The other day I stumbled across a picture of those spicy red cinnamon candies you get around holidays, and I started to drool a bit. I quickly opened up Google and began searching for recipes for a homemade version of the treat. I found numerous recipes, but as I scrolled through them I noticed a recurring theme. Nearly every one of them called for three things I don't have in my house: corn syrup, cinnamon oil, and a candy thermometer. So I took to the kitchen and a few hours later I had something that tasted nothing like those storebought candies, but equally delicious.
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Step 1: Ingredients
After a bit of trial and error, I settled on these four ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 5/8 cup water
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 3/4 tsp pepper flakes
You'll also need a small pot, a wooden spoon, a baking sheet, and wax paper.
Step 2: Mix Ingredients
Combine all your ingredients in the small pot and mix.
Step 3: Simmer on Low Heat
Now here comes the long part of the process. Set the pot on the stove on low heat and bring it to a simmer. Do not turn the heat up or the candy will burn. Use a large spoon to slowly stir the mixture as it begins to thicken. This process can take upwards of half an hour, so make yourself comfortable. Patience is your best friend here, so don't rush it. Make sure to stir the candy a couple of times per minute or it will start to stick to the sides and bottom of the pot.
Step 4: Test the Candy's Hardness
Because you're not using a candy thermometer, you need a different way to tell when the candy is ready to be taken off the stove. Still keeping an eye on your candy and making sure it doesn't burn, pour a glass of cold water and set it near the stove. Every five minutes or so, dip a small spoon in the candy and drizzle a little bit on the surface of the water and observe how the candy behaves. The first time you do it, the candy will probably mostly dissolve. With each successive test however, you'll notice that the candy starts to form little clumps which settle to the bottom of the glass. You'll know your candy is done when the drop of candy hardens instantly as it hits the water and feels solid and brittle to the touch.
Step 5: Consistency
When your candy is finished cooking, it will have thickened considerably and should have a heavy glue-like texture.
Step 6: Pour Onto Baking Sheet
Line the baking sheet with wax paper and pour the candy on top. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes or so before picking it up.
Step 7: Enjoy!
All that's left is enjoying your cinnamon-ey goodness! Break it up into bite-size pieces then pop it in your mouth and feel the burn. (I have also found it to be exceptionally tasty when crushed and sprinkled on a bowlful of vanilla icecream.)
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