A SWEET BACKSTORY
I learned from my sister in law. When I was first married, she invited me to a candy making party at a co-worker’s house. These ladies got together every year, the first weekend in December, to make roughly 20 batches of old fashioned hard candy.
We made tons of fruit flavors, plus a couple of mints, and even cinnamon which is strong but delicious. It was a fun event, and one that I always looked forward to. Every once in a while mother nature would humor us with a few snow flurries while inside the warm kitchen while candy syrup boiled away, and Christmas carols played in the background.
It’s been about 5 years since I last made candy. So, what’s the occasion you might ask. Well my daughter came home for a visit and specifically asked: Can we make candy when I come home? Well, of course. We spent a cold morning making 4 batches: orange, watermelon, raspberry, and spearmint. It was so much fun, and we did not even make that big of a mess. After years of making old fashioned hard candy, I learned a thing or two about keeping the mess to a minimum.
TIPS FOR DELICIOUS CANDY AND EFFICENCY!
- Using the right oils is key. I always use LorAnn Oils; they work well, and the intensity is perfect. Buy the 1 fluid dram size (3.7 ml, or .125 fluid oz.) You use one container per recipe batch.
- I like to make two batches at a time. So staggering the time is key. Wait about 5 minutes from when one batch starts to boil, and put on the next batch. I do have to be firm on this: Do not let the temperature of the syrup go above 300’F (hard crack stage). Once the syrup reaches 220’F it will seem as though it is stuck. Have patience. What will happen is that once it goes past that stage it will reach 300’F fairly quickly.
SOME CULINARY TIPS TO KEEP DOWN THE CANDY MAKING MESS AND MAKE CLEANING EASIER.
- Have a large pot of water simmering on the stove to help rinse off the syrup from the pots and pyrex you use. This is incredibly helpful since hardened syrup is almost impossible to remove from a pot.
- To transfer flavored syrup to the sugar troughs pour syrup in a 4 cup heat proof glass container that has been sprayed with Canola oil.
- To form the candy strips, place a good amount of powdered sugar on a cookie sheet, then make troughs using a thick plastic hanger. This helps you make somewhat even-sized pieces.
- For one batch you should have 3 cookie sheets prepared. I use a baking sheet with 15.25″ x 10.5″ x .75″ as shown below.
- As soon as you empty out the syrup onto the troughs, place the glass container in the simmering pot. This will dissolve the residual candy and get the glass container ready for the next batch.
Broken glass candy is a gorgeous hard candy that looks like shards of colorful broken glass. In taste and texture, it’s not too different from lollipops or other hard candies, but its distinctive appearance and jagged edges make it special.
The basic broken glass candy recipe includes sugar, corn syrup, and water, but a variety of flavorings and colors can be added to your liking. Make a rainbow assortment and color coordinate each flavor, with green for apple, red for cherry, yellow for banana, orange for tangerine, blue for blueberry, etc. Or simply make every batch the same color and flavor.
Remember, when making candy, no kids or pets should be in the kitchen. Use proper protective gear like silicone gloves and a thick apron, and always wear shoes. For this candy-making process, a candy thermometer is advisable, but if you don’t have one, you can test your candy without one by using a bowl of cool water. This candy will get to 300 F, which is known as the hard crack stage.
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
1 dram (1 teaspoon)* LorAnn Super Strength flavoring, any flavor
LorAnn liquid food coloring or gel food coloring (as desired)
Hard candy molds (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Sucker bags & twist ties (optional)
Use of a candy thermometer is recommended
*Please note that our Cinnamon, Clove and Peppermint flavors are particularly potent. You may wish to reduce the amount used for these flavors.
Make sure your thermometer measures accurately; it should read 212° F. (100° C.) in boiling water. Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the stove. The use of metal spoons and measuring utensils is recommended. Line a rimmed baking sheet/jelly roll pan with foil and lightly oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray (such as PAM). If using molds, lightly spray cavities of clean, dry candy molds with non-stick cooking spray. Insert sucker sticks. If using molds, you may also want to spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. If after pouring the syrup into the molds you have excess candy, you can pour it onto the foil for break-up candy.
- In a heavy (good quality) 2-quart saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Insert candy thermometer if using, making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring.
- Early in the cooking process, “wash down” any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
- Continue to cook the syrup, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260º F; add drops of coloring until desired hue is achieved. Do not stir; boiling action will incorporate color into syrup.
- Remove from heat precisely at 300° F (temperature will continue rising), or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water (hard crack stage). After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and stir. USE CAUTION WHEN ADDING FLAVORING TO AVOID RISING STEAM.
- Carefully pour syrup into prepared molds or onto the prepared greased and foil lined cookie sheet. (As the sugar mixture begins to set up, you may want to score with a large knife to mark squares.) Do not refrigerate.
- Cool completely. Break sheet candy into small pieces and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers between waxed paper. If making lollipops, do not dust with powdered sugar, but place in sucker bags and secure with twist ties. Store hard candy in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.
Tip: For easy clean-up, simply soak your pot and utensils in hot water until the hardened candy is dissolved.
*Another alternative is to pour the hot candy onto a heat-resistant surface covered in powdered sugar. When the candy is slightly cooled, it can be cut with well-oiled scissors into pillow-shaped pieces (you may want to wear heat-resistant gloves, such as rubber, to protect hands from heat).