How to Test for Brittle Doneness without Candy Thermometer
After syrup is uncovered and has boiled about 15 min., use a wooden spoon to drop a small amount of the hot syrup into small bowl of cold water. Touch the syrup with your fingers. If it is soft and forms a ball, the syrup has reached the soft-ball stage. Continue boiling the syrup, frequently retesting for brittle doneness. (Watch carefully. The temperature will quickly rise to the hard-crack stage.) Once the syrup becomes thread-like and hard to the touch in the cold water, the syrup has reached the hard-crack stage. Remove saucepan from heat and continue as directed.