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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Old-Fashioned Hard Candy

Another Christmas-time creation, another moment of nostalgia for me. 
DS7_8141 Twelve years ago, when my husband and I bought our house, my neighbor brought me some home-made hard candy at Christmas.  I had one of those moments where you you feel like your life is rewinding at a high rate of speed.  Everything around me went blurry. I probably went a little slack-jawed as I whooshed (yes, that's a word in my house) back to when I was about seven years old.  I was at my great-aunt Garn's house.  (Maybe it was Jane's? or Sal's?  My grandmother had a lot of sisters.)  I remember being there with lots of cousins that I didn't really know, but we were of course expected to play together nicely, and not be too loud, and for God's sake, don't knock over the damn houseplants.  I remember it being late, and being tired, but my mom and gram were not done visiting yet.

 Then I discovered Garn's candy jar.  It was filled with these beautiful, colorful, irregularly-shaped candies.  They reminded me of pieces of stained glass, except more delicious and digestable.  In my mind, I was in a dark room, with white Christmas lights in the background that made the candy sparkle.  Made the candy irresistable.  And I snuck piece after piece, licking the powdered sugar off of my fingers so as to hide the evidence.

Going back to my neighbor: she is a dear woman, and after I had a complete spaz attack because I hadn't seen that candy in 20 years and I was so excited, she agreed to teach me how to make it.  And now I share that knowledge with you. 

Old-Fashioned Hard Candy

Ingredients:
  • 2 C. Sugar
  • 1 C. Water
  • 3/4 C. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. flavor oil (I use LorAnn)
  • food coloring
  • powdered sugar
DS7_8153DS7_8143Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a 2 quart heavy saucepan.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, then cook without stirring.  Once it is boiling well, lower heat and cook more slowly to 300 degrees (hard crack stage.)  While it is cooking grease (with margarine) a cookie sheet and cover with powdered sugar.  Once it hits 300 degrees, remove pan from heat.  Add food coloring and oil flavoring.  Stir well and pour onto cookie sheet..  Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top.  Allow to cool a bit and then cut with kitchen shears or break apart with your fingers.

Word of warning...do not put your face too close to the mixture as you are pouring in the flavor.  Not that my sister ever did that while making the hot cinnamon flavor, nor did she burn her face.  Nope.
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