Rock candies are kept aligned on a white surface. Rock candies are kept aligned on a white surface.

Making Rock Candy: 9 Fun DIY Steps

Rock candy is one way to relive your childhood memories again! It is a fun recipe to make at home, and your kids will surely love it! Crystalized sugar looks mesmerizing, and it also serves as a fun experiment to fuel your kid’s curiosity about science. Here is a simple homemade recipe. It will consume all your child’s attention as it is so much fun! First, let us know how crystallization works.

Colorful sugar candies in a bowl.
By Joanna Kosinska / Unsplash Copyrights 2018

1. Crystallization

Crystallization or crystal formation is a process in which a substance changes from a liquid or gaseous state changes to a solid state, forming beautiful crystals. Here is a list of all the steps involved in the crystallization process.

1.1. Dissolution

To make crystallized sugar, the first and foremost step is to dissolve sugar crystals (solute) in water (solvent). This results in forming a sugar solution.

1.2. Cooling or Evaporation

Lower the temperature as soon as the solution is formed. This diminishes the possibility of solubility of the solute in the solvent, allowing it to become supersaturated.

Supersaturated solution refers to a more solute solution that can dissolve in a solvent.

1.3. Nucleation

Nucleation is the initial process that happens in the formation of crystals from the solution, a liquid, or a vapor in which small groups of solute molecules assemble to form the initial solid particle. The small groups of solute molecules are often termed Nuclei.

Although the nucleation process happens naturally, it sometimes needs further assistance, such as adding a seed crystal or stirring the solution.

1.4. Crystal Growth

Solute molecules start connecting themselves with these nuclei as soon as the nuclei are formed. This results in the development of solid crystals. As more and more solute molecules join the crystal lattice, the crystal keeps on growing.

1.5. Purification

Growing crystals involves removing the impurities that are present in the initial solution. Crystallization is a great way to purify the former state of the solution.

1.6. Harvesting

As soon as you discover your crystals have reached your desired size, it is best to separate them from the liquid. The separation can be done through filtration, centrifugation, or decanting.

1.7 Drying

The harvested crystals are further exposed to the drying process. The drying process also involves eliminating any kind of solvent that exists in liquids. This is done through air drying or heating.

2. How to Make Rock Candy?

white and orange rock candies on sticks.

2.1. Things You Need

You don’t need any complicated ingredients for making rock candy at home. Here are some basic ingredients you need to make this tasty treat.

  1. 2 cups water
  2.  6 cups granulated sugar
  3. Food coloring
  4. Flavoring extract or flavoring oil
  5. Wooden skewers or lollipop sticks
  6. Mason jar
  7. Clothespin

2.2. Steps to Make Rock Candy

Here is a step-by-step procedure to make your rock candy sticks at home.

Step 1: Clean Wooden Skewers

The first step is to clean the wooden skewers with a clean cotton cloth properly.

Step 2: Roll in Granulated Sugar

Sugar granules in a spoon- how to make rock candy
By Immo Wegmann / Unsplash Copyrights 2023

Dip the wooden skewers in water at one end and roll them in granulated sugar. Please make sure that the skewers are completely covered in sugar from one end. Let it sit for a while.

The ideal sugar for rock candy is granulated sugar, as it creates larger crystals as compared to powdered sugar. You need a considerably larger amount of granulated Sugar for the candy, and it is available everywhere at affordable prices. Hence, the perfect choice for making rock candy at home is granulated sugar.

Step 3: Prepare Sugar Syrup

To make sugar syrup, you need to boil 2 cups of water on medium heat. Now, slowly add sugar, one cup at a time. Don’t forget to stir after each cup. Constantly check on the syrup by using a candy thermometer to make the desired rock candy. The temperature should be between 300°F (149°C) and 310°F (154°C).

Continue to stir and boil till all the sugar dissolves and you are left with no more sugar. Now switch off the flame and remove the pan from the heat.

Step 4: Add Food Coloring

If you want the rock candy to turn out even more satisfying and beautiful, then don’t forget to add 2 to 3 drops of food coloring of your choice into the liquid. Slowly stir the liquid to get a nice texture.

Note: It is advisable to use gel food coloring as it creates more vibrant colors than liquid coloring. It is important to note that the color of the rock candy will be lighter than the color of the sugar syrup. Therefore, add more food coloring to the candy-making process if you want a richer color.

Step 5: Add Flavoring Extract

Add 1 teaspoon of flavoring extract to make your rock candy tastier. You can also add ½ teaspoon of flavoring oil if the extract isn’t available. Just a few drops of these candy flavorings will do its magic.

Kindly do a taste test and then add ½ teaspoon of flavoring extract or ¼ teaspoon of flavoring oil if you want an intense flavor. You can also add more according to your liking.

Step 6: Let It Sit

Let the sugar syrup sit for about half an hour. Now that the sugar syrup has cooled down transfer the liquid into a mason jar or a plastic cup.

Step 7: Dip the Skewers into the Liquid

Now, take the sugar-coated skewers and dip them in the jar. Secure it with a clothespin. Make sure not to dip the skewers completely. Now, let the jar sit for five to seven days at room temperature. Cover the jar loosely with a paper towel or plastic wrap. Watch how sugar crystals grow within a few days.

Step 8: Take the Rock Candy Out

Colorful Rock candies on sticks
By J Yeo / Unsplash Copyrights 2021

Let the rock candy grow until they have reached the desired size. Now, gently break the top layer of crystals with the help of a fork to take the rock candy out of the mason jar. Spread parchment paper on a plate and place the freshly made rock candy.

Step 9: Let it Sit for 1 to 2 Hours

Allow the skewers to dry for one to two hours before enjoying the hard candy with the whole family. That’s how you get the perfect rock candy at home! This rock candy will be perfect to go with a funky birthday party menu or an adult family get-together as well! This rock candy experiment will surely amuse your kids for days.

2.3. Pro Tip

It’s hard to take the rock candy crystals out of the mason jar after you are done making rock candy.

To clean the jar (so that your mum doesn’t yell at you for ruining her mason jars), you need to:

  • First, take out all those loose sugar crystals.
  • Rinse the jar with warm water and gently rub the interior of the jar with the help of a brush and dish soap.
  • Soak the jar in warm water if there’s still some sugar residue clinging to the jar.
  • Let it sit for some time, and rinse it with clear water.
  • Refrain from using hot water for rinsing the mason jar, as it might crack the glass jar.

3. Rock Candy Flavors to Go for!

Here is a list of the best homemade rock candy combinations you could try:

3.1. Raspberry Rock Candy

To make the delicious raspberry rock candy, mix the raspberry extract with blue food coloring.

3.2. Yellow Rock Candy

Banana oil can be used with yellow food coloring.

3.3. Maple Extract

Maple extract can be used to create the classic rock candy flavor, which is always a hit at the party.

3.4. Peppermint Rock Candy

You could use blue or green food coloring with peppermint extract to create a refreshing, minty rock candy. You can also use wintergreen or spearmint extract.

3.5. Tutti-frutti Rock Candy

Mix red or pink food coloring with Tutti-frutti flavor extract or essence to make the kid’s favorite rock candy. You can also make use of Kool-Aid powder.

3.6. A Party Hack

One party hack is to mix the classic rock candy flavors with colors different from their actual color to come up with an absolutely fun game. This game is sure to capture all the attention at the party. Anyone who guesses the rock candy flavors correctly is the winner!

Girl hiding her face behind a sugar candy
By EuamoBrasil / Pixabay Copyrights 2017

4. Points to Remember

4.1. Use a Clean Container

Kindly make sure the jar is super clean and dust-free before pouring in the liquid. This eliminates unwanted contaminants from getting into your final product.

4.2. Seed Crystal

Place a seed crystal if you feel like the crystal lattice isn’t forming. The Seed crystal will help initiate nucleation, and the crystals form at a much faster rate after placing a seed crystal.

4.3. Have Patience

It takes a lot of patience to get the perfect sugar crystal. But the efforts are worth the outcome, I promise. That’s why be patient and resist the urge to speed things up.

4.4. Right Temperature

It is highly crucial to maintain a constant temperature to make the most perfect rock candy. Keep the jar at room temperature. Your jar is in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode now, and sudden temperature changes may affect the growth of sugar crystals.

4.5. Cover the Jar

To prevent dust from entering the sugar syrup, cover the lid with a paper towel.

4.6. Safety First

It is important to take all the necessary precautions while dealing with hot sugar solutions. Your skin might be seriously burned if it comes in contact with the liquid. Take good care of children if they are involved in making rock candy.

Last Updated on December 23, 2023 by ayeshayusuf


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