Friday, March 16, 2012

Favor Friday: DIY Rock Candy!

I am so pleased to announce the very special first installment of a new little series over here at Juneberry Lane, Favor Friday!  I am absolutely in love with all things hand-made & home-cooked when it comes to sending your guests off with a little piece of your party; such a fun way to wrap up your event and to keep the memories rolling in throughout the weeks ahead!

Today we are featuring a sweet & yummy throwback treat, sent over from my little sister and put together by Gluesticks, homemade Rock Candy is a fun way to get the whole family involved in the party-planning!  Just take a look . . .


Homemade Rock Candy


Supplies You Will Need:
~ Sugar (lots of sugar)
~ Water
~ Food Coloring
~ Bamboo Skewers
~ Funnel
~ Jars or Glass Cups
~ Clothespins


Directions:
1.) Trim down your skewers to a reasonable size to fit in whatever jars or cups that you will be using. You'll also want to get rid of the point. Dip them in water, then roll in sugar. Let dry completely and set aside. This gives the sugar a base. Something to stick to when it starts to crystallize.


2.) Mix equal parts of water and sugar in a pot on med-high heat until dissolved. Then continue to add sugar until you have AT LEAST a 2:1 ratio. You can also do a 3:1 ratio. It will get to a point where it won't dissolve anymore. We used 8 cups of water and 16-18 cups of sugar and it made a lot. So you can definitely half the recipe. We wanted a lot of colors. You are making a nice, sticky, sugary syrup. Mix until mixture starts to simmer.  You do not need it to a rolling boil or bring it to a certain temperature with a candy thermometer. Easy.


3.) Allow your syrup to cool for 10 minutes or so and ladle into your jars using a funnel to catch spills. It is still pretty hot at this point. We used the tips that we trimmed off of our skewers and dipped them into concentrated food coloring paste, then swirled the skewer into our hot syrup mixture to add assorted colors to the different jars. You can use liquid food coloring, but I like the paste better.


4.) Then attach a clothespin to each skewer (the ones you dipped in sugar and let dry) and place in cup. Make sure the skewer isn't touching the bottom or sides of jar/glass. They need room to grow. Since our glasses were narrow, one skewer seemed to work out best, but we added two in a few of the colors.

5.) Place your jars in a warm location with lots of natural light.  Here they are on day one...you can see that there is a bit of sugar build up from when we dipped them in water and then let them dry in sugar as well as on the bottom of the glass.


6.) Day 3. More crystallization.


7.) Day 5. The syrup is crystallizing on the bottom of the glasses as well.



 DONE! Seven days!

*There will be crystallized sugar in the bottom of your jars/glasses. Just run them in hot water and chip it out with a butter knife. It comes out pretty easily.*


TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS FROM BRANDY:

~ Make sure your glass/jars are clear and CLEAN.
~ Make sure your sugar ratio is AT LEAST 2:1-3:1 You may need more depending on how quickly it reaches saturation...
~ "Mix equal parts of water and sugar in a pot on med-high heat until dissolved. Then continue to add sugar until you have AT LEAST a 2:1 ratio. You can also do a 3:1 ratio. It will get to a point where it won't dissolve anymore......"
~ When I said it will get to a point where it will not dissolve anymore, that does not mean that it will be gritty and super thick. It will still look like a clear syrup, but a little cloudy. That is when you will know that it is a saturated ratio. Just make sure you bought extra sugar so that if you get to a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio and it is still dissolving super quickly that you can add a little more.
~ Place in a WARM, SUNNY location. I made this last batch in September when it was still humid and 80+ degrees. I'm not sure if the time of year has anything to do with it or not.
~ If after a couple of days you don't see any sugar settling on the bottom of the glass, it means that there most likely wasn't enough sugar when you started. Just reheat your syrup to a simmer and add a bit more. Pull your skewers out and just roll the sticky skewers in more sugar and let it sit while you reheat your syrup. Is this frustrating to do? Yep. I know, because I've done it before! ~ Brandy

How much fun is that?  Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!
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