How to Make Hard Candy - Easy Hard Candy Recipes

All you need to learn how to make hard candy is sugar, corn syrup and water. Chances are however, that you'll want to add some flavorings and/or colors as well. When adding flavors, oils are superior to extracts. Extracts tend to float near the surface of the candy, resulting in a quick burst of flavor that's gone once the first layer dissolves. Flavored oils are highly concentrated and infuse the syrup to make for long-lasting flavor.

Recipe for Homemade Candy
The following candy recipes yield approximately three cups of candy.

Equipment Needed for All Recipes:
Large, deep, heavy-bottomed kettle
Flat-sided spoon
Cookie sheet
Thermometer
Airtight containers for storage

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Ingredients You Will Need:
2 cups sugar
?" cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon flavored oil for candy making
Food coloring
Powdered sugar

In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the water, corn syrup and sugar. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a flat spoon to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, stop stirring and allow the mixture to come to a boil. If using food coloring, add the amount you want to achieve the color you desire.

You're going to want to stir the mixture again, but don't. Stirring at this point will turn the mixture gritty. Instead, place your candy thermometer in the pan and continue heating until the mixture reaches 300 degrees.

Remove from heat immediately and add the flavored oil. Stir two or three times, maximum. Pour the hot syrup onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking oil.

This mixture will be extremely hot. Do not allow children to help or to be present when pouring the candy into the pan. Be extremely careful and use hot pads to handle the kettle. Do not scrape out the candy that clings to the sides. The texture and consistency may not be the same as the hot candy.

After the candy has cooled to room temperature, place it into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. When it's completely cooled, remove from the refrigerator and crack the candy into small pieces. Place the pieces into a plastic bag and add ½ cup powdered sugar. Shake the bag to coat each piece to prevent sticking.

Lollipops can be made from the same recipe. Instead of pouring the candy onto a baking sheet, pour it into lollipop molds that have been sprayed with cooking oil. Immediately insert sticks.

Homemade Lozenges
For centuries, hard candies have been used as medicine to sooth coughs or irritated throats. To make your own cough drops or lozenges, use dried horehound or other soothing herbs that appeal to you.

Ingredients You Will Need:
1 ounce dried horehound
1 ½ cups water
1 ¾ pounds brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup

Place the horehound and water into a heavy saucepan and cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat. Strain the water and discard the horehound. Add the sugar and corn syrup to the herb water and resume heating.

Place a candy thermometer in the pan and watch closely. When the temperature reaches 300 degrees, remove the candy from the heat. Immediately pour it onto a greased cookie sheet. Before the candy cools completely, score the surface into a criss-cross pattern using the tip of a knife. Allow to cool.

When the horehound has sufficiently cooled, place it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. When you remove the hardened product from the fridge, you should be able to crack the horehound along the lines. Store the horehound in a jar with ½ cup of powdered sugar in it. Shake the jar and cover it tightly to keep freshness in.

Hard Candy Making Tips

  • Do not make candy on a humid day or on a rainy day. Candy is best made in the dead of winter when the heat is on and there's no chance of rain.
  • To prevent your syrups from turning cloudy, never stir the sugar mixture after the boil and don't reduce the heat.
  • If candy does not harden, it usually means the syrup did not reach the correct temperature. Also, too much stirring after the syrup has been removed from the heat may result in candy that will not set.
  • The only way to know for sure if you have reached the correct temperature is through the use a candy thermometer.
  • Hard candies that have been formed or sheets of candy that have been broken into smaller pieces can be rolled in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together.
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