So, this recipe is essentially the same as the one for Candy Apples.. well, aside for the apples, anyway!
The ingredients and technique for making the candy syrup are the same – it’s what you do with it afterwards that makes the difference. The techniques described here can also be used to make “Jolly Ranchers” from leftover candy syrup when making candy apples.
Home Made “Jolly Rancher” type hard candies
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
3/4 cup water
Several drops food coloring*
1 tbsp flavor extract (we used Cherry!)
1/4-1/2 tsp citric acid powder, optional
Generously grease the bottom and sides of a large cookie sheet (one with sides at least 1/2″ tall). Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir well, bring to a boil on medium or medium-high heat. Affix candy thermometer to pan.
Boil mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 310 degrees. Remove from heat, quickly stir in food coloring and flavoring (and citric acid, if using). Stir mixture until it stops boiling, and most of the “bubbles” disappear – this will minimize texture in your finished candies.
Carefully pour molten candy into prepared cookie sheet. Allow to cool until still very warm to the touch, slightly malleable, and firm (not brittle).
Turn slab of candy out onto a cutting board, taking care not to stretch it. Using a large knife, score candy slab into rows about 1″ apart. Turn slab 90 degrees, and score again – 1/2″ for long skinny candies, 1″ for square ones.
Working quickly, cut all the way through the candy slab along the score lines, separating candies into rows, then individual candies. You will need to have all of your cutting done while the candy is still fairly warm and malleable, or it will shatter when you attempt to cut it.
Hard candy is very hydrophilic – it pulls moisture out of the air, and absorbs it. This will result in sticky or “sweaty” candy – you’ll want to either wrap them individually, or keep them sealed in an airtight container.
Below: My husband swiped an unscored “row” of warm candy, and shaped it. Awww! Brownie points for him!