As promised, here are the recipes for the Christmas treats we made last weekend. I don’t have many pictures of the beginning steps because I didn’t know I would be posting until after we had already made the candy.
Old-Fashioned Hard Christmas Candy
I got this recipe online several years ago, but I don’t have any idea what site.
- 2 C White Sugar
- 1 C Water
- 3/4 C Light Corn Syrup
- 1 teaspoon flavoring extract (we use root beer, raspberry, mint, and orange)
- 1 drop food coloring (optional, we only add when the flavoring doesn’t color it to match)
- 1/8 C confectioner’s sugar
- In a heavy 2 qt saucepan combine sugar, water, and syrup.
- Cook, stirring constantly until dissolved, then cook without stirring to hard crack stage (300 degrees F). Lower heat and cook slower once you reach 200F.
- Remove from heat and let cool a bit (so flavoring doesn’t evaporate immediately), then add flavoring and color and stir only enough to mix.
- Pour into very well buttered 9 inch pans, set over a saucepan with hot water to keep workable while you work with parts of it. When cool enough to handle, very quickly (VERY QUICKLY, once it is cool enough to handle it gets hard very very fast so you have to move quickly) take a section and form into a rope and cut into pieces (kitchen shears work best to go fast). Repeat with the rest of the candy. Put cut candy on buttered cookie sheet not allowing pieces to touch each other.
- Toss in powdered sugar to prevent sticking to each other.
Great-Grandma Harriet’s Caramels
This is a long-time family recipe.
- 2 C sugar
- 1 2/3 C Light Corn Syrup
- 1/2 lb. butter less 2T
- 2 C Light Cream
- In a large pot (to prevent foam overflow) mix all but 1 cup of cream together. Bring to a boil, then add the rest of the cream.
- Boil to 244 degrees F at sea level, 232 degrees F at 5000 ft., and 224 degrees F at 7500 ft. It will get to 200 pretty fast and then it takes 30 minutes to an hour to get up the rest of the way.
- Prepare pan (we use a 11 1/4 x 7 1/4 x 1 3/8 inch metal rectangular pan) by lining fully with wax paper and thoroughly buttering the wax paper.
- Once the caramel has reached the proper temperature remove from heat. Let cool a bit (but not to the point that it is no longer pourable, just enough so it doesn’t melt the wax paper in the pan). Pour into prepared pan. Let sit 24 hours in a room that is about 50-70 degrees.
Put the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting. Remove from pan by lifting out wax paper and turning upside-down on cutting board. Peel paper off. If it sticks you might have to use a sharp knife to “skin” the paper off the caramel. If the top of the caramel gets too damaged and “ugly” because of having to do this just flip it over on the cutting board, it will settle and flatten during the cutting process.
I like to trim off the edges to get a nice rectangle for cutting since the edges usually get messed up during pan removal. We then cut those edges up and all the helpers enjoy them.
Using a large, sharp knife, cut the rectangle into even 1 inch strips, pushing each strip away from the others as you go. If they touch they stick back together.
Then, taking two strips at a time to another board, cut the strips into 1 inch pieces. Again, push the pieces away from each other so they don’t stick.
Then line them up on a big piece of wax paper for packaging.
All of this needs to be done in a room that is not too warm and you have to work somewhat quickly to avoid the caramels getting mushy and hard to handle. Many hands to package while one person cuts makes it go much smoother!
At this point you can decide how you want to package them. Some we just arrange immediately on a pretty plate (not touching each other) to be put out at a gathering. That plate is refrigerated until the gathering so they are not too mushy.
Others we wrap with wax paper like you would wrap a present and put them into tin boxes to give as gifts:
And some we wrap in wax paper and twist the ends (this is the easiest way to wrap them) and then put in a decorative jar for gifts:
One recipe will make approximately 120 caramels, including the “ugly” edge ones.
Hope you try some of these out and enjoy them!