I have to admit it is hard for me to throw away food. I will do anything I can to repurpose leftovers into a new recipe. Some attempts are more successful than others, I will confess, but overall it tends to work out. After I made the red, white, and blue rock candy I couldn’t bear to throw out all the leftover flavored sugar syrup. Since most hard candy is just sugar syrup cooked until it reaches the hard crack stage that seemed like the best use for all the extra syrup. Plus, I had been wanting to try this sea glass candy ever since I saw it a few years ago on Not So Humble Pie. It is so beautiful to look at and easier to make than hard candy that needs to be poured into mold.
Since the goal of making hard candy is to prevent it from crystalizing I added a squirt of corn syrup to the leftover syrup, cooked it to hard crack stage, added a bit more flavoring and poured it into a prepared pan. (It also works to pour it into lollipop molds at this point , if you want to turn the leftover syrup into lollipops instead.) The fun part comes after the candy has cooled. Since hard cooked sugar shatters much like glass I broke the candy up by dropping the pan on the counter with quite a bit of force, creating a very satisfying crash. Perhaps I should have warned my husband ahead of time because he came running from the other room to make sure everything was ok! The end result was worth it, and that is what matters.
Since I am assuming that some of you out there may want to make this recipe but don’t happen to have leftover rock candy syrup lying around I am posting the recipe for making the candy from scratch. To make it using the leftover syrup simply add a generous squirt of corn syrup to the mixture and then proceed according to the directions in the recipe. You will still want to add more flavor, even though it already has some, because some of the flavor will cook out while the candy is cooking.
Sea Glass Candy*
1 cup (7.5 oz) sugar
1/3 cup (4 oz) light corn syrup
6 tablespoons (2.5 oz) water
1/2-1 teaspoon flavoring oil (depending on how strong you like the flavor)
non-stick cooking spray
powdered sugar for dusting
*Recipe adapted from Not So Humble Pie
Lightly spray a quarter sheet pan or 9 x 9 metal pan with non-stick spray.
Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small sauce pan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. When it begins to simmer, wash down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush, attach your candy thermometer. Once the sugar mixture is boiling do not stir it.
When the mixture reaches the 250°F range add the food coloring but do not stir. The bubbling action of the syrup will distribute the color. (If using natural food coloring do not add it at this point, the natural colors cannot stand up to the heat of the cooking sugar. Wait and add it at the end with the flavoring.)
Once the temperature reaches 300°F remove it from the heat and the flavoring (and coloring if using natural colors.) Stir carefully as it will bubble and steam. Immediately pour the bubbling mixture into your prepared pan and allow to sit until cool.
Once it has fully cooled, cover with a piece of parchment paper and hit it with a mallet. (Or drop from high up onto a hard surface like a stone counter. This is more fun but somewhat messier)
Collect the pieces and brush with powdered sugar. To store the candy, place in an air tight container and keep at room temperature.