How to make hard candy in your microwave

…after failing the first 3 attempts at making it.

That’s the rest of the title. Seriously. This took me four tries to get right and the reason I want to write about it is so that you can learn from my mistakes. I decided to make candy because I had all these silicone shape molds that were supposedly meant for baking but I never used them for that, mainly because I don’t have the patience to ice cookies and cakes like the patterns on the molds. This is why I love food bloggers and bakers. You make beautiful things and I can buy them and celebrate your talents instead. But nonetheless I wanted to try it out as I did pretty ok with the flames on my daughter’s camping party birthday cake. Which I am now realizing someone must have felt sorry for me that day to let them turn out ok.

Now your basic ingredients for hard ‘rock’ candy are as follows:

Clear corn syrup
Food colouring (optional)
Cooking spray
Confectioners sugar

Your ratio of the above will depend on how much candy you want to make. But a general rule is for 1 cup of sugar, you use 1/2 a cup of corn syrup. In terms of flavouring you’re looking at about a teaspoon of the flavouring of your choice, less than that for strong flavourings such as peppermint and cinnamon. So that’s what I used in a glass measuring cup and that filled up an approximately average sized ice cube tray.

For the stove top method:

You basically take the sugar, corn syrup and water and melt it in a pot until it reaches 300 degrees, then take it off, add flavouring and food colouring, mix and pour onto greased mold of your choice and let it harden.

For the microwave method:

You take the sugar and corn syrup (no water needed) in a microwave safe container (such as a glass measuring cup), cover it in plastic wrap, microwave for 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave, remove the plastic wrap then get a new piece of plastic wrap, cover it again and microwave for 3 more minutes. Then add flavouring and food colouring, mix and pour onto greased mold of your choice and let it harden.

But here’s how it all went down.

First attempt (stove top in a pot without a thermometer) – Fail. Total burnt caramel. Almost burnt the kitchen down. Ruined a pot. House was filled with smoke.

Second attempt (microwave) as per every tutorial that recommended 3 minutes in wrapped in plastic wrap – Fail. By minute number 5 I was like oh there’s that burnt caramel smell again. 1 hour of soaking a burnt sugar encrusted glass measuring cup followed.

Third attempt (stove top this time with a thermometer) – stood by the pot with the thermometer in it. The temperature of the thermometer never went above 200 and I watched in horror as my clear candy turned brown and began to burn in front of my eyes.

So…what went wrong?

Well a number of things. First of all for the stove top method if you have an old school dial thermometer you NEED TO CALIBRATE it first. If not, the temperature will be off. And that explains why mine never went above 200 degrees because I never did that. The only tutorial I found online that told me this (which of course I came across after I failed at this) was from Chica and Jo. If you’re making rock candy via the stove top, read theirs first. It is the most detailed and most helpful tutorials I’ve come across.

The 3 minute + 3 more minutes microwave method is also misleading. This is because it all depends on the power of your microwave. We have a 1200W Panasonic Inverter microwave. The layman’s translation of this means “You don’t need 6 minutes in this one”. The stronger your microwave the less cooking time you need. I’ve seen this method down to 1 minute in, recover in plastic wrap, 1 minute back in then out.

The moral of the story is you NEED to know what your microwave wattage is and adjust the time to cook this in your microwave accordingly.

This site has a great cooking chart based on their meals that shows just that. There’s also this conversion chart. It made me see why approximately 4 minutes total cooking time was the magic number for my 1200W microwave.

And that is what finally worked and got me these. I used red food colouring and raspberry flavouring for the stars, then dusted then with confectioners sugar to help prevent them from sticking to each other.

DIY hard candy - northstory

Hard candy star shapes - DIY - northstory

How to make hard candy in the microwave - northstory

The kids loved them so that’s the most important thing and they tasted pretty good. I would make more of these for them to take to school for Christmas but I officially ran out of corn syrup.

I wonder why…

1 Comment

  • Reply
    December 16, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    These are beautiful, Alex! After all of those attempts at making these candies, I’m so glad that you were successful! You have determination, lady!

I love your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.