I've always loved rock candy and wondered how to make it. When I found this recipe, I thought it would be a perfect one go share. I hope you all enjoy this. If you make some rock candy of your own, feel free to send me a picture!
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You will need:
Sugar (lots of sugar)
Food Coloring (concentrated for brighter colors)
Wooden Candy Sticks or Bamboo Skewers
Trim down your skewers to a reasonable size to fit in whatever jars or cups that you will be using. You'll also want to get rid of the point. Dip them in water, then roll in sugar. Let dry completely and set aside. This gives the sugar a base. Something to stick to when it starts to crystallize.
Mix equal parts of water and sugar in a pot on med-high heat until dissolved. Then continue to add sugar until you have 2:1 - 3:1 ratio. It will get to a point where it won't dissolve anymore.
The first time I attempted homemade rock candy I used a 2:1 ratio and after 3 days of ZERO growth, I poured it all back and heated each individual glass of syrup over the stove again and added more sugar. I wouldn't recommend doing that, it was a pain, but I didn't want it to go to waste! I added a bit more sugar to it and it worked. So that's why I would suggest definitely a 2:1 ratio and then adding a little sugar at a time until it starts to look a little cloudy. That is the point that it has reached saturation.
We used 8 cups of water and 18-20 cups of sugar and it made a lot. So you can definitely half the recipe or create as little as you like as long as you keep within the same sugar/water ratio. You are making a nice, sticky, sugary syrup. Mix until mixture starts to simmer. You do not need it to a rolling boil or bring it to a certain temperature with a candy thermometer. Easy.
Allow your syrup to cool for a few minutes and ladle into your jars using a funnel to catch spills. It is still very hot at this point. We used the tips that we trimmed off of our skewers and dipped them into concentrated food coloring paste, then swirled the skewer into our hot syrup mixture. You can use liquid food coloring, but I like the paste better. If you'd like to add flavoring, now would be the time to do it. Just a few drops in each glass.
Then attach a clothespin to each skewer (the ones you dipped in sugar and let dry) and place in cup. Make sure the skewer isn't touching the bottom or sides of jar/glass. They need room to grow.
Place your jars in a warm location with lots of natural light. Here they are on day one...you can see that there is a bit of sugar build up from when we dipped them in water and then let them dry in sugar as well as on the bottom of the glass. I do not know if covering them would alter the process at all.
Day 3. More crystallization.
Day 5. The syrup is crystallizing on the bottom of the glasses as well.
7 days-DONE! We had a great time watching them grow and sampling the finished product.
In the end, the glasses with 1 skewer did better as they had more room to grow.
If you attempt to do more than one skewer/jar, use a wide mouth jar. The orange glass had two skewers and both turned out GREAT, but a couple of the other glasses with 2 were a bit smaller than the rest of the single skewered glasses.
I held the lollipop over the jar to let most of it drip off and then set it on a cookie sheet to dry. You can also leave the clothespin on and just transfer it to an empty jar to let the excess drip off and let the lollipop dry.
And as you can see in the photo, they didn't all grow at the same rate. The purple one was the biggest we had. So there are obviously many variables to doing this.
*There will be crystallized sugar in the bottom of your jars/glasses. Just run them in hot water and chip it out with a butter knife. It comes out pretty easily.*
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Credit to gluesticksblog for this awesome recipe!
*see pictures at side for extra instruction*