Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2000 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Tami Smith was a wonderful contributor to the original site, and she left some of her recipes for us to enjoy. This is one of them, which I have adapted.
CANDY RECIPE HELP
TAMI SAYS: "This is an old recipe from my childhood. Many people have memories of cutting this candy with their mother's and grandmothers. I have passed it on and am sharing it here for all to enjoy in this classic Christmas tradition!"
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 drop red food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted; measure and then sift
1. Butter two 9 x 2-inch pans. Butter a baking sheet. Set aside.
2. Into a heavy-bottomed 2 quart pan, pour the water.
Slowly pour the sugar dead-center in the middle of the water. Make sure you don't splatter sugar on the side of the pan.
SARAH SAYS: I add the liquid ingredients first and then the sugar; the opposite of what most candy makers suggest. The traditional way leaves some sugar dry spots in the bottom of the pan causing them to burn even though traditional instructions have you draw an "x" in the sugar to moisten it slightly or to stir the two together.
Add the corn syrup on top of the sugar.
3. Place over high heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
SARAH SAYS: Occasionally during stirring and especially right before the mixture comes to a boil, wash the sides of the pan using a heat proof pastry brush dipped in clean water on the inside walls of the pot above the surface of the syrup. Dip the brush in water every time before washing the side of the pan. Stirring often causes sugar grains to cling to the inside of the pan. If they aren't washed off with a moistened pastry brush before boiling, the loose grains will cause the recipe to crystallize.
4. Clip on the Candy Thermometer at the side of the pot.
Continue cooking WITHOUT STIRRING OR JARRING THE PAN until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F or the hard crack stage.
5. Immediately remove from heat, add the peppermint extract and enough food coloring to color; stir only to mix.
6. Pour into the prepared pans. Set one pan of candy over a sauce pan containing hot water (unless you have a helper to help cut the candy). As soon as the other pan of candy is cool enough to handle, cut it with scissors into 1-inch strips. Then snip the strips into pieces. Work fast.
Drop the pieces onto a prepared baking sheet. If the candy cools too quickly, set it on a saucepan over hot water to soften it, but if it gets sticky, return at once to the work counter.
7. Toss in a small amount of powdered sugar to keep from sticking together. Repeat with the second pan of candy.
Place in plastic candy bags and tape shut or wrap each candy in plastic wrap. Store in a cool, dry place.