Homemade Hard Candy is easy to make and really easy to customize to whatever flavor and color you want! This hard candy recipe will become a favorite in your family.
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How pretty is this candy? I like that it looks like broken glass.
I didn’t realize hard candy was so simple to make, it’s just a little time consuming, much like crystal rock candy. Only six ingredients and really, the food coloring & powdered sugar dusting at the end are optional.
What is hard candy?
Hard candy is a boiled sweet made of sugar that is usually brightly colored and made to slowly dissolve in your mouth.
You can color it with food coloring and flavor it with whichever oils or extracts you like.
The flavors we used were strawberry and lemon but you can use whatever extracts you can find. Meijer had orange, cherry, mint, etc. in the baking aisle.
Is hard candy cruelty free/vegan?
Yes, hard candy is vegan and cruelty-free because is is made with no animal by-products.
Ingredients needed to make homemade hard candy
- Sugar – White, granulated sugar. This is candy, after all.
- Light Corn Syrup – Karo syrup is used for a light sweet flavor, in sauces and jams and such. It is made with real vanilla.
- Extract or Oil Flavoring – We used strawberry and lemon in this batch but there are many possibilities. Oils will be more potent that extracts but use what you can find.
- Food Coloring – Not necessary, but candy just isn’t as pretty without it.
- Powdered Sugar – You’ll dust the finished candy with powdered sugar to prevent it from sticking.
Equipment needed to make hard candy
- Candy Thermometer – You NEED a candy thermometer to make this hard candy. Not optional.
- Lipped Baking Pan (Jelly Roll Pan) – You also need a pan with a lip. You’ll pour the hot mixture onto the pan to cool and without a lip…you’ll have a mess.
- Silicone Baking Mats – It’ll make your life easier to line the baking pans with silicone baking mats. It’s easy to peel the cooled candy off of.
- Flavor Oils or Flavor Extracts – Like I said, you can likely find individual flavor extracts at your grocery store, but this set has some unique ones – crisp champagne or salted caramel, anyone?
- Food coloring – I always recommend this color performance kit. It has a really helpful color chart that makes mixing whatever color you want really easy.
You can easily adjust how much flavoring/color your candy has and you could color coordinate for a party or shower.
How to make homemade hard candy
Making homemade hard candy is probably easier than you think.
STEP ONE: First, you’ll combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan and stir continuously over medium heat until dissolved.
STEP TWO: Then, you use a candy thermometer to make sure the temperature gets to 290 degrees, which takes about 35-45 minutes.
STEP THREE: Once it hits temperature, you remove from heat, add whichever coloring and extracts you’re using, stir it up, then pour it onto a baking sheet to cool.
STEP FOUR: Once it’s cooled, you break it up into whichever size pieces you want. Sprinkle in powdered sugar & you’re done. Easy!
How much flavoring for hard candy?
You can use whichever flavor you like for this hard candy recipe and how much flavor you use is also customizable. It’s best to use a highly concentrated candy oil that can stand up to the heat without losing flavor. You’ll typically use a teaspoon of flavoring if it’s super-strength, or one Tablespoon if it’s “regular” strength.
Extracts are somewhat easier to find and will work, they just aren’t as potent.
Homemade Hard Candy FAQs
How do you store candy?
Hard candies can last up to one year if they’re stored properly. Keep it in a cool, dry place away from humidity and heat. The coating of powdered sugar at the end of the recipe helps to keep hard candies from absorbing moisture from the air.
Can hard candy go bad?
Hard candy doesn’t have an expiration date but it does get less desirable the older it gets. It can get sticky or chewy when affected by humidity or fluctuating temperatures so it is best to enjoy it as soon as possible.
Can you use silicone molds for hard candy?
Yes, you can use silicone molds to make hard candy or lollipops, as long as they are heat safe (some aren’t!). Make sure you check the labels – they should be heat safe to 350+ degrees. This set would work for fun shapes and this set would work for suckers.
Can you use chocolate molds for hard candy?
Yes, most molds double for chocolate or hard candy, just double check that they’re heat safe.
Can you use extract instead of oil in hard candy?
Yes, you can easily substitute oils and extracts in this recipe and most others. Since flavoring oils are so much more concentrated, you only need a few drops in place of a teaspoon of extract.
WANT TO MAKE MORE HOMEMADE CANDY? TRY THESE RECIPES:
- Homemade Chocolate Nonpareils (Sno Caps!)
- Gummy Bears
- Homemade Twix
- Homemade Rock Candy
- Easy Peanut Brittle
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HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE HARD CANDY
Originally published December 31, 2012.