Original Recipe is from Martha Stewart. But who can resist a recipe with PICTURES and a few more helpful hints for newbie candy makers? Plus, a fun little way to display/serve this "coal" candy.
Medium to Large Saucepan, Candy Thermometer, Kitchen Mallet, Wooden Spoons (2), Foil, 8x8 Square Pan & a Pastry Brush
3 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon black gel-paste food coloring (I used Wilton brand available at Michaels, Jo-Anns and some party supply shops - you most likely will not find it in a regular grocery store)
5 teaspoons pure peppermint, cinnamon, or anise extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a piece of aluminum foil large enough to overhang the sides by about 2 inches. The foil doesn’t need to be “neat” - some wrinkles will actual give the candy more character. Set aside.
Bring sugar, 3/4 cup water, and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, and wash down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystals from forming. You will only need to wipe around a few times as it comes to a boil fairly quickly.
Once mixture comes to a boil and all the sugar has dissolved, clip a candy thermometer to pan, or just set it in pan - the design of the candy thermometer should keep the end from touching the actual pan. Raise heat to high. Continue cooking without stirring until mixture registers 300 degrees - “HARD CRACK” on the thermometer. Remove from heat.
Carefully add food coloring, extract, and baking soda - it will bubble up and double/triple in size. Stir slowly with a clean wooden spoon until thoroughly combined and mixture no longer bubbles, about 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan, and let cool completely. Lift foil to remove candy from pan, and transfer candy to a large plastic bag. Crush with a kitchen mallet into chunks.
Warning: hitting with mallet may break through plastic bag - you will get black candy dust on your working surface. Try a large cutting board to contain the mess.
Since I had extra ingredients AND pink food coloring, I decided to make some PINK coal candy too - for the adults and older kids to take home.