Traditional rock candy is made from a supersaturated solution of sugar and water. The solution is heated to break the sugar molecules down. The hot syrup is then transferred to a jar and a string or stick is inserted into it. As the solution cools, the sugar begins to crystallise and cling to the stick, forming candy or sugar rocks the same way quartz or diamonds are formed in nature. The entire process is dependent on the chemical structure of sugar crystals.
Science has not yet created an artificial sweetener which mimics natural sugar’s crystalline structure, so it is not possible to create true sugar free rock candy. However, using food grade sticks and candy moulds, it is possible to produce a reasonable facsimile of the genuine article. Using maltitol as a sweetener you can make sugar free hard candy at home in a rainbow of colours and flavours, personalising these guilt free treats to suit your individual tastes.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 1 ½ cups vanilla flavour sugar-free syrup (can be found in near the coffee in most supermarkets)
- 1 cup Maltitol
- Food colouring
- ½-tsp. artificial flavouring
- Candy moulds
- Lollipop sticks
- Non-stick vegetable spray
- Candy thermometer
- Heavy medium-sized saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Metal funnel
Arrange the candy moulds on the counter and spray them thoroughly with non-stick vegetable spray.
Combine the sugar free syrup and maltitol in the sauce pan. Place it over medium high heat.
Insert the candy thermometer sot that it is not touching the bottom of the pan. Quickly bring the mixture to a boil.
Stirring constantly, allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 148 degrees C.
At 148 degrees C, remove the pan from the heat. When the syrup stops bubbling, add the food colouring and the flavouring.
Using the funnel for accuracy, pour the syrup into the moulds. Insert the sticks in the warm candy.
When the candy has cooled completely, remove it from the moulds and wrap individually in cling film. Store it in airtight containers.
Tips and warnings
- Do not try to make candy on a particularly humid day as the humidity will affect the process and the candy may not set properly, remaining sticky and slightly soft.
- Be extremely careful when handling the hot syrup.
- If you are diabetic, please consult your physician before using maltitol as it has the highest glycemic index of all current FDA-approved sugar substitutes.