Rock candy (also called rock sugar) is a type of confectionery mineral composed of relatively large sugar crystals. The candy is formed by allowing a supersaturated solution of sugar and water to crystallize onto a surface such as a string or stick.
Making rock candy is relatively simple and is an entertaining activity. Kids will get excited about watching the candy grow in the form of crystals (over the course of about 4 hours). As a reward for their patience, they get to eat the candy at the end of the week. Making rock candy is also a great science experiment! You can make it with either a string or a stick.
To make honey rock candy, you will need:
2 Cups of water
3 Cups of sugar
1 Cup of honey
A Glass jar or glass-measuring cup
String or long wooden stick (longer than a Popsicle stick, maybe a wooden kabob stick)
A Paper towel
Food coloring to make colored rock candy
You may want to experiment with mixing the food coloring before you add it to the candy to make sure you get the right colors you want. Otherwise, you might end up with a batch of brown candy.
Make sure your glass jar or cup is completely clean before you use it. Measure a piece of string to be a little higher than the jar/cup, or use a stick longer than the height of the container.
If using a stick: bring water to boil in a saucepan first. Add sugar to the water one cup at a time while stirring. Add the honey and continue stirring until it has all melted and blended in with your sugar water. If you are using food coloring, add it now. Take the mixture off of the stove top. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into your glass-measuring cup.
If using string: tape one end of the string to the middle of the pencil. Take the second end of the string and attach a paper clip to it. This will keep the string hanging downward. Wet the string and roll it in a little bit of sugar. This will get the process started a little faster. Place the pencil over top of the glass jar with the string hanging down. Set it aside. Then place the water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add sugar to the water one cup at a time while stirring. You want to watch for the previous cup of sugar to dissolve before adding more. It will be much harder toward the end. Add the honey and continue stirring until completely melted and blended in with your sugar water. Add the food coloring at this point. Take the mixture off of the stove. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture in to your glass-measuring cup.
If using a stick: moisten the stick and roll in some granulated sugar. Tape the stick to the pencil, or use some string to tightly fasten the two together. Place the pencil over the mouth of the glass or jar, and position the stick so that it is completely covered in the already prepared sugar water.
Set the cup somewhere in your house where it will stay cool and not get any light. Make sure that you cover it with a paper towel, so that no dust or dirt gets in it.
Although you will see the rock candy begin to form within four hours, you should wait seven days before taking your rock candy out to eat it. One cup makes one serving.
If you want to add flavor by means of an extract, add after combining the sugar and honey with water. About 5-10 drops of flavored extract will be enough to create flavored rock candy; if you would like the taste to be very strong, add 15-20 drops to the mixture.
If you are not a fan of honey, you can also use fruit to flavor the rock candy.
For fruit for flavoring, you will need to bring the mixture to a simmer. Drop a few small pieces of fresh-cut fruit into the saucepan, and continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes. You will need to strain the fruit pieces from the mixture using a spoon or a colander before transferring the mixture into a glass.
Try creating different flavors and colors and setting up multiple jars of the mixture to see the varied results you get! Have fun!