We scrubbed an empty spaghetti sauce jar since it seemed like a good size for a long string of sugar. I considered using string as many of the recipes stated, but it seemed very unappetizing. Having eaten a great deal of commercial rock candy on sticks, I decided skewers were the way to go.
Then I found the secret to successful rock candy-making in a couple of vids and comments.
- Soak the skewer in water for a few minutes.
- Coat the skewer in sugar or in the sugar syrup you are about to make. I'd recommend using the syrup because that worked well for us.
- Let the sugar syrup cool and harden a bit on the skewer. You don't have to wait too long. My son was too impatient to let it sit too long.
For the syrup I based it on this recipe.
- 3 cups (384g) of sugar
- 1 cup (128g) water
- 1/2 tsp (2ml) vanilla extract
- a few drops of blue food coloring
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot
- Important: add sugar slowly. We (well, I say "we" but...) ended up dumping it all in and there was a lot of sugar that collected at the bottom. If you add slowly you can see the moment the water is saturated because the sugar will fall to the bottom and no longer melt into the water.
- Make sure you keep stirring so that the sugar doesn't burn or caramelize.
- Once your water is saturated, remove from heat and use it to prepare the skewers as stated above.
- Add the vanilla and food coloring.
- Let the sugar syrup (or solution) cool. We didn't put it in the fridge and we didn't wait until the recommended temp (again -impatient).
- Pour the sugar water solution into the jar. A funnel might help with this.
- Set one or two prepared skewers in the jar. If you use two make sure they don't touch below the waterline.
Now at this point in all the directions I read, they fussed a lot about not letting the skewers or string touch the bottom or side of the jar. Nothing we did prevented that, so we eventually gave up and them rest on the bottom and lean against the jar sides. We did cross the skewers at the neck of the jar and rubber band them together so they wouldn't touch each other. Then you need to cover the jar with plastic wrap or something to keep anything from falling into the open jar and any curious sugar-happy critters out.
Then you wait. And wait. We waited for two weeks. Then we had these:
And they were very, very yummy. And gone in minutes.
- What no one tells you straight out is that, (stop and think about it) you are making a syrup that will be gooey, messy and somehow get everywhere. Also, much sugar may be wasted in the process.
- Two few crystals may not be your problem, but too many may. Our jar kept crusting over on top. I elected to break them up and give the jar a gentle swirl so the crystals would form on the skewers and not on the surface.
Next time I may try a wider necked jar and several more skewers. We got busy and failed to make use of the remaining syrup so it ended up being tossed unused. I think we could have easily had enough solution for twice as much candy goodness.