How to Make Rock Candy
Making Rock Candy is a fun and simple process. You can learn the basics of how to make rock candy and then let your imagination go wild. For example, take the basic rock candy recipe and add any color you choose, you can even add flavorings such as lemon, raspberry, root beer, anise, peppermint or another favorite.
Simple Rock Candy Recipe
You are going to need something for your sugar crystals to form on. The best thing we have found is a wooden skewer. These are easy to find in just about any grocery store and are very easy to work with. If you prefer, you can use a piece of string, but the extra stability of the skewer makes it much easier to use or eat the rock candy when you’re done.
Take a canning jar, tall glass or some other container, place a pencil across the top and then lower your skewer or string into the container until it us approximately one-inch from the bottom. Mark the point where it meets the pencil and remove everything from the container. You need to attach the skewer to the pencil so that it remains upright and at the proper depth in your glass. I usually use a couple pieces of packing tape and adjust it until everything fits nicely. You want to end up with the pencil lying across the top of the glass and the skewer hanging down, but not touching the sides or bottom. Once you have your skewer properly positioned, you are ready to cook your sugar syrup.
In a heavy saucepan thoroughly combine one cup of water and three cups of sugar. Stir to dissolve. This makes a super-saturated sugar mixture that will make crystallization take place quickly. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a full boil, remove from heat.
You can now add coloring or flavors. We love to make a whole array of different colors. Try peppermint flavoring if you are going to use the rock candy to serve with iced tea. You can also try strawberry or raspberry flavor with lemonade, or make your favorite flavors just to eat as candy. Once you have added the colors and flavors of your choice, carefully pour the sugar mixture into your jar making sure that the skewer remains in place.
Place a piece of paper towel over the top to keep the sugar water clean and free from dust. We typically tear a small hole in the paper towel and fit it over the top of the skewer; this is an easy way to make sure that it doesn’t fall off. Place the glass in a quiet place and let set overnight. You will be checking on the progress everyday.
Your skewer will begin to have sugar crystals attach to it by the end of the first day. However, you might also notice sugar crystals forming on the top and bottom of the jar as well. Every day or two, you can scrape off the crystals to keep them growing only where you want them (on your skewer). We usually pour the syrup back into a saucepan and reheat it if we notice too many crystals forming where they don’t belong.
It can be a delicate balance, one time the solution seems perfect, the next time it will start forming large crytals throughout the jar. If the sugar crystals are forming too quickly reheat the syrup and add a tablespoon or so of water. If you reheat the syrup, just be sure you do not put your skewers with their growing crystals back into the warm solution, they will simply melt and you’ll have to start all over. Let the syrup come to room temperature, then place the skewer back into position.
It may take several days to several weeks depending on your solution and your environment. It is important that you lightly cover the growing crystal container to keep any dust out, but do not cover tightly because part of the process requires the water to be able to evaporate from the solution.
Once you have your own rock candy, you’ll be anxious to try a rainbow of colors and many different flavors. This is a great project for the kids!