Introduction: My Attempt at Making Carbonated Hard Candy

About: Christian, MECE student, amateur guitarist, occasional pipe smoker, human, probably not dead. yep.

well, it's the thought that counts.

I recently obtained some citric acid. I originally bought it for making effervescent energy drink tablets, but I was looking to expand into other areas. I was putzing around my kitchen when the lightbulb went on - some sort of pop rocks type candy. I thought, "how hard can they be to make?" so I began experimenting. this did not end well, however - but I will include some tips at the end that I think could turn this into a viable method for creating DIY carbonated candies.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

here's what you'll need:
corn syrup
kool-aid (or some other flavoring)
citric acid
baking soda

as for the hardware:
parchment paper
candy thermometer

Step 2: Make Candy Base

I did a little research and followed a guide for making simple hard candy. basically, you just combine

1.25 cups sugar
.5 cups corn syrup
1/3 cup water

in a saucepan, put it on medium heat until it boils, then leave it to boil until it reaches 300 F. I actually added my flavoring here too (dumb - must read more carefully), so mine ended up all burnt tasting. fun. for this particular iteration, you'll want to add

1.25 tsp citric acid

to the mix.

Step 3: Wait.

it takes a while to reach 300 F.

while you're waiting, take time to prep the landing spot for your... whatever it turns out to be. it's pretty simple, I just lined a pan with parchment paper.

Step 4: Add Flavoring and Baking Soda

alright, the moment of truth: the addition of baking soda.

wait: first, put in 1/4 tsp kool aid (or whatever flavoring you're using).

alright, remember those old records where the record would tell you when to turn the page in the book? this is going to be a bit like that, but you're going to want to advance the photos on the cue.

view first photo.

here we go, adding the baking soda. just a little tap.

view second photo.

ooh, already fizzing a bit.

view third photo.

man, fizzing a lot. hope this doesn't go bad...

view fourth photo.

please stop expanding.

view fifth photo.

crap, it's leaving the container. crap crap crap crap

view sixth photo.

well that went exactly the opposite of how I had planned.

Step 5: Make the Best of It

I already made all this stuff, so I guess I'll try to finish it out.

just pour it onto the parchment paper and put it in the freezer. that's really it. when it's out, break or cut it (whichever you can manage) into edible pieces.

you may have noticed that my stuff turned orange. this is because the flavoring burnt - I should've added it at the end.

actually, what I came up with was kind of interesting - it formed a sort of chemically-pulled taffy, which could be nice for someone who wants to make taffy but doesn't want to do the sticky manual labor. but that wasn't what I was going for.

Step 6: How to Improve It

alright, here's how I think it should be done.

first, add the flavoring at the end, not the beginning. you'll burn the flavoring like I did and it will taste nasty.

second, wait a long time to add the baking soda. like, put it in a pan, let it cool until it's warm to the touch and workable, then knead in the baking soda. the acid and the baking soda will have a much slower interaction, allowing it to cool before they react.

I'm going to try this method later, but I don't have time to do it again right now. I'll revisit this, I promise!

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