I'm always intrigued by all the wonderful candies and confections that make their way to grocery store shelves during the holiday season. Every time I buy a bag of peppermint candies, I can't help but wonder how they are made, which is why this season I became determined to make them as an edible gift.
These little peppermints do require fast speed to stretch and cut, but if you don't get it right the first time, your hardened brick of candy won't go to waste. Leftover candy cane can be crushed and used in ice cream, cookies, or candies.
See the recipe for peppermint candies.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Always wear heat-resistant rubber welding gloves (sold at hardwood stores) to protect your hands from burns when pulling hot candy.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Several drops of red food coloring
- Liberally spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Alternatively, line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat. In a 4-quart saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Cook mixture until it reads 305°F on a candy thermometer. Quickly remove the pan from heat, and stir in lemon juice and peppermint extract; be careful, because it will bubble up. Pour hot sugar mixture onto prepared sheet, but do not scrape the pot clean (the sugar will already begin to cool). Let mixture cool until bubbles subside.
- Coat a metal bench scraper (or metal spatula) with cooking spray, then spread and fold the sugar mixture continuously, until it thickens and turns into a dough-like solid. Do not attempt to touch it with your bare hands.
- Wearing rubber gloves, pull off 1/3 of the mixture, place it flat on the baking sheet, use your thumb to indent a small crevice, and add several drops food coloring into the crevice. Quickly pull candy and fold it into itself until the red food dye is thoroughly incorporated. Stretch the remaining candy until it's a foot long, fold it in half, and continue pulling and stretching in the same manner until it whitens in color. Pull both pieces into 12-inch-long ropes.
- Place ropes side by side and twist pieces together. Starting at the right side, pull and twist rope until about 6 inches of candy are twisted 1/2-inch thick. Quickly cut 1-inch pieces off with scissors. Place on a lined baking sheet to harden. Continue twisting, pulling, and cutting 1-inch pieces into 6-inch-long sections until candy becomes too hard and can no longer be pulled. Reserve leftover candy block to crush into pieces for other recipes. Store candies in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
Makes approximately 100 pieces of candy.