Old fashioned homemade hard candy makes for a great treat during any season. You can use different flavorings and colors to match any theme. For example, peppermint flavoring and red food coloring are great for Christmas, Fourth of July or Valentine’s Day celebrations.
You can even use molds to make your homemade hard candy into whatever shape you desire such as hearts for Valentine’s Day. Here’s your guide to creating homemade hard candy.
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint oil, or other candy flavoring oil
1 teaspoon food coloring
- Generously coat a cookie sheet with the confectioners’ sugar and set it aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, mix the white sugar, water and corn syrup. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Use the straight edge of a metal spatula to stir the mixture. Insert a candy thermometer into the mixture, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium-high heat and cook to a temperature of 300 to 310 degrees F. If you get hot spots that look like they may be scorching, you can slowly run the thermometer through the candy to get an accurate reading of the temperature of all the candy. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can tell if the mixture is ready by dropping a small amount of the syrup mixture into cold water. When it forms hard, brittle threads the mixture is cooked enough.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow the bubbles to simmer down a bit. Stir in the flavored oil and food coloring. You can add a few drops of Liquid Whitener along with the food coloring to make your candy look opaque and pastel colored.
- Immediately pour the syrup mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet. Once again use the straight edge of a metal spatula to scrape the candy out of the pan. When pouring, create a thin layer, which will cool more quickly than a thick one. When the candy is cool enough for the outer edge to hold its shape, cut the candy into bite size pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors. Let it cool completely and then store it in an airtight container.
If you want to make your homemade hard candy into molded shapes, spray the molds lightly with non-flavored oil spray. Instead of pouring the candy onto a cookie sheet coated with confectioners’ sugar, pour it into the molds. Thin molds work best.
If you want to make lollipops, you can add the sticks into the molds either before you pour or after you pour in the candy. Just make sure the stick is inserted into the lollipop at least 1 inch or so.
Also note that it is important to spray the molds with the non-flavored oil very lightly. If you spray on too much oil, the finished candy may be sticky. If you are using the molds for several batches of candy, you may not need to spray them between every single batch.