Making the simple candies where you melt chocolate and add other ingredients until melted but do not boil, makes some very good candy and it is so easy to do. But, if you have a real sweet tooth, it is good to try some of the other candies that you need to boil ingredients to soft ball stage or hard ball stage, etc. These are very challenging but not all that hard. I took a candy making class once and learned a few things which applies to the cooked, rather than melted candies.
First of all, you do not want to do candy on a rainy day. I am not sure why, but I learned that humidity has lots to do with how the candy turns out. I am not sure what happens since I took it to heart and never made candy on a rainy day! I also learned not to dip chocolates on a rainy day.
It is not necessary, but very helpful to start with a good candy thermometer. You can dip into cold water to test, but I never found this to be as good as relying on the thermometer. Most recipes, depending on the candy have you boil to soft ball or hard ball stage. The thermometer tells you when you are there.
The next thing I learned was when boiling sugar, make sure it is totally dissolved with no crystals stuck to the spoon, side of pot or even the thermometer before it hits the boiling point. If you do not, and you knock even one crystal into the boiling candy, you will get a chain reaction and your whole batch will be sugary.
I have a recipe called Never Fail Divinity that I have made since the 60’s. And, if you do the first part (the cooking part) correctly, you end up with a very good divinity. You boil the sugar, corn syrup, etc to the proper temperature and when that is done, you pour in a fine stream into a bowl of stiffly beaten egg whites, beating all the time. You beat until dull, not shiny. Then, you can tint if you wish, and drop onto waxed paper to make you individual candies. I usually topped most of them with a half walnut, leaving some plain in case someone was allergic to nuts. Once, when making this recipe, the power went out before it was totally beaten. I packed it all into a square pan, let it set up then cut in squares. I still had a good divinity. It truly has never failed but if I had not dissolved all the sugar before it started boiling, if I had not checked it using a candy thermometer (or the glass of cold water) and if it had been a rainy day, it might have proved me wrong and failed.
If the more simple candies are still what you do best, I have a recipe for one that is sooo good – kind of like a Mounds Bar only individual pieces. They are called Coconut Peaks. First, you melt butter (I use real butter for great flavor) then you add powdered sugar, vanilla and stir in shredded coconut. You spoon these onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and form into little peaks. Then you chill. After chilling, you dip each one into melted chocolate chips (I use dark ones) and let the chocolate go about 2/3 of the way up the coconut piece. To the chocolate a small amount of butter is also added when melting. Then you place the piece back on the cookie sheet and chill when all are done. These are sooo good.
Another easy one is a combination of graham cracker crumbs, finely chopped nuts, melted chocolate chips and rum. Mix and roll into walnut sized balls when cool enough to handle. Then roll each ball into either finely chopped nuts or flaked coconut and you have the best tasting and easiest to make rum balls you could want.