Copyright 2009 Elizabeth Labau, licensed to Inc.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  I am a sorry excuse for a food blogger.  Not just once, but TWICE this month I have fallen derelict in my blogging duties!  It’s a good thing nothing serious, like the fate of the world, turns on this.  Oh no, just my reputation as a reliable human being.  Well, there you have it, reliably unreliable.

Hard Candy, besides being the name of a psychological thriller about a pedophiliac cyberstalker, a cosmetic line, and also the name of one of Madonna’s albums and concert tours, happens to be a food item.  I think there’s just something about combining the words “Hard” and “Candy” that lends itself to the world of the taboo.

As food goes, hard candy is pretty much what it sounds like.  Sugar that has been cooked to the “hard crack” stage is hard candy.  That’s 300 or so degrees fahrenheit for those of you not in the know.  You can mix various flavourings with it to make it taste like pretty much anything you want.  This time of year, the hard candy high on everyone’s list is the good ol’ candy cane, but it doesn’t get to stay in the limelight long.  After Christmas is over, the candy cane takes a backseat to cinnamon hearts at Valentine’s Day, little sugary four-leaf clovers on St. Patrick’s Day and a variety of egg and bunny themed candies at Easter, etc. etc. etc.  None of these things, of course, have anything on the erstwhile favorite of the 1990s raver kids – the Jolly Rancher.

The thing about hard candy is that you can make it into almost anything you want.  Sugar liquifies when hot so you can pour it into any shape mold you want.  Sugar is sweet but hasn’t got much other flavour so you can add pretty much any flavour you want.  It’s not like those other candies that you have to get off the burner the instant they hit “soft-crack” stage lest you overheat them.  Hard candy is easy to make so long as you are careful not to burn yourself.

Sticking with the general boozy theme of this blog, and harking back to my former years as a raver-chick, I found this cool recipe for Hard Candy Jello Shots and although I haven’t tried it yet, and though strictly speaking, it’s not a hard candy recipe, I post it here because it looks so darn easy and tasty:

1 – 2 packages any flabour Jell-O

3/4 boiling water

3/4 schnapps (pick your poison)

Boil the water, add the Jell-o Mix, stir until dissolved, add schnapps, stir, pour into molds (little paper shot glasses perhaps?), freeze 2 hours, badda bing badda boom.

This, however, is my favorite boozy true hard candy recipe that I found because it let’s you show off to your friends.  It’s called Bubble Sugar and it’s pretty.  And, as with most hard candy, pretty easy.

1. put 3/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. water, 1.5 tbsp corn syrup in a saucepan and heat on medium high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves then until it reaches 315 degrees fahrenheit.

2. while it’s cooking, prep parchment paper by crumpling it up in a ball and then uncrumpling it and spreading it out on a rimmed cookie sheet, leaving it as wrinkly as you can.

3. Pour 2 tbsp. clear alcohol on the parchment and spread it around with your hands.

4.when sugar reaches 315 degrees remove it from the heat and CAREFULLY pour it onto the parchment while holding the tray at an angle so the sugar will run across it. The alcohol is what makes the bubbles.

5. Let it sit level until cooled and set, and then carefully pull paper away from sugar and Voila!  Pretty 🙂