If you want a blast from the past, make a batch of barley candy lollipops. Boiling sugar to make hard candy is an ancient practice, but adding barley to the mix came into play sometime in the 1700s. Using barley water instead of regular tap water was a trick the British used when making barley candy lollipops. The difference is that barley water creates a brittle, transparent candy with a consistency that is slightly sticky, due to the starch in the barley.
How to Make Barley Water
Barley sugar is created by boiling barley, cane sugar and cream of tartar together. Barley water, which is used when making barley candy, is made by cooking barley down and using the starchy water in place of regular tap water.
Ingredients You Will Need:
½ cup pearl barley
4 cups water
Bring the water and barley to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about two hours. During this time, the barley will begin to break down slightly. After two hours, remove the mixture from the heat and let it set undisturbed for several hours. Once the barley water has settled, the cloudy sediment will have dropped to the bottom of the saucepan, leaving a layer of crystal clear water on the top. This is the water you want to use. Scoop it out carefully. Do not disturb the sediment or use water that is not clear.
Collect one cupful of barley water for the following recipe.
Barley Candy Recipe
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 cup barley water
2 cups granulated white sugar
Pinch of tartar
If using lollipop molds, make sure they are metal, that every crevice has been greased with spray oil and that they are thick enough to withstand the heat. Barley sugar candy is extremely hot when ready to pour.
Combine the barley water, sugar and cream of tartar. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, cover the mixture and let it boil for 60 seconds. As soon as the minute has passed, uncover the kettle and allow the mixture to continue boiling until the candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. This is the hard-crack stage.
Another method for testing candy at the hard-crack stage is to drop a spoonful into a glass of cold water. If the candy strings and the strings are easily cracked, you have reached the hard-crack stage. This method is not reliable, however, and use of a candy thermometer is recommended.
Once you have reached the hard-crack stage, remove the candy from the heat and add food coloring, allowing the bubbles to disperse the color. If adding flavor, now is the time to do so. Immediately pour the hot candy into the molds. If you do not have molds, you can pour the candy onto a greased cookie sheet and make a sheet of hard candy. The candy can be broken up after it cools, or cut into squares as it's cooling. The candy will be extremely hot to handle initially, but will cool down quickly.
Making Lollipops without Candy Molds
This is harder to do, of course, since you must work quickly and take care not to get burned. Using thick kitchen mitts and a large spoon, gently set one spoonful at a time onto the cookie sheet, allowing room between each lollipop for the candy to spread. Insert sticks before the candy hardens. After it hardens, gently remove the lollipops from the cookie sheet and store in airtight containers.
Wrapping each individual lollipop with waxed paper will keep them from sticking to one another.
By boiling a certain amount of sugar with a certain amount of water, we can create crystallized sugar. This crystallized sugar is commonly called rock candy or rock sugar candy. Making rock candy is a simple procedure, but it requires a steady hand and a little bit of patience.
Personalized gifts are always well received, which makes personalized hard candy a perfect gift to give. And since almost everyone likes candy, candy gifts-especially personalized candy gifts-are good choices for those hard to buy family, friends and coworkers on your gift lists.