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You don't really need a copper pot to make toffee and caramels, but yes, it does make a difference. I first made caramels and toffees with revereware, and with the toffee it seemed that scorching was always a risk. I did experience a little smoldering on one toffee batch, but it was minimal and the toffee was still good. Any quality pan that conducts heat evenly will work-if you already splurged on the all clad, you don't need to run out and get the copper pot.

My beloved copper potMy copper pot sits in the attic with my chocolate tempering machine for most of the year, so do what makes economical sense for you. I bought mine with the $150.00 an eccentric venture capitalist gave me for coming to his house and fixing a flat on his bike when I was a bicycle mechanic at Wheelsmith. Thank you, Bernie!

If you do splurge for the copper, be sure to get some good copper polish. Avoid anything that smells too much of chemicals like Brasso or Noxon, as these could impart bad odors to your candy. I currently use Bon Ami, a powdered polish, with some satisfaction. If you don't rinse it off right away, it will leave little streaks. I once had a paste copper polish that was applied like shoe polish that I liked a lot (Penny Brite?), but I couldn't find it in local stores. You can also make your own polish with flour, salt and vinegar.

You will want to polish your pot before putting it away for storage, but you don't have to polish between batches. I enjoy watching the vivid red and purple colors deepen after each batch of caramel or toffee. I tooks some pictures but they didn't do the vivid colors justice.

Click any image below to enlarge
  1. Comment from Roy Fenton 
    3:08 AM   18-Oct-2011
    Copper pots do make a difference in that they transfer heat more readily and evenly when using conventional gas cooking. They heat up quicker and use less energy. Their value in making sweets and candies cannot be underestimated. Most importantly the sugar/glucose used in making nice tasting stuff will in most instances need to invert at 130-150deg C depending on what you are doing and then cool down. Copper pots make this process much easier to control. A GOOD COPPERSMITH IS HARD TO FIND IN THIS AGE, so if you find one let me know.
    1. Response from Brian
      11:51 AM   20-Nov-2011
      Hi Roy, I definitely value my copper pots and agree that they help a lot. I would not cook candy without mine. They are not, however, an absolute must have for the person looking to get started in candymaking, especially given the considerable investment required to purchase one. I made my candies without copper for several years with great success; you just have to be more careful.
  1. Comment from Pam 
    6:53 AM   20-Nov-2011
    Liked your pictures and your pot....I am struggling to make almond toffee...sometimes it works, other times,it separates..oi,oi....and I am admiring the very pot you have, made by mauviel....thank you.pam
    1. Response from Brian
      11:51 AM   20-Nov-2011
      Hi Pam, I love my copper pot and take good care of it. I love how it changes colors after each subsequent batch. I'm actually between batches right now. I really believe separation is caused by melting the butter too quickly. It should always look like butter (not clarified/separated), which requires low heat and frequent stirring. Best of luck!
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