- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon essence oil (cinnamon, peppermint, wintergreen, clove, anise, etc.)
Preparation. Start by combining 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 3/4 cup of light corn syrup in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. It’s like a sweet symphony in a pot!
The Cook. Now, let the magic happen! Cook the mixture without stirring, reducing the heat slightly towards the end. You’re aiming for the ‘hard crack stage,’ which is a fancy way of saying 300°F. If sugar crystals play hide and seek on the sides of the pan, show them who’s boss by wiping them away.
Flavor Twist. Once you’ve hit the jackpot temperature, remove the saucepan from the heat. It’s time for a splash of color and a dash of flavor! Add 1/4 teaspoon of food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon of your chosen essence oil. If you’re aiming for something citrusy and sour, toss in a 1/4 cup of food-grade mouth-puckering citric acid powder. Stir just enough to marry the flavors and colors.
Mold It. Pour the hot candy mix into two well-buttered 9-inch pie pans. Keep one pan warm by placing it over a saucepan with hot water, or my favorite, a cloth electric pad set on high. As soon as the candy in the other pan cools enough to handle, pull and cut it into 1-inch wide strips using scissors. Then, snip these strips into bite-sized pieces, moving quickly as if you’re in a candy-making race. Wearing clean cotton gloves helps prevent blisters.
Cool Down. Place the candy pieces on a buttered baking sheet. If the candy becomes too hard to cut, reheat it gently over the hot water or hot pad. But if it gets sticky, it’s time to go back to the cutting board. Repeat with the second pan.
Finish Line. When the candy cools down, give it a fairy-tale ending with a toss in powdered sugar or cornstarch. Store your crystal candy in airtight containers, layering waxed paper between the candy layers, unless you really want a giant glob of hard candy.
Serving Suggestions. Makes about 1-1/4 pounds and makes excellent gifts or party favors. Pack them in little decorative bags or jars for a sweet surprise! Enjoy your homemade crystal candy, a sugary masterpiece that’s sure to sparkle in both taste and appearance!