Homemade Hard Candy
I have been making hard tack every year for more than 25 years! Many of my friends and colleagues look forward to getting a small bag of it every year, many looking forward to seeing what new flavor I have tried that year. A “flavor guide” is given with every bag so the recipients know what color is what flavor!
“Hard Tack” Recipe
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 small bottle (1 teaspoon) LorAnn Super Strength flavoring, any flavor *
- liquid food coloring or gel food coloring (as desired)
- In a heavy (good quality) 2-quart saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Insert candy thermometer if using**, making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring.
- Early in the cooking process, "wash down" any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
- Continue to cook the syrup, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260º F; add drops of coloring until desired hue is achieved. Do not stir; boiling action will incorporate color into syrup.
- Remove from heat precisely at 300° F (temperature will continue rising), or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water (hard crack stage). After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and stir. USE CAUTION WHEN ADDING FLAVORING TO AVOID RISING STEAM.
- Carefully pour syrup into prepared molds or onto the prepared greased and foil lined cookie sheet.*** (As the sugar mixture begins to set up, you may want to score with a large knife to mark squares.) Do not refrigerate.
- Cool completely. Break sheet candy into small pieces and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers between waxed paper. If making lollipops, do not dust with powdered sugar, but place in sucker bags and secure with twist ties. Store hard candy in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.
*Adding about ¼ stick of unsalted butter after the syrup stops boiling makes flavors such as caramel, butter rum and butterscotch taste heavenly! Also, adding 1-2 tsp of “tart and sour” to fruit flavors really makes the flavors “pop!”
**Using a candy thermometer is highly recommended!
***I fill a few 9x13 cake pans with powdered sugar (about ½” deep) and I make several “troughs” in the powdered sugar with my finger. When the syrup is ready to pour, I pour it into the powdered sugar troughs. When cool enough to handle without being too syrupy, I use kitchen scissors to cut the candy “snakes” into bite-sized pieces. Let cool completely.
Roberta Moore, MA, MDiv, Management Analyst
Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare