7 January 2008

Hard Candy Isn’t!

Posted in C-boy, candy making at 12:53 am by Tricia

Hard candy isn’t hard. Of course as a material it’s hard, but it’s not hard to make.

But let me back up. In December, C-boy was doing a project on amber mining for school, while his class was studying Latvia. This was just after I made the apple cider syrup for the first time, so when we were talking about what to use as amber, I came up with the idea of hard candy. I thought about starting with apple cider again (for the color), but then thought it might be easier to start with a traditional hard candy recipe before doing too much experimentation.

I found this recipe at allrecipes.com. Since we wanted the candy to be amber colored, I decided to use dark syrup instead of light. I also used some raw sugar along with the white. I skipped the food coloring and confectioners sugar steps. I made a half-batch, since I was still thinking of it as an experiment, plus he wouldn’t need much for the project. (allrecipes has a neat feature where it will scale the measurements for you)

The end result was indeed amber colored, with a nice molasses-y taste. I used a little lemon extract for flavoring, but it was very subtle and I think it would have been better without (since I liked the dark sugar element).

C-boy ended up using amber beads in his project, so I sent some candy in labeled as “edible amber, certified bug-free!” for a special treat, on the day of the multi-cultural fair. C-boy didn’t like it much (because it tasted too much like molasses), but he said lots of other kids did.

Like I said, this is not hard to make. Boil the stuff, then keep an eye on your candy thermometer until it reaches hard crack stage.

Edible Amber Hard Candy
based on an allrecipes entry by Judith Synesael

1-3/4 cups sugar (mix of raw and white)
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon (or other) extract

1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Without stirring, heat to 300 to 310 degrees F (159 to 154 C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads.

2. Remove from heat and stir in extract (if using). Pour onto a greased cookie sheet. Let cool, and break into pieces. (Some recipes suggest making lines in it, to make it easier to break when cool. I’m not sure it helped, but I did a little bit of that as you can see in the photo.) Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Amber candy

This link will take you to a detail picture of the amber mine, and you can cruise through the set to see more.



  1. Leila said,


    And I love the amber miners… and the senet board. Some really cool projects you have going there… That’s one of my main regrets with the kid’s school…

  2. jonskifarms said,

    Leila, I made caramels over the weekend and had a brief thought (while watching the thermometer) of “hey, maybe I should have boiled water first to see how calibrated this thing is…”

    The amber mine ended up being about 1/10th a project about mines or Latvia, and 9/10ths about wiring up LEDs! But his teacher is cool with that, which is one reason I appreciate our school. Not much to speak of in the way of foreign language instruction, though…

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