Introduction: "Survival Candy"

Picture of "Survival Candy"

A few years ago I bought some "Survival Candy" at a gun show for $1.99 for about 8 oz of hard candy. I was sitting around the other day thinking about the silly candy so I did a Google search and found that I could still buy some, only now it would cost between $4.99 and $7.99 depending on which site you went to. Being the cheap SOB I am I decided to make some of my own.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
You will need the following:
  • 2 cups Granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 1/2 table spoons Flavoring
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Food Coloring
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cooking spray
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large sauce pan
  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Candy Thermometer

Make sure all of your ingredients and tools are within easy reach of the stove. 
Once you have assembled all your tools and ingredients line your cookie sheet with aluminium foil, give it a LIGHT COAT of cooking spray, and set it aside for now.

Step 2: Mixing and Cooking

Picture of Mixing and Cooking

Add the granulated sugar, light corn syrup, and water to the sauce pan and cook over med-high heat, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.

Once all the sugar has dissolved place your candy thermometer in the pan making sure that it doesn't touch the bottom of the pan.

Bring the mixture to a boil without stirring.

If you need to you can "wash down" any sugar crystals that may form on the sides of the pan with a very wet pastry brush.

Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches between 250-260 degrees then add your food coloring until you get the desired color. Don't stir the mixture after you add the coloring since the boiling action will mix it into the syrup thoroughly.

Remove from heat at precisely 300 degrees F (keep in mind that the temperature will continue to rise some after you pull the syrup from the heat) or if you aren't using a thermometer, drops of the syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water (hard crack stage). After all the boiling action has stopped add your flavoring and stir thoroughly.


Step 3: Pouring and Breaking

Picture of Pouring and Breaking

Once you have finished adding your flavoring pour the entire mess into the lined cookie sheet you coated (LIGHTLY) with cooking spray and set it all aside while you clean up your mess.

Once the "Survival Candy" has cooled enough that you can touch it without burning yourself (about 15-20 minutes give or take a few minutes) cut the big piece into smaller ones with a sharp knife (I used an old cheese knife). If it sticks give the blade a good coat of cooking spray to keep it from lifting the candy out of the pan.

Allow the whole thing to cool completely (about 1 hour or so) and then dust it with the powdered sugar. I would say use a sifter of some kind so you don't make the mess I did or add as much as I did since you are just looking to dust it with the powdered sugar.

Flip the whole thing over, don't worry if it breaks when you do, and dust the other side too.

Once you have dusted both sides break the candy up along the lines you scored into it and place in a large zip-lock or other storage bag.

Step 4: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

OK, so I just made old fashioned  hard candy and called it "Survival Candy" you say? And you would be absolutely correct! But, believe it or not it actually does have uses in your survival kit. 

If you have a "sweet tooth" like I do this candy will help with that in a world where getting a Reese's Cup or two is going to be a pain. 

Also, each piece has around 80-90 calories (depending on the size you make or break them) based on the ingredients used to make them and the overall size/weight of the completed sheet of candy and some (I am sure bad) math which can give you some quick energy in a survival situation . Their light weight makes them easy to pack and they do add a psychological "boost" to your kit.

This recipe makes just about 1 pound or so of the candy (at least it felt like it was about a pound) and costs about $ .02 per piece or $ 1.20 per sheet (depending on how big you make the pieces).

I look forward to reading your comments.

As always, Train to Survive!


Taranach (author)2014-01-14

You know, if you were to get some of those "hard candy" vitamins or even crush up a few regular ones, you could fold them into the cooling mixture while still soft and have some *Real* survival candy that would have some real benefits to it.

mrsmerwin (author)Taranach2017-02-26

vitamins might give it a nasty after taste.

tsweet5 (author)mrsmerwin2017-02-26

Since the original writing of this Ibile I've started adding Flintstone's children's chewable vitamins to the mixture. I pulverize them into a fine powder and mix 3/4 I with the candy it self and the other 1/4 into the powdered sugar used to coat them after they cool... We haven't noticed any change in taste and as some above said it now has some more to it than just sugar for energy. One half bottle of Flintstone's chewable vitamins per batch... I don't recall off the top of my head at the moment but we get the big bottle which is either 250 or 500 count...

mrsmerwin (author)tsweet52017-02-26

I was talking to my son today. He is interested in taking a backpacking trip. I will try the vitamin enriched version just cause I have make the plain candy one many times. If they like the vitamin version, it would be a nice addition.

Cheese Queen (author)2014-01-14

Cornstarch might work better than powdered sugar to reduce stickiness between the pieces. That's what I use on my homemade marshmallows

mrsmerwin (author)Cheese Queen2017-02-26

I use a powdered sugar and corn starch mix--about 50/50 but I don't bother to measure anything.

Snidely70448 (author)2014-01-15

I don't understand the "survival" part. It seems to be your basic sugar candy with no essential nutrients, just empty simple carbs. Sugar is just 4 calories per gram, just like protein, as opposed to 9 calories per gram for fat, so it is not even dense energy by weight. A sack of peppermint candies would do as well for quick energy, for instance if one were in a hypothermia situation. Candy bars containing other nutrients, like nuts and fats would be a better alternative, and pemmican even better.

Klappstuhl (author)Snidely704482014-01-15

Oooh, great idea, I could put nuts into mine! Thanks! :D

Snidely70448 (author)Klappstuhl2014-01-16

In Louisiana we have a candy called pralines. However, don't plan for them to last any length of time, since they are really delicious. I just ate some my wife had hidden a year ago and they still tasted WONDERFUL.

Pralines are a New Orleans institution!
This praline recipe produces sweet, slightly crumbly brown sugar candies
loaded with toasted pecans. It's important that the pecans be
well-toasted so that they impart maximum flavor and crunch to the candy.

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, cubed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, granulated
sugar, and evaporated milk over medium heat. Stir until the sugar
dissolves, then insert a candy thermometer.

3. Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until the candy reaches 240 degrees on the thermometer.

4. Once the proper temperature is reached, remove the pan from
the heat and drop the chunks of butter on top, but do not stir. Allow
the pan to sit for one minute.

5. After a minute, add the vanilla extract and the pecans, and
begin to stir smoothly and constantly with a wooden spoon. Soon the
candy will begin to get thicker and lighter in color.

6. Continue to stir until the candy starts to hold its shape.
It should still be easy to stir, however. It is important not to stir
too much, as pralines quickly go from fluid to rock-solid. Once it is a
lighter, opaque brown and holds its shape, quickly begin to drop small
spoonfuls of the candy onto the prepared baking sheet.

7. Work quickly to form the candies, as the pralines will
start to set in the saucepan. If the candy stiffens before you’re done
scooping, add a spoonful of very hot water and stir until it loosens,
then continue scooping until you have formed all the pralines.

8. Allow the candy to fully set at room temperature, for about
30 minutes. Store New Orleans Pralines in an airtight container at room

mrsmerwin (author)Snidely704482017-02-26

I have to make this. My son wants to go backpacking. If I can arm him with sugar for energy and nuts for protein, then I know he will be good for at least a day.

arty (author)2014-01-17

:( While I approve of your goal, your result is "empty calories." Why not make iron rations... something that may not taste as good, but will sustain life over a longer period of time. (I've made myself sick - twice - trying to live on jerky or MRE's... They ain't food. The earliest iron ration, that I've read of, was fruitcake. (The early version didn't have the plastic fruits; the alcohol is the preservative.) Pemmican, fruitcake, nut-breads, granola bars (although I think grains are entirely over over-used; the ultimate convenience food)... how do we make our own iron rations?

RoBear613 (author)arty2017-02-17

Hard Candy is pure sugar (simple carbohydrate) and these are meant as a supplement. We burn carbs (sugar) first so ingesting sugar can give you a boost of energy when you need it. Also, your suggestions include fats that can rancidify, making them hazardous for human consumption. Hard candy, if sealed, will be good pretty much forever.

Medeusa (author)arty2014-10-02

My grandmother used to make something for us kids. She used homemade beef jerky, dried fruit, some 'crackin's', and beat it up. Actually, lol, we kids beat it up, but we were also allowed to get some anytime we were hungry between meals. Sure wish I could remember everything she put it in.

tomsweet65 (author)arty2014-01-29

The idea was more comfort food if TSHTF than anything else, though it does have plenty of sugar for a quick boost if needed. As for Iran Rations you just gave me a research And we'll see what i can come up with.

Thanks for the comment.

Train To survive!

cladelcroix made it! (author)2016-07-07

I made myselft with coconut aroma :) they are very good tasting !

cladelcroix made it! (author)2016-07-07

I made myselft with coconut aroma :) they are very good tasting !

Tactical man220 (author)2016-02-12

I plan on making it if it is

Tactical man220 (author)2016-02-12

is the candy anygood

RashesR (author)2016-01-30


GM1558 (author)2015-09-15

Between diy candy, jerky and survival bars at least we won't starve. Thanks

_Who (author)2014-03-29

Nothing beats beef jerky nothing

GM1558 (author)_Who2015-09-15

I agree, but it's nice to have options.

tomsweet65 (author)_Who2014-04-01

Except bacon... Bacon beats beef jerky... :-)

katavi13 (author)tomsweet652015-06-18


Joxman2k (author)tomsweet652014-12-06

Ultimate .... Bacon Jerky :P Not sure if that's a thing, but it should be :)

rukiara (author)Joxman2k2015-01-08 You're welcome.

camalo171 made it! (author)2015-01-27

Great idea. mine turned out great even without a thermometer. Great to add to a bug out bag

knexinventer (author)2014-12-20

only 3/4 cup of water?

cesartheinventor (author)2014-10-18

you can use parchment wax.or silicone mat

radiox (author)2014-07-08

I made my own but made a large mistake I used wax paper now my candy had a paper backing that's OK I've eaten a lot worse then paper

CharlesChristopher (author)2014-03-08

You might also like fruit leather. It has been updated with the name "fruit roll ups," but it is essentially the stuff our ancestors had made for centuries as a way of preserving sweet fleshy fruits.

We do :-) So far I have made strawberry, grape, and raspberry... I didn't have much luck with the peach or apricot I got them too watery when I was pureing the fruit but I hope to correct that mistake next As soon as fresh fruit is more available up here (the Rockies) I plan on doing an Insturctable on them...

gardengeek (author)2014-03-21

Is it any good

tomsweet65 (author)gardengeek2014-03-24

Yes... I can't keep it around... Our kids like it and it has become a staple in our day packs for a sweet boost...

scubacarl (author)2014-02-18

You are not cheap , frugal -Yes , and on the survival aspect "Thumbs up from me" !

gmacv (author)2014-02-02

Use blue food coloring and it will look like something from "Breaking Bad". LOL!

Ace Frahm (author)2014-02-01

Well, it's nothing but sugar, so maybe as "survival" it would work best as a fire-starter, since it will burn very good. This essentially transforms the sugar from hard-to-carry powder that could leak out if your bag gets a hole, into a solid, easy-to-carry block. Maybe your survival plans should include cooking the sugar back into a recipe with more complete food . . .

pallc (author)2014-01-22
tomsweet65 (author)pallc2014-01-29

Interesting article. Thanks.

pallc (author)2014-01-22

Reminds me of caramel. :-)

I was thinking condensed milk is a great survival candy additive to have around so you could make fresh carmel. I also wonder how a powdered milk version would turn out. Technically, milk and really human females breast milk (good luck) would be the most nutrient diverse if healthy and a healthy milk breed. Maybe keep some nut seeds around with the milk products and cane. I'd say more olive oil or butter too though wonder what the graph looks like in regards to shelf life verses sugar content and more nutrients (fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins) in the "survival candy". Thanks for the post.

rsnyder8 (author)2014-01-17

just a thought. you could also add citric acid to your powdered sugar at 1:2 ratio if you like sour candy.

shmee321 (author)2014-01-16

This sweet in Africa, is called ' tamaleki' ( ta-ma-lair-key) and I used to eat if as a little girl. Pure sugar rush! Still make it for my kids :)

If you add butter at the end stage and vanilla, you make butter scotch drops :)

Istarian (author)2014-01-16

Looks remarkably like some kind of nut brittle, which essentially amounts to nuts embedded in a hard sheet of sugar. Survival is surely more difficult than just carrying squares of solid, caramelized sugar, but having sugar on hand probably isn't a terrible idea.

glou (author)2014-01-16

My grandmother taught me to make homemade cough drops that are sort of like these candies. Horehound, Anise with cinnamon are my two favorites. You boil the leaves of the horehound leavesorthe anise seeds then cook it down to a syrupy level and you would add that to your mixture before it goes on to the cookie sheet. I make a batch every fall and they work better than store bought lozenges. Great idea for things to put in the car or in the backpack.

basketcache (author)2014-01-12

I make this candy every Christmas. But your price of1.20 per sheet is way off considering corn syrup is somewhere between $3-$5 a bottle.

ned103 (author)basketcache2014-01-15

I would like to add that I have seen corn syrup at Dollar Tree. Only a $1. And, it's the name brand stuff. If you shop around you can get name brand ingredients for way less than supermarket prices. Then you would have the lower price per sheet. Also, since you don't use the whole bottle at once and can get a few batches out of it, that also lowers the price per sheet. One 16oz bottle will make 3 sheets. Yes, at $3 dollars per bottle, that's $1 of cost per sheet. But at $1 per bottle it's only 33¢. Great comment and great instructable. Thank you.

tomsweet65 (author)basketcache2014-01-12

You are right. I was off on my math, a better estimate of cost is $2.50 or so per sheet. Which is still cheaper than the $3.99-$7.99 I found online for "survival candy"

thanks for the comment!

Train to survive!

mattnielson (author)2014-01-15

@Snidely70448 it gives you quick energy to burn if you are in a survival situation and if you don't have any food it gives you surgar and calories and when I made it it tastes pretty good better than eating grass and twigs

xvicente (author)2014-01-15

"Being the cheap SOB I am"
you got many readers there

antares72 (author)2014-01-12

How long can it be stored, you think? Perhaps you could have it as Christmas candy and make a new batch every year... ;)

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