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My Mother’s Christmas Candy

Posted Dec 23 2010 11:34am

Micah and I left yesterday for my parent’s house.  We made a stop in Des Moines (more on that later), and arrived ‘home’ around 4pm!  Living 3.5 hours away definitely brings a new meaning to the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”  We are excited to be here, and will be in the area for the next 6-7 days.  Hooray for family, friends, and time for some needed R & R before the new year begins (I am going to need it!).

I was supposed to post this recipe yesterday, but we were on a huge time crunch for leaving and I just didn’t get it done.  As most of you know by now, my parents do not have the internet, so I will not be posting daily until Saturday (unless I get a chance to go into town – which I am doing now!).  Even though they don’t have the internet, it forces us to relax and not have many distractions (yes, even though I do get email, etc. on my phone – it’s not the same as a computer).

Now for the prized recipe!  You can read about our fun candy-making weekend here !

My Mother’s Christmas Candy


2 c. sugar
1 c. White Karo Syrup (make sure you get the kind with NO HFCS)
1/2 c. water
1 dram candy oil
Food coloring as needed
powdered sugar

Note:  You can buy candy oils online.  They come in what is called a dram.  We bought ours through LorAnn Oils – this is the place where our mother always bought them (unless she found them at a local store). 



1.  Combine sugar, syrup and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Lower heat (but you still want it simmering pretty well) and wait until the water has evaporated and the color is a light auburn.  If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature will need to be at 300-310 degrees.  However you do not need a candy thermometer.  I meant to buy one, but we did without!  After the candy starts turning a light auburn color, test it by dipping a spoon with the candy into ice cold water.  If it turns hard, it is ready.  This is called the ‘hard crack’ stage of candy making (read more here ).  Yes, you will go through several spoons and the only way to get it off (and to clean your pans afterward) is to boil them in water!


The candy will get thicker.  Also the time will vary depending on the width and depth of the pans you use.  It will take anywhere from 20-45 minutes.


The photo below is starting to gain color and thickness.


2.  Immediately after the candy is at the ‘hard crack’ stage, remove from heat.  If you do not do this immediately, it will burn (at the ‘hard crack’ stage, candy is at the highest temperature it can get to without burning)!  This is why I don’t have any pictures of the auburn color – we didn’t have time!  You must act very quickly!  Add the candy oil and food coloring.  Be careful to not breathe in the fumes – the scent will be very strong!  Stir from a distance.

Of course, tasting is necessary!


3.  Transfer to a small-medium baking sheet.  My mother recommends having baking sheets solely for candy making purposes.  I do too!  Let set until hard.  If you want to cut candy into even pieces, wait until it is semi-hard.  If you let the candy set inside, it will take 2-3 hours to completely harden.  We set our second batch outside and it took less than 1 hour.

Be sure to label flavors if you have multiple flavors with the same color!


4.  When candy is hard, use a meat tenderizer to break it up!  I highly recommend doing this outside.  We did it inside during the first batch – big mistake!  Of course if you decide to cut your candy evenly, you will have already done this step.



5.  Scoop up the candy into plastic baggies with a tablespoon of powdered sugar.  Shake shake shake!!!  The powdered sugar will keep the candy from sticking together.


All done!  It really is not has hard as it looks, but it does take time.  This was so much fun – taking a tradition from our mother and making it into another tradition.  My sister and I are making this a new yearly tradition!


You will get messy.  Your kitchen will get messy.  And, if you are like me – you will get annoyed!  My kitchen had sugar on the floor, on the walls and I was mopping and cleaning my walls (and every other inch of my kitchen) at midnight!  It was so worth it!



My niece is now trying to pick out the perfect piece of candy.  She told me the pieces I gave her to choose were all too small!  Oh, the joys of children!


We are off to do some shopping and cooking!  Back tomorrow!  Smile

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