December 12, 2010

Holiday Tradition: Hard Candy DIY

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a day in December when the women in my mother's family get together to make flavored hard candy (think handmade Jolly Ranchers---but better). It's a pretty intense process to make this candy, and we end up with about a 5 gallons of 20 different flavors of candy. There is no way that one person could handle this process on their own, so it's a nice way to get in the holiday spirit with each other. In the past, we would congregate at my Grandmother's house for this festive tradition. Since this is the first Christmas since her death in January, we are starting a new tradition at my mother's house. Here are some iPhone photos of the day! :)

You boil 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of corn syrup, and 1 cup of water to 300 degrees in a flat bottom pan that is NOT non-stick. Make sure to use a candy thermometer!

On a marble slab, pour Confectioners Sugar, smooth & even it out, and use a table spoon to make "troughs" for the candy to cool in. It is important that near your last few batches of candy you ice down the slab. It will get hot!

Once you have reached the temperature, remove the pot from the stove and mix in the oil/flavor of your choice (we do every flavor from Pina Colada to Root Beer) and your own color (we try to make each candy a little different, so it stands out).

Aunt Amy and Kiersten getting ready to pour the candy into the troughs.

Me (ignore my cousin Janica in the back...she'll kill me if she sees this lol)

Me crocheting while we wait for the candy to be ready...

A good group shot before we start cutting the sugar into little bits.

You have to cut the candy into little bits before it hardens, so it's still a little hot.... so much fun. Be sure that you drop the little bits back into the confectioners sugar as it will softly cover them and add a little sweetness to your flavor!

After 6 or 7 hours of candy making, we start to get a little loopy...

I had a lovely day yesterday getting a little messy with the women in my family. What are some of your holiday traditions?


  1. My favorite traditions.. hmm.. there are so many! Haha. I love getting matching pajamas with my mom. Though we used to be decked out head to toe in matching jammies, now we just do the same sleep pants (: It's really cute and fun!

    My other favorite tradition is watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas night, we've done that for as long as I can remember, and I always loved it when the little boy goes "Excuse me.. excuse me.. excuse me.." "What!" "I burped." hahah (:

    My last, but not least, favorite tradition is watching the Christmas Boats. I live on a dead end street, and at the end of the street is water that hooks up to Puget Sound (Yay for living in Seattle!) so every year, this year they were this past Friday, the boats from the Yacht Club come right past the end of our street, all decorated up with lights! It's awesome (:

    Happy Holidays! (:

  2. That is a really fun tradition. The trough with the icing sugar is a great mould! I am planning on making some lollipops and might use your recipe if it is a tried and tested one!
    I don't have any traditions, my parents spilt up when I was a teen, and since then I haven't really spent a proper Christmas with either of them, but this weekend I hosted a Christmas craft party at my flat for my friends and would like to make that into a tradition! We made wreaths and paper chains and stars and drunk chocolate tea!

  3. What a great idea!
    It looks like a ton of fun and very original!