Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 4: Hard Candy

Jeff and I decided to stray a little from the following recipe and the results were some interesting sugar sculptures that we broke into pieces instead of cutting into uniform sizes.  Also instead of mixing the food coloring into the sugar in the pot we decided to put a few drops of coloring on the sugar once it was in the baking pan and used toothpicks to make swirly designs.  I'm looking forward to making this recipe again and using different flavorings (this time we used peppermint).

Hard Candy

2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
food coloring (optional)
1/8 cup confectioners' sugar

  1. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup.  Cook, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved; then cook without stirring, lowering the heat and cooking more slowly during the last few minutes, to the hard crack stage (300 degrees F), If sugar crystals form on the sides of pan, wipe them off with a damp brush.
  2. Remove from heat, add oil flavoring and enough food coloring to color; stir only to mix.  Pour into 2 well buttered 9 inch pans.  Set one pan of candy over a sauce pan containing hot water (unless you have a helper to cut the candy).  As soon as the other pan of candy is cool enough to handle, cut it with scissors into 1-inch strips.  Then snip the strips into pieces.  Work fast.  Drop the pieces onto a buttered baking sheet.  If the candy cools too quickly, set it on a saucepan over hot water to soften it, but if it gets sticky return at once to the work counter.
  3. Toss in a small amount of powdered sugar to keep from sticking together.  Repeat with the second pan of candy.

A fun candy project to do with kids:

Rock Candy

Rock candy is a simple sugar candy that can double as a science experiment.  This is a time consuming process as it can take up to a week.  Please note:  If you want to make several pieces of rock candy, you will need to use multiple jars and skewers, and double or triple the sugar syrup solution.


2 cups water
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2-1 tsp flavoring extract or oil (optional)
food coloring (optional)
glass jar
skewer or thread


  1. Prepare your materials: wash a glass jar thoroughly with hot water.  Cut a length of thick cotton thread a few inches longer than the height of the jar, and tape it to a pencil.  Place the pencil across the lip of the jar, and wind it until the thread is hanging about 1 inch from the bottom of the jar.  Attach a paper clip to the bottom of the thread to weight it and ensure it hangs straight down.  Althernately, you can use a wooden skewer as the base of your rock candy and use clothespins balanced across the top of the jar to clip it into place.
  2. Wet your thread or wooden skewer and roll it in granulated sugar.  This base layer will give the sugar crystals something to grab when they start forming.  Set the thread or skewer aside to dry while you prepare your sugar syrup.
  3. Place the water in a medium-sized pan and bring it to a boil.  Begin adding the sugar, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition.  Continue to stir and boil the syrup until all of the sugar has been added and it is all dissolved.  Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. If you are using colors or flavorings, add them at this point.  If you are using an extract, add 1 tsp of extract, but if you are using flavoring oils, only add 1/2tsp, and make sure you don't stand right in front of the pan - the sent can be very strong as it rises in the steam.  Add 2-3 drops of food coloring and stir to ensure even, smooth color.
  5. Allow the sugar syrup to cool for approximately 10 minutes, then pour it into the prepared jar.  Lower the sugared string or skewer until it hangs about 1 inch from the bottom.
  6. Carefully place your jar in a cool place, away from harsh lights, where it can sit undisturbed.  Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap or paper towel.
  7. You should start to see sugar crystals forming within 2-4 hours.  If you have seen no change to your skewer or thread after 24hrs, try boiling the sugar syrup again and dissolve another cup of sugar into it, then pour it back into the jar and insert the string or skewer again.
  8. Allow the rock candy to grow until it is the size you want.  Don't let it grow too large, otherwise it might start growing into the sides of your jar.  Once it has reached the size you want, remove it and allow it to dry for a few minutes.  Enjoy or wrap in plastic to save for later.

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