Hard Tac candy… a Christmas Tradition

I remember as a little girl hanging out in the kitchen with my mom and her sisters watching them make Christmas candy.  One thing they were sure to make every year was Hard Tac.

Us kids were always in awe of them working so quickly once the hard tac was poured from the pan onto their work surface.

They always used butter to keep their fingers cool so they could pick up the candy and cut it into smaller pieces.

I am so happy and thankful that I have been able to carry on this tradition with my own family.

Yesterday was declared my baking day.  I made 3 batches of Hard Tac.  Two batches of butterscotch and 1 batch of Grape.

All you need is sugar, 2 cups to be exact; light corn syrup, some water, food coloring and drams of the flavoring.  Used to be you could only buy these little drams of flavoring at specialty food stores.  I can remember prior years of looking everywhere for them and not being able to find them.  Just a couple of years ago, I discovered them at Hobby Lobby.  They are sold in pairs and are only about $3 for two bottles.

You will also need a good candy thermometer.  When we used to watch my mom do the candy, they didn’t have a fancy thermometer to tell them when their mixture reached 300 degrees.  They used to get a cup of cold water, drizzle some of the mixture into the water and if it got hard and “cracked” then it was ready.  I’ve never made it that way, I always use my thermometer.  In fact, last year; I was being very fancy and was using my electric thermometer, little did I know that it wasn’t working properly.  I ended up burning 2 batches before realizing it.  I think there’s a lesson to be learned from doing things “the old-fashioned way”.

And so, the recipe:

2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cups light corn syrup

3/4 cup water

1 dram (1tsp) LorAnn Gourmet Flavoring

1/2 tsp liquid food coloring

Powdered Sugar

In large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Bring mixture to a boil without stirring.  When syrup temperature reaches 260 degrees, add color.  Do not stir; boiling action will incorporate color into syrup.  Remove from heat at 300 degrees or when drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water.  After boiling action ceases, add flavoring and stir.  Pour syrup into lightly oiled candy molds or onto buttered cooking sheet.  (Make sure your cookie sheet has sides to it.)  Allow to cool slightly then with buttered fingers and scissors, cup candy into small pieces.  Drop into bowl of powdered sugar to keep pieces from sticking together.

I hope you will try the recipe.  Just remember, practice makes perfect.  This is one of those recipes that may not come out perfect the first time but the more you do it, the better and easier it will be.

Enjoy!!

 

I’m linking up to these parties….

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