Hard candy is a classic candy that has been around for ages. Around Christmas time flavors like cinnamon, butterscotch, caramel, and anise are popular, but hard candy can be made in almost any flavor imaginable. The recipe below works for making molded pieces and suckers as well as making uneven pieces by pouring into a sheet and breaking it up.
Items needed to make hard candy:
- Hard candy mix or hard candy recipe (below)
- food coloring
- 1/2 tsp. concentrated flavor or oil (any flavor)
- silicone mat or hard candy molds
- funnel (must withstand heat)
- candy thermometer (usually ranges from 100° to 400°F)
Hard Candy Recipe
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and bring to a rolling boil. Remove lid, place thermometer in pan and cook to 250°. Add food color and continue cooking to 300°. (Remove from heat at 295° as temperature will continue rising.) Let cool to 265°. Add flavor and cover for two minutes. Pour hard candy onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat . Let cool completely and then break into pieces. Hard candy mixture can also be poured into hard candy molds that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
Flavoring should not be added before the candy cools to 265°. The heat from the candy may cause the flavor to cook out.
If you are going to be filling molds with the candy, using a funnel will be helpful. First, spray the funnel with non-stick cooking spray. After candy has cooled and you have added the flavor, pour the candy into the funnel with the stopper pushed all the way down. Use the stopper to control the candy flow into the molds.
As with any cooked candy, the outcome of hard candy will depend on the temperature that it is cooked to. Factors like humidity can effect a thermometer’s reading. It is important to test your candy thermometer before each use for more consistency between batches. To test your thermometer, place it into a pot of water and let boil. Let the water boil for several minutes until the mercury or dial on the thermometer stops moving. Adjust the temperature on your recipe according to what your thermometer reads.