How to Make Hard Candy

If you've followed my vlog channel at all, you may have noticed that Joe and I made a lot of hard candy last month.  I don't think that it's actually that we have that much of a sweet tooth (we actually gave a lot of it to friends), but we just wanted to know how to do it.  That tends to be a recurring theme in our household, doesn't it? ;)  Anyway, we've gotten to the point that I think we're consistent enough to share our recipe with you, and I think you may be surprised not only to know how easy it really is, but that you probably have the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

You'll need:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • Flavoring of your choice (I used LorAnn's Oils in Lime, but our favorite is just using some vanilla extract!)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Powdered sugar
Over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  We don't want any granules just floating around.

Once the sugar has been completely dissolved, turn the heat to high, and do not stir anymore.  Just watch the temperature.  You'll notice that there is not actually a thermometer in the photo below.  That's because we have an infrared thermometer that we've gotten used to, but whatever you use, make sure you're watching it.  At 260°F, you'll want to add in food coloring if using it, and at 310°F, take the pot off the burner.  It should be ready, but just to make sure, drop a bit of the mixture into a glass of cold water.  If it forms a hard little ball, it's ready.  If not, it needs to cook a bit longer.

Once the mixture stops boiling, you can add in your flavoring.  Like I said, I'm using the LorAnn Oils Flavoring, and you use an entire dram of that, but if using extract, just make sure the mixture doesn't get watered down too much.  Honestly, if we didn't have these little flavor oils, I imagine we would use exclusively extracts like vanilla and almond, as well as boiled down espresso shots for our flavorings.  That's just what suits our tastes!

Soon after the flavoring is added, you'll want to pour your candy mixture into pre-greased candy molds or onto a pre-greased cookie pan.  Personally, we prefer using the molds, just because it makes the candies look more like candy instead of something from Breaking Bad.  Let it cool until it has completely hardened, then just break apart the candies in the molds, or use a knife to make shattered pieces if using a cookie pan.

Finally, toss your candies with a bit of powdered sugar.  This is actually a very important step, because it keeps your candies from getting stuck together.  We've tried skipping it before, and I just wouldn't recommend it.  

So, that's all there is to making hard candy!  Doesn't it seem like it would be a bit more difficult?  It does take a bit of practice to get the temperatures perfect, but with ingredients like sugar and water, it's not an expensive project if you mess up, either!  Clean up is much easier than you'd think, too.  Just soak your utensils in water, and the sugar gets completely dissolved.

As always, if you try making these yourself, please send me pictures and let me know what you thought!  I'd love to know how it worked for you, and what flavors you've tried.  This is really a place where you can get creative, and I'm sure we'll be experimenting more with how to make our own flavorings and syrups.  If you're interested in more posts like this, please let me know by commenting down below what kinds of posts you'd like to see!