One of the fun things we made for our party was Rainbow Rock Candy. It is not that difficult, but it does take a lot of time. You will need to start making it about a week before you want to eat it.
You will need:
sugar (and a lot of it!)
glass jars (small jelly jars worked the best for us)
skewer or lollipop sticks
clothespins or something similar to hold the stick in place
We started the sugar mixture by adding 4 cups of sugar, and 4 cups of water in a large pot. We slowly brought the mixture to a boil, constantly stirring the sugar until it dissolved. Once the initial sugar had dissolved, we added more sugar, 1 cup at a time. When making the candy, be sure to fully dissolve each cup of sugar before adding the next one. The amount of sugar that is added to the mixture will depend on the amount of candy that you are making.
We decided to use 9 jars, and make 18 pieces of candy. The rock candy needs some room to grow, so you will not want to place more than two pieces of candy in the same jar. In our sugar mixture we used 9 cups of sugar, and only the initial 4 cups of water. The ratio of a little more than 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water worked well for us. When all the sugar is added and dissolved, turn off the burner and allow the sugar mixture to cool.
While the mixture is cooling, it is the perfect time to prepare the skewer sticks. Soak the sticks in some water, and then roll them in a plate of sugar. Allow the sticks to dry, before moving on to the next step. We made sure that about 2/3 of the stick was covered with sugar. The last 1/3 will not need to be covered, because that is where you will hold the candy when it is finished.
We made a mess during the next step! Using a soup ladle we divided the sugar mixture into our jars. If you prefer not to make a mess, use a funnel to make sure all the sugar water makes it to where it is supposed to go. (instead of on the stove or the sides of the jar) Add some food coloring, and make your desired colors before the sugar sticks are added. We made red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. We also used some neon food coloring and made some neon pink, purple, and blue.
We did not have any clothespins. I did not realize this fact until after we made the sugar water, so we improvised with large clips. A clothespin would make it easier to set up the sticks. Slowly add two sugar covered skewers to each jar. Try to keep the skewers upright if you can, so the crystals will grow evenly. A few of our skewers ended up on a slant, but it didn't seem to matter. Those pieces of candy still successfully grew.
Place the jars in a nice warm spot where they will be undisturbed for several days. We put our jars in our kitchen window. The plants in the back are Kara's lucky bamboo plants from Ikea. Every time she goes to Ikea she gets another plant. (we are now up to 4)
Don't the colors look pretty in this picture! I love how the light made the colors glow. Allow the skewers to sit about a week. We made ours on the Sunday before the party, so they sat for a total of 6 days.
When it was time for the party, I slowly pulled out the skewer sticks. The top layer of the sugar mixture hardened just a bit, so I had to carefully break it to get the candy out. There were a couple of pieces that did not work. As you can see in the picture there is no orange candy. There was not enough growth on the orange skewers to serve them Out of 18 pieces of candy, only 4 did not grow enough to use, so we were happy with those odds.
The girls loved the candy, and it was gone by the next morning. Kara has already asked me when we can make it again.