Hardtack candy, sometimes called rock candy, is a homemade hard candy. Think Jolly Ranchers, lollipops, etc…this is a candy that you suck on similar to those.
You make hardtack candy by boiling sugar to the point of hard crack” stage, which is between 290-300º Fahrenheit. Lorain Oils : You can find these in baking shops, possibly in Walmart or on Amazon.
Candy Thermometer : We LOVE our Thermoforms Therapy to quickly test temperatures. The first times I made this I ended up with tiny cuts on my hands.
It may be best to bring them in at the point of breaking the candy or shaking it in powdered sugar. Line a large baking sheet (at least 12×17) with parchment paper.
Mix constantly until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to boil. Once you are comfortable with the process, feel free to turn up the heat.
Constantly measure the temperature of the boiling sugar mixture and cook until it reaches 280º Fahrenheit. Remove the sugar from the heat and stir in the flavored oil.
Immediately pour the hot sugar on the prepared pan. Make sure you don’t have a super thick layer, or it will be hard to crack apart.
Line a large baking sheet (at least 12×17”) with parchment paper. Mix constantly until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to boil.
Once you are comfortable with the process, feel free to turn up the heat. Constantly measure the temperature of the boiling sugar mixture and cook until it reaches 280º Fahrenheit.
Make sure you don't have a super thick layer, or it will be hard to crack apart. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.
If hardtack candy is sticky, you didn’t let it get to a high enough temperature during cooking. There is not a great way to fix sticky hard candy after you’ve cooked it and let it cool.
Hard candies can last about 6 months if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Ours hardens and cools within about 30 minutes, but it will depend on temperature and humidity.
To test for hard crack stage without a thermometer, drop a bit of mixture in a glass of ice-cold water. Lorain oils are highly concentrated making them great for this.
I’ve heard of people using Jello or Kool-Aid, but I haven’t tried these myself so cannot 100% recommend. This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
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This Old fashioned hardtack candy recipe is a popular Christmas candy. You may purchase the candy on my Etsy shop if you’re not into making the below recipe.
Dollar store ruby red plastic glitter bulbs and white snowflakes. Red poinsettia and gold leaves sticking out of the tree to hide the gaps.
Traditional assortment of delicate glass bulbs and ornaments. It’s come to the point that we alternate being in charge of decorating the tree every other year.
Some may see just a plain of pile of candy, but I see a work of art. One of my favorite memories of Christmastime was eating her treats and bakes.
For the hour-long ride home I would stuff my pockets with just about every flavor of those candies, making sure to grab some extra butter rum and spearmint. As I sat in the last seat of our station wagon facing the rear window, watching all the Christmas lights go by on the homes nestled in the hills along the Ohio River, I would pull those warm sticky candies out of my pocket and have to pick off the lint before popping it into my mouth.
Save for choking down a few strands of pocket lint, it was a little taste of heaven and has forever since reminded me of Christmas. Funny how such a small candy can elicit fond memories that bring about a big feeling of comfort and fun family gatherings.
½ teaspoon confectioner's sugar for dusting IMPORTANT SUPPLIES: Quality candy thermometer Sturdy deep nonreactive pot Wooden Spoon or silicone spatula Silent or bake pans Pizza cutter Keep an ice-cold bowl of water handy in the event of any small burns.
In a sturdy, deep, non-reactive pot on medium heat, add sugar, water and corn syrup. Attach candy thermometer on side of pot, careful not to touch bottom of pan.
Stir mixture with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until sugar melts and becomes smooth. Stop stirring just short of boiling point (212 degrees) When mixture reaches around 200 degree mark it will begin to bubble up over pot.
Watch carefully and remove from heat, until the bubbles subside. Replace back on medium heat and DO NOT stir after this point.
Let mixture reach 260 degrees and carefully pour in food coloring. When mixture reaches 300 degrees, turn off heat and remove pot.
Pour mixture quickly and carefully onto a nonstick surface that can withstand more than 300 degrees of heat Place pan and spoon/spatula and thermometer in sink and fill with hot water to soak Wait 15 to 20 seconds and with pizza cutter begin on outside and cut in semi symmetrical strips lengthwise and width wise. Keep an ice-cold bowl of water handy in the event of any small burns.
In a sturdy, deep, non-reactive pot on medium heat, add sugar, water and corn syrup. Attach candy thermometer to side of pot, careful not to touch bottom of pan.
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until sugar melts and becomes smooth. When mixture reaches around 200 degree mark it will begin to bubble up over pot.
You will at some point in your career of hardtack candy making, overflow the syrup. Cleaning all that hot syrup off the burner and stove will really get your tinsel in a tangle.
Once you return the pot to the burner let it continue to boil on medium heat. When it reaches 260 degrees it’s time to put in the food coloring.
When your thermometer reaches 300 degrees, remove the pot and shut off the burner. Stand back when you pour, it’s going to sizzle and release steam.
Stir the pot with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to evenly disperse the flavor/oil. Now quickly and CAREFULLY pour the syrup onto your surface of choice.
You can even use a marble counter top, but I prefer a silent. Make sure it is covered with a light dusting of nonstick cooking spray of your choice.
Video demo to show how to quickly cut old-fashioned hardtack candy with a pizza cutter: Here is where you have to move fast. Begin at any outer edge and with a pizza cutter, slice the cooling candy lengthwise and width wise into semi symmetrical squares.
Once cool, you can begin to carefully break them apart and place them into a ziplock bag with 1/2 tsp of confectioners sugar. This candy can be like working with shards of glass at times, much like the syrup spilling over the pot, at some point, you are going to get burned or get a small cut or two.
So I wouldn’t recommend having the tiny tots helping with this task. Toss the candies around in the bag to get a light coating of sugar to prevent them from sticking together.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Layer them in canning jars with a ribbon to showcase their beautiful colors.