How Do I Get My Sugar Candy To Stay Firm?

by Diane Merchant
(Billericay, Essex. England. )

How do I get my sugar candy to stay firm and hard like a boiled sweet.

Melted sugar, water, cream of tartan, and corn syrup in pan to a temperature of 300 f to cracked candy then added a few drops of colouring, but unfortunately it sets for a little while then starts to get stickly and melt.

Wanted this to make cake decorations but they seem to just dissolve again when left for a few hours. Help!


Hi Diane,

What's the weather like over there at the moment? No, I'm not just making small talk. :) Humidity has a profound effect on candy making. If there is humidity in the air, that's the most likely reason for your difficulty in getting your sugar candy to stay firm and hard like boiled candy.

You don't really give the exact recipe, but if humidity isn't the issue, it could be the recipe.

Here's a nice hard candy recipe that you can try to see if you get better results....

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. of preferred flavoring oil
  • food coloring as desired
  • powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) for coating finished candy if desired

  1. Prepare a well buttered tray and set aside (or molds if you are using them).

  2. Over medium heat in a heavy saucepan combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

  3. Reduce heat and cook candy mixture without stirring until it reaches the hard crack stage of 300° F.

  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and quickly stir in your flavoring and coloring.

  5. Pour the mixture onto prepared tray (or into desired molds). If you are cutting candy into pieces, butter your hands well and start working as soon as the candy is cool enough to touch without burning your hands. You will only have a short time to work with the candy before it gets to cool and firm.

  6. Toss candy pieces in powdered sugar to keep from sticking together if desired.

This is an old favorite recipe we used to call "hard tack" when I was a kid and first learning to make hard candy. It brings back great memories of childhood.


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