The Field Guide to Candy is a handy little guidebook to, as the subtitle says, make and identify virtually every candy imaginable. Not having a master list of all the candies out there, I can’t confirm this statement, but there are 113 recipes in the book as well as a number of variations – and that is a lot of candy! The book is written by Anita Chu, who is also the author of the Field Guide to Cookies and the blog Dessert First.
The book is set up like field reference guides you might use for bird watching or star gazing, only with some detailed recipe instructions thrown in. Each entry starts with a description of the candy, followed by the history and general notes about working your way through the candy-making process for that particular piece. The recipe is next, followed by a yield estimate and storage notes. Storage for candy is even more important than for other baked goods because candies can be very sensitive to changes in the humidity levels in the air. There is a full-color section in the center of the book with photos to illustrate each of the recipes, and towards the beginning you’ll find an overview of materials and ingredients you’ll need to get started with candy making.
The approach of this book is good considering that candy making requires a fairly scientific approach. The instructions are clear and direct, and you shouldn’t have any trouble following along with them and making candies similar to store-bought favorites at home, whether you want to make Simple Truffles or your own Candy Corn. The only thing that I really wish the book had done differently is to have included the page number of the recipe on the same page as the photo in the inset of the book, but only because I like to look at the pictures before the recipes and it would make that process a tiny bit easier.