Doris Smithson from Greeneville, Tenn., was looking for a recipe for making "Stained Glass" candy. She said she used to buy bags of this colorful homemade treat at a church bazaar in Lexington, Ky., around the Christmas holidays and that it made great stocking stuffers.
Wendy Sutula from Jessup shared her family recipe for what she calls Christmas candy that is almost certainly the recipe Smithson sought. While Sutula said making the candy is a rather time-consuming process, the end result is amazing. She was in her teens (30-plus years ago) when her family got the recipe from the wife of the pastor of their local church. Making the candy became somewhat of a holiday tradition with six or seven family members helping out to make multiple batches in different colors and flavors. She said they would then mix up the flavors and colors and put the candy piece in apothecary jars with ribbons to give as Christmas gifts.
Making hard candy may seem daunting at first, seemingly requiring specialized knowledge about temperatures and flavorings or special equipment. But it really is fairly easy to make a batch of this delicious candy using what you likely already have in your kitchen. A candy thermometer is the only specialized piece of equipment you will really need.
This candy is good any time of year but especially festive at Christmas. It makes a wonderful gift and once you get the hang of making it; the flavor and color variations are limited only by your imagination.
Linda Stingel-May from Bel Air is looking for the recipe for a congealed salad that her mother used to make for holiday meals called a Maryland Ring. She remembers that it contained apples and grapes and perhaps heavy whipping cream. She has searched her mother's recipe collection in vain and had not been able to locate it on the Web either.
2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup Karo light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of pure flavor extract or edible essential oil (cinnamon, clove, spearmint, peppermint, lemon or anise)
1 teaspoon of food coloring
confectioners sugar (optional, for dusting)
Place sugar, corn syrup and water into a very clean, preferabley non-stick, sauce pan. Your pot should be large enough that the sugar, corn syrup and water only take up about a third of the pot, as the liquid will expand when it boils. Set your pot on medium heat (or medium high if your stove usually takes a while to heat up) and mix the sugar, corn syrup and water until the sugar is all dissolved. You will see the mixture go from a milky white to crystal clear. Once the sugar is dissolved, leave it to boil. At this point, place a candy thermometer in the pot to monitor the temperature of your mixture. When the candy thermometer reaches 308 degrees Fahrenheit, immediately remove pot from heat and carefully but quickly stir in desired flavoring and coloring. Note: Always use pure flavor extracts or edible essential oils rather than imitation flavors. The reason for this is that imitation flavoring contains some alcohol that will cause your candy to turn bitter and give it a burnt flavor; pure extracts will not.
Pour your candy onto a parchment- or foil-lined sheet tray or lightly greased glass plate and spread in a thin, even layer with a spatula or spoon. The thickness should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (too thin and you'll end up not being able to really taste the flavor, too thick and you'll end up with an uncuttable slab). Allow your candy to cool completely.
The last part of making stained glass candy is the most fun. You can either cover the top of your candy with more parchment and use a small hammer to break it into small, edible pieces, or you can simply break the slab up with your hands. If you would like to store your stained glass candy, dust it lightly with confectioners sugar and place it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
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