Friday, February 15, 2008

Making Molten Lava, AKA Hard Candy

I have been having fun finding new recipes for yummy things to make, and sweets are my favorite. I tried a new cookie recipe yesterday and sadly ended up with little white bricks. The hard candy worked like a charm, though, once I understood the "rules" about making it.
1) When still liquid, it is like sticky molten lava. Do not get tricky or cocky, those burns hurt.
2) If you are going to use molds, be sure that they are hard candy molds. Otherwise they will melt, and the mess is unholy, and really hard to clean up.
3) Non-stick spray is your friend. Use it on ANYTHING that comes in contact with the candy. You will thank me for this.
4) Unless you intend to make lollipops, make the pieces smaller than you think. They will fit in mouths much better.
5) If you do not have molds and intend to break up the candy after it has cooled, beware. Once cooled, it is HARD (thus its name), and it is also as sharp as glass. You should score it into small cubes when it is almost cooled, and use a clean towel between you and the candy to break it apart. No one likes blood on their candy...

The recipe comes out much like old fashioned barley candy if you flavor it right, and it is scrumptious. I used to love getting those barley candies in my Christmas stocking every year, but now they are getting harder and harder to find, so now I make them myself!

Hard Candy
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
Flavoring (amounts depends on type-some may require a few drops, others a teaspoon)
1 drop food coloring, optional

In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook over high heat until mixture boils and reaches 300 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to stand until bubbles have settled. If desired, add your flavoring and coloring once the bubbles have settled down. If you are going to pour it into a sheet, I recommend using a cookie sheet with parchment sprayed with non-stick spray. Do not pour on a surface that cannot take the heat- you can make your table's varnish bubble if you are not careful!

Pour into candy molds sprayed with cooking spray. Keep mixture warm on a double boiler. If mixture begins to harden, and becomes thick, it may be warmed in a microwave for a few seconds. ONLY handle the candy once you are SURE it has cooled.

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