Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Cinnamon Candy

One year during grade school, my best friend's mom, Mary Boehm, took a candy-making class. Besides luscious hand-dipped chocolates, she learned how to make hard candy -- hot cinnamon to be exact. Just before Christmas vacation, she and a few other mom's surprised us with huge, flat discs of bright red, cinnamon candy! What a treat!

Years later, my best friend became my college roommate. Sharon and I were hanging out together one day during Thanksgiving vacation. It was snowing -- really snowing and not knowing what to do with ourselves, we decided to have her mom teach us to make the candy. We made piles of hard candy: red cinnamon and green peppermint. Instead of pouring it into discs on a marble slab, we poured the molten liquid onto a firm bed of powdered sugar. As it cooled, we broke it into bite-size pieces and filled glass jars to give as gifts to our friends at college. It looked so festive and smelled wonderful!

To this day, Sharon and I still make the cinnamon candy during the holiday season. I can't make it without thinking of Sharon and her mother, Mary. Mary was a peach with the patience of a saint. She helped me sew my first 4-H apron. She didn't yell at me once, God bless her. I always appreciated that about her. Anyway, this year I couldn't find cinnamon oil anywhere, so Sharon came to the rescue and mailed me two bottles from Kansas! This morning I made a batch of this wonderful stuff and wanted to share Mary Boehm's recipe with you.

Hot Cinnamon Candy

Enough powdered sugar to form approximately a 15 x 20 rectangle that is no less than 3/4 inch thick. I removed my cutting board and covered it with foil, then set it on my countertop. I covered it with the powdered sugar creating a "dam" of sorts around the edges to keep the liquid from running off. Just dump and pat the sugar in place. DO NOT SIFT IT. If you sift it, the hot candy will go right through the sifted sugar and make a huge mess. I know from personal experience and I have the new countertop to prove it!

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup light karo corn syrup
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon cinnamon oil (not extract or flavoring)

Over high heat in a heavy pot, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup. Stir until it bubbles and begins to turn clear. Place a candy thermometer in the liquid. Make sure the tip does not touch the bottom of the pan. Boil until the temperature reaches 298 degrees. It will take a little while, then it the heat will rise rapidly. Remove from the heat and quickly add the coloring and cinnamon oil. Slowly pour the hot liquid onto the bed of powdered sugar. Let cool and break into bite-sized pieces. You can also use other colors and oils i.e., peppermint, spearmint, lemon, etc.

The best part of making this candy is that I know Mary would be happy to know that not only are Sharon and I still best friends, we have continued the cinnamon candy tradition after all these years! Merry Christmas!


Maison Douce said...

Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, Martha! Let's have that party, so we can get together!!

Patina said...

What a fun memory! The candy looks pretty and wonderfully delicious! Merry Christmas!

Life's a Beach! said...

Thanks for this post! I grew up in a little town in Kansas and a friend's mother made this. I'd actually been thinking about that candy this Christmas! I also used to do a lot of antiquing in the Salem/Portland/Aurora area before we moved to Phoenix! And I miss it! Merry Christmas!

lorhen82 said...

Wow! Did this post ever take me back! It was a big fad when I was in school to make this candy. We called it rock candy. Thank you for bringing back some fond memories for me! And thanks for the recipe - I'm going have to try making some again, for old times' sake.


ShabbyInTheCity said...

I love the story and can't wait to try the recipe!

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