I like eating all kinds of hard candy, but I don’t like artificial flavors or colors in them.
Sometimes I even find the bags of old-fashioned candy has weird stuff in them. So I decided to make my own.
This was prompted by me being stricken down with a most painful sore throat.
Traditional throat and cough drops are all right, but I’ve always found that a peppermint candy soothes my sore throat better than traditional throat drops.
So instead of buying peppermint candy with artificial colors, I decided to make my own and I found the whole process of how to make hard candy to be fairly simple.
Note: This recipe makes 1 pound of candy.
If you are trying out a new flavor for the first time, make a half batch or less to test. This way if it is flavored too little or too much, you’re not stuck with an entire pound.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 tablespoons peppermint extract or other flavor – You can use peppermint essential oil (or any flavored oil), but use less since it is much more concentrated than the extract. I’ve seen recipes using anywhere from as little as 5 drops to as much as 70 drops. Adjust for your taste preference.
- 1 teaspoon natural food coloring (optional). I did not use any.
- Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar for dusting your pan and the candy.
- Dust a cookie sheet with powdered sugar. For easy cleanup, I used a silicone non-stick mat over my cookie sheet.
- Mix the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until dissolved
- Stop stirring and attach a candy thermometer to the pot. I like the ones that have a clip to hold it in place.
- Bring the mixture to boiling over medium-high heat until the thermometer reaches the hard-crack stage, between 300-310 deg F. This will take awhile, but be sure not to go to far away from the kitchen. Check the temperature often. It will appear to not be rising fast, but then all of the sudden the temperature will jump.
- Remove from heat and stir in your flavored extract or oil and coloring…CAREFUL! Do not lean over the pot when adding oils or extracts, especially like peppermint. It will make you jump away (yes, based on personal experience)!
- Pour candy mixture onto prepared cookie sheet. Be careful not to get the hot, molten liquid on you!
- Allow to cool so it can be comfortably handled.
- Dust the top with powdered sugar.
- Break into pieces – I simply lifted the candy up from the edges, broke off a big chunk and then broke it into smaller pieces with my hands. You could also lay a clean towel over the entire piece after it is completely cooled and break it into pieces with a hammer. Or if you want your candy to have nice, uniform shapes, you can use hard candy molds.
- Store candy in an airtight container and enjoy!
To continue the throat drop story…I usually buy Ricola.
Their “Natural Honey-Herb” drops contains menthol 2.0 (active cough suppressant ingredient) and color (caramel), extract of a Ricola herb mixture (elder, horehound, hyssop, lemon balm, linden flowers, mallow, peppermint, sage, thyme, wild thyme) honey, natural flavors, starch syrup and sugar.
It wouldn’t be too difficult to amend our candy recipe to duplicate an herb throat drop or even a simple honey-lemon drop.
Plus, as unassuming as “natural flavors” appear, I’ve now learned they may not be so natural after all. You can read more about it here.