Who doesn’t love hard candy? For many of us, it stirs up so many nostalgic childhood memories. But I like to believe that hard candy is a very versatile snack.
Don’t get me wrong, you can just have it on its own. There’s nothing better than binging on a box of candy, right? But you can also melt it and shape it into glass ornaments, cake decor items, gingerbread house windows, and so much more! But first things first, how to melt hard candy?
How to Melt Hard Candy
There are so many ways you could melt your hard candy! You have the microwave at your disposal, obviously, but you could also use the stovetop, an oven, or even a double-boiler!
But the question is, can you melt hard candy without making a huge mess? Fortunately, yes! Although it might take you a few tries and techniques to perfect it, you can totally melt hard candy at home and make it look professional. And if you’re worried it’ll turn out sticky, or stretchy, or even hard to clean, keep reading to find out how to solve all of these!
How to Prep Hard Candy For Melting
First and foremost, if you wish to melt hard candy at home, you’ll need to follow the same prep method for all your techniques. Getting this right will ensure your candies don’t stick to the bottom or burn too quickly.
- Clear hard candy (Jolly Ranchers, Life Savers, or Mike and Ike work best!)
- Clear, sealable polythene bags
- Cookie cutters or toothpicks for added effects
- A hammer or meat pounder.
To prep your hard candy for melting, all you need to do is divide your hard candy into various batches of the same color. Pop them into individual ziplock bags and, using a hammer or a rolling pin, crush them into small pieces. Your hard candy is ready to melt!
Pro Tip: Do not crush more than one color of hard candy together. If you mix them before crushing and melting them, they’ll camouflage into one not-so-pretty color. Instead, crush them separately and then arrange them on the tray as per your liking.
How to Melt Hard Candy Using An Oven
Reheating and melting your hard candy in the oven is ridiculously easy. All you will need is your crushed hard candy, some baking paper, and an oven.
To melt your hard candy in the oven, follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fold its edges in the pan so that the hard candy doesn’t overflow and stick to the pan.
- Place your crushed candy in the pan. You can also place the candy inside a cookie-cutter to give it a definitive shape.
- Bake the candy for 5-7 minutes, or until melted. Do not let your candy start bubbling. Once it does, it will very quickly scorch and burn.
- Take out your pan and let it cool. Do not move your baking tray too much or the melted candy will move around the pan, ruining its color and shape.
- Once it has completely cooled down, after about 15-20 minutes, transfer it to a dish and use it as needed.
Pro Tip: You can also bake sugar cookies, or any other cookies, in the oven along with your hard candy. Place your crushed hard candy in the hollowed-out center of your cookies and bake. If your cookies need a longer baking time, first bake your cookies for 7-8 minutes, add hard candy, and bake for another 5-6 minutes.
How to Melt Hard Candy Using A Saucepan
Melting hard candy in a saucepan is incredibly easy, and a lot less messy than you might think it to be. And with a few clever tricks, you’ll have fool-proof melted candy every single time!
- To use this method, you need to first choose a thick bottom saucepan. This is very important since using any other pan would most likely burn your candy from the uneven distribution of heat.
- Add your crushed candy to the pan and turn on the heat to medium-low.
- Once your candy begins to melt, it will freely move around the pan. Do not cook this mixture for more than 5 minutes.
- If your candy pieces are completely melted, remove them from the stove immediately.
- Use this mixture as quickly as you can. Melted candy doesn’t take too long to harden. Move very quickly and carefully.
If you do not want to use an oven or a microwave, but do not have a thick bottom sauce-pan, this next method may be for you!
How to Melt Hard Candy Using The Double Boiler Method
Although this technique demands a bit more patience and time than directly using a saucepan, I’d like to mention that this one is also a lot safer than the previous method. You practically eliminate any chances of scorching or burning your hard candy when you melt it using a double boiler.
- To use this technique, place a saucepan or a pot on the stove. Fill it halfway through with water and bring this to a boil.
- Let the water reach its boiling point on medium-low heat, and then place a smaller bowl on top.
- Pour your hard candy into this bowl and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir it gently, do not over stir.
- Once your candy is completely melted, transfer it to your baking sheet or mould for later use.
Pro tip: If you want your hard candy to stay melted for longer, turn off the flame but continue to keep the bowl over the saucepan containing boiled water. The residual heat will keep your candy from hardening very quickly, and you should get a little longer to work with it.
How to Melt Hard Candy Using A Microwave
Microwaving your hard candy to melt it is the quickest option out there. But it is also the hardest and a lot more tricky to get right. You will most likely have to run a few trial batches to get it right. But once you do, melting hard candy will be a piece of cake for you.
- First, take a microwave-safe glass bowl or a ceramic cup.
- A glass bowl works best because it will allow you to closely observe your hard candy while it is in the microwave.
- Take out small portions of your crushed hard candy and put them in the bowl.
- Heat this for 30 seconds at a medium-low temperature.
- Take it out, stir it, and if it hasn’t melted yet, place it back in the microwave.
- Keep repeating this at an interval of 15 seconds, all the while keeping a close eye on your candy.
- Your melted hard candy should be ready in under 2 minutes.
Microwaves are notorious for uneven, extreme temperatures. Make sure you adjust the temperature and lower it. The smaller the size of your hard candy, the faster it will melt. This will also avoid burning the sugar in your candy.
And finally, you might not get it right in the first two tries, but you can certainly adjust the time and temperature according to your microwave and then get it right each time!
You may also like: How to Melt White Chocolate
What Can You Use Melted Hard Candy For?
For many, many things! As I said, hard candy can be very versatile if used right.Some of the things. Some of the things that go well with hard candy are as follows:
- Gingerbread houses and windows
- Crystal charms
- Hard candy glass effect cookies
- As for decorations in cakes, donuts, cupcakes, etc.
- As a syrup in fruit drinks, cocktails, mocktails, and other drinks.
- You can even make stained glass ornaments!
How to make hard candy into a syrup?
Simply add some water! Hard candy, when melted, hardens again because it has no water content. If you add some water to your candy while melting it, it’ll take longer to harden, and can be used as a syrup in many dishes.
How to clean melted-and-hardened hard candy from the bowl?
Don’t scrub, boil some water in it! Any kind of residual candy or sauce easily slides off the plate when you add some water to it and warm it up!
Why is my hard candy so sticky?
Your hard candy is likely very sticky because there is too much moisture in it. Humid weather can also play a part. Heat it over a double boiler for a while and then harden again!
When it comes to hard candy, the opportunities are endless. Don’t let the fear of not getting it right stop you from trying!
Fortunately for us, hard candy is comparatively cheaper than most other ingredients. You can always try melting several small batches to figure out which works best for you. I hope this blog helps you in the way!