Paramount crystals are a unique ingredient in making candies. The 'crystal' part of the name is a bit misleading; they are actually more like flakes. They are translucent white, tasteless and are added to thin the candy coatings to make them more fluid when pouring the candy coatings into molds or when used for dipping. When you are “painting” the molds with different colors of candy coatings, using the crystals will be especially important. If the candy coating is a bit old or is too thick, adding paramount crystals will aid in thinning the coating. They will also speed up the hardening of the candy coating. This is a good thing when you are making lots of candies!
Paramount crystals are made from lecithin, citric acid, and palm kernel oil. You can purchase the crystals at cake stores or online stores. They are not expensive, considering how they help you produce yummy candies!
One online source claims you can add them to candy coatings that have seized or have been overheated. I have had candy coatings that have hardened and seized up. I didn't know about them then, so I just had to throw the candy coating away. What a waste of time and money! If I had known about them then, I would have tried them out. Of course, since I have learned about the crystals, I haven't had any coatings seize or harden. I am not sure if it is because I use the crystals now or if I am just more careful with the candy coatings! If you have candy coating that has seized up, it is worth a try! You might also try using shortening, but the price on that is going up and depending on the brand of shortening, it may or may not work to your satisfaction. I, personally, would use the paramount crystals since they are a consistent product.
The first time I heard about the crystals was when I first started making petit fours. The instructions called for them and I didn't have them and I didn't even know what they were or what they looked like! I got online and read that you could substitute shortening for them. I tried that and it worked out fine. Later, (as in weeks), I went to my local cake store, La Candy Shoppe, and found them. I was surprised that they were little white flakes. I don't know what I was expecting, but I didn't think they would look like that! I bought a small bag just to try them out. I am now hooked on them. I keep them on hand all the time now.
Generally, add about ¼ cup of the paramount crystals to one pound of the candy coating. Wilton brand calls the candy coatings “Candy Melts.” They come in a variety of colors and, of course, in chocolate and vanilla flavors. First, melt the candy coating and then add the crystals a little at a time being sure to stir after each addition of crystal until the coating is the desired consistency. You may use a little more or a little less than the ¼ cup of the crystals, depending on what you are trying to achieve.
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