Friday, December 19, 2008

Rock Candy Recipe

For most of my adult life, I have made most of the Christmas gifts I give. I am positively lousy at deciding what to buy for people, but I make a mean cookie and banana bread, so I go with my strengths. I admit that I have made some pretty goofy gifts over the years, but one that I know is appreciated is the rock candy I make for my dad. I know he loves it, and it pleases me immensely when I get that email saying his container is empty and I need to make more. It also makes me giggle the way he hides it from everyone and jokingly fusses at his wife if she dares ask for a piece.

I'm sharing my recipe here. The candy takes a little work, and it is easier to buy the little bags of pre-wrapped cinnamons at your local grocery store, but I think this is good candy. I am making a big batch this afternoon, so I will try to take pictures and add them to the post tonight. Enjoy!

Rock Candy

1 cup water
1 ¼ cups light corn syrup
3 ¾ cups granulated sugar
liquid food coloring (any color, as much as you wish)
1 tsp cinnamon oil or candy flavoring*
1/3 cup (more or less, as desired)

You need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

*I have not been able to find cinnamon oil at Walmart or Kroger lately, and since I am not willing to go shopping all over town, I have been using cinnamon extract. I use 1 tbsp of extract in place of 1 tsp of oil. Sometimes I add more since my dad likes the candy strong.

In a heavy saucepan, combine water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and food coloring. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar crystals. (Do not lift the lid or stir.)

Uncover and attach candy thermometer to pot. Make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot. Cook on medium-high heat without stirring until the hard crack stage. While the candy is cooking, line a cookie sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray. This is what you will pour the liquid candy into. Remove candy from heat. Stir in oil or flavoring.

*If you are using cinnamon oil or extract, I highly recommend adding the oil outside. It produces a powerful smoke that will sting your eyes and nostrils if you are not careful. It only takes a moment or two to settle back down so you can bring it inside. The other flavors do not seem to be as strong.

Quickly pour the candy onto the cookie sheet, being extremely careful. I try to have someone else available to help scrape the pot. This stuff gets sticky really fast.

When the candy has hardened, cover it with foil and break into small pieces. I use a meat mallet or a hammer. You may come up with an easier method. I suppose it would be simpler to use candy molds, but I have never tried them.

Place the candy in a ziplock bag and add the confectioner’s sugar. Seal the bag. Put this bag into another bag and seal it. Then, toss the candy and sugar until the sugar is distributed throughout and all the candy has a light coating.

Store in airtight containers. Give to someone special or hide away and keep for yourself.


Edited to add: In the midst of making candy, I had to leave to take Abel to the evening clinic, where he tested positive for strep throat. I looked at the doctor and said, "I have four more children. I'll see you tomorrow." Thus, I have no exciting candy-making pictures to share. Maybe next time.


Tiffany said...

Sorry to hear you've got strep throat around there. HOpe no one else gets it.

I made rock candy the other day and I had trouble with it being cloudy. it does that to me sometimes. I could tell while it was cooking that it wasn't quite right. it just never got that transparent look. It tastes fine, just cloudy. Any ideas what causes that?

Beverly said...

Hi Tiffany,

I am not sure what the problem could be, but I do know that my candy turns clear during that three minutes that it boils with the lid on. That's when the sugar crystals dissolve. I wonder if it has anything to do with that stage.

I have also heard that humidity affects candy. Could that be it?

Thanks for stopping by. Thus far, no one else is sick, and our patient is on the mend.


Julie said...

I've always thought rock candy is pretty...I've never tried to make it though. Maybe someday.
Thanks for visiting my blog.
Sorry the kiddos are sick. My son has a yearly tradition of going to urgent care right before Christmas. I hope we can avoid that this year.