Beekeeper’s Handbook”.

Also remember to adjust your final temp for elevation. I am in the Rocky Mountains about 6000ft and I have had to adjust the final temp quite a bit to get it right. I use Robo's recipe as well. It has worked for me, takes some practice though. But his 25lb recipe works well for one sugar board. I also found the beet sugars at Walmart very inexpensive..
Good luck,


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