This is my second year of making hard candy, and I think I have it down now. My first two batches burned this year, much to the dismay of Little Miss Farmer and the delight of the local wildlife who enjoyed licking the burnt sugar off a rock in my yard. Then I located the recipe I used last year and had much better success. Here's what worked for me:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
food coloring (optional)
*Flavorings that have worked for me:
- Mild Ginger Flavor - 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Sweet Cinnamon - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Peppermint - 1 tsp peppermint extract
- Fruity - one (0.15 oz) packet of unsweetened drink mix, any flavor (adds color, too!)
In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved; then cook without stirring, lowering the heat and cooking more slowly during the last few minutes (seriously, do not rush it; sugar burns easily!), to the hard crack stage (EVERY recipe I have seen calls for 300-310 degrees F, but at my altitude, it is about 250 degrees F). An easy (and safe!) way to check for crack is to dip the tip of a dinner knife into the the candy, then plunge into ice water for a few seconds. If it is ice cold and rock hard like a lollipop, but not sticky, you're there.
Remove from heat, add flavoring and enough food coloring to color; stir only to mix. Pour into a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish that has been generously dusted with powdered sugar. Allow to cool slightly, score with a butter knife, and allow to cool completely. (Many people skip this step, but I find little squares more attractive than the "shards of glass" look accomplished by the traditional method of allowing it to cool then hitting it with a hammer.)
|I'm not sure if dusting the top helps or not, but I did it...|
Now the hard part... try to keep the kids out of it!