Candy making is a great family hobby and there are a wealth of easy candy recipes for kids. Everyone has a favorite candy that they enjoy snacking on during the movies or after dinner. But there is something more fun than eating candy and that’s making your very own. Making homemade candy is a hobby that has been popular across the decades.
Candies were first created, not as sweets, but as medical treatments, intended to help relieve sore throats or stomach aches. And while we still use candies to help with colds (peppermints are a popular remedy), candy has become much better known for its sweet and sugary qualities. Originally, all candies came from the same idea: coating nuts, seeds, and fruits with sugar, in order to the give the insides a more sugary taste.
While this article deals more with candy making as a hobby, you can check out some of the following sites that list easy candy recipes for kids and parents alike:
AllRecipes.com – A great recipe site for everything from candy to barbecue.
All Easy Recipes – A fun site that lists easy candy recipes and more.
CDKitchen.com – A comprehensive recipe site with a dedicated section for kid’s candy recipes.
Today, candy covered nuts and fruits are still a very popular treat, though we now have many more varieties of candies to enjoy. While most candies these days are produced in mass in factories across the country, there are still some stores that make their own candy in the back room, melting the sugar and chocolate and bending them into fun and creative shapes.
Candy making is a fun and easy hobby that many people enjoy and is something that doesn’t have to be done in a high tech kitchen, contrary to popular belief. Making candy is something that can be done in your very own home and is a fun activity that you can do with your children. Kids love getting into the candy-making hobby because they can experiment and be very hands on with what they are creating.
Candy Making History
Although candy has become commonplace to our consumer culture as an item for pleasure, candy has its roots in medicinal functions. Most confectionery treats were intended to help treat digestive problems; most cough drops and peppermint candies owe their current popularity to their roots as digestive treatments.
Although candy can be found in many forms, most historical candy was comprised of fruit or nuts coated in sugar. Coating nuts and fruit in sugar was a great way to preserve them for use at a later time. Ancient Egyptians used honey to preserve their fruits and nuts, and people learned over time that sweets could be used to mask the flavor of less desirable but very helpful medicines. Indeed, the phrase, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” is very appropriate to the history of modern sweet treats.
Did you know?
- The word candy comes from the Arabic word “quandi,” meaning made with sugar.
- Candy has been referenced in both ancient Egyptian and Athenian times as treats for the rich.
- Early colonists used readily available maple syrup to make candy, which is still popular in the East coast to this day.
- Lollipops found their start in the late 1700’s in Britain and America.
Easy Candy Recipes For Kids – Getting Started
Now that you have decided that you’d like to give candy making a try, it is important to assemble everything that you need. Finding easy candy recipes for kids is not a difficult task, because there are many websites available that provide tasty candy recipes that are simple to make and easy to follow. Once you have found your recipe, gathering the ingredients will be the next step; the recipes will provide you with a detailed list of everything that you will need, as well as a few optional ingredients that you can add in to change the flavor and presentation of your candy.
The good thing about making your own candy is that no culinary skills are required. Anyone of almost any age can make their own candy right in their own kitchen. There are also many easy candy recipes for kids available; these recipes keep the steps simple so that children can actively participate in the process and can do more than just stand back and watch the steps being completed. It is important to choose a recipe that is age-appropriate for the children that you will be cooking with.
In addition to the ingredients you will need to make your candy, there are also a few basic tools. When making candy, very few specialized tools are required, but there are some things that you will need that you will not likely have around your house. If you plan on turning candy making into a frequent hobby, then having these tools will be a necessity. Items such as candy thermometers, molds, coloring and scoops are some of the crucial materials necessary to making your candy. These items are important to help with the manipulating and handling of the candy. Purchasing these tools can cost anywhere between $50-$75, but each item is necessary to the candy making process in its own right.
It is also important that you have protective gear available as well. Items such as oven mitts and aprons will definitely come in handy. The last thing that you want is to get a serious burn when making candy. The sugars in candies make them very sticky when hot and thus they will bond to skin quickly, potentially causing very painful burns.
How to Make Candy
Assemble your tools, choose your candy, and collect your ingredients,: it is time to begin. For the purpose of this article, Salt Water Taffy will be the example candy, as its creation process is very similar to those of other candies. It is also one of the many easy candy recipes for kids that can be found online. Be sure to have col water at the ready as well, in case a burn occurs.
The usual preparation activities occur here that are found in baking and cooking in general: making a clear workspace and making sure everything is heated to the appropriate temperatures. The good thing about making candy is you don’t have to wait for the oven to pre-heat like you do with baking, since the stove is used to melt and mix the candies. It is important, though, to remind children of the hot surface! Making Salt Water Taffy involves mixing all of your assembled ingredients into a large saucepan and then melting those ingredients until the desired temperature is shown on the candy thermometer.
The mixing and melting part is always a favorite among children of any age, because they can directly contribute to the process by adding the ingredients into the pan and then stirring them until they have melted together. Once the ingredients have melted, the candy is typically poured into a saucepan and left to cool slightly. Now comes everyone’s favorite part: once the taffy has cooled, it is time to stretch it out. Children love getting their hands dirty pulling and stretching the candy. They can even twist it into fun shapes if they wish. Each piece of taffy should be wrapped in its own piece of wax paper and stored in an airtight container in order to keep it from going stale.
Cleanup is an important step in the candy-making process, as the sticky substance will harden quickly, making it hard to remove from surfaces later on. This is especially true of the thermometer, as they tend to be fragile so heavy scrubbing is probably not a good option. It is best to soak utensils and pots and pans immediately following a candy-making session.
Enjoy! With your candy complete it’s now time to enjoy your creations. If you’re serious about your candy making, jot down notes for the next time. If there are particular ingredients that you didn’t like, or proportions that didn’t work out, make sure to note these down so you can refine your recipes in the future.
Tips and Tricks
The following tips and tricks can help you get the most out of your easy candy recipes for kids…
- Candy is all about recipes, so be sure to read the instructions and recipes very carefully.
- Any type of sugar can be used to make candy so feel free to look for recipes with other types of sugar including fructose, Sucralose, and even Splenda.
- Candies in England were called “sweetmeats” which included any foods cooked with sugar including meat. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
- Sometimes it is easier to wrap long sections of the candy in waxed paper and then cut it into smaller pieces once it cools versus trying to wrap small sections of piping hot candy individually.
- Encourage your kids to experiment on their own with recipes. While supervision is a must in the kitchen, provide your kids with the freedom and encouragement to experiment with their own candy creations.
Growing Beyond Easy Candy Recipes For Kids
Now that you and your kids have had a chance to experiment with your newfound hobby, it is a great time to step up your game and try new things to expand your candy-making horizons. The following ideas can help…
- Take your favorite candy recipes and expand on them to make your own concoctions. Having candy recipes that you can pass to your kids (and they can pass along to their own kids) is a wonderful and timeless family tradition.
- Perfecting common recipes is one way to build interest for candy making, but experimentation cannot be overlooked. Finding new ways to use your favorite supplies or convert your lesser favorite ingredients can surprise even the pickiest of eaters. Look for online websites with recipes and ideas on how to try something new and exciting.
- The more comfortable you get with melting sugars and chocolates and manipulating the candies, the more advanced the recipes. Children can take pride in improving on their candy making abilities by moving from the easy candy recipes for kids to more elaborate recipes. Candy making is a fun hobby that is quick and easy to do and enjoyable for children (and parents) of all ages.
Related Candy Resources
The following online resources can help you get the most out of your candy-making hobby…
Kitchen Krafts – Large commerce site that sells home baking supplies, candy making equipment, and other essential kitchen tools for the novice and expert candy maker.
Streich’s Cake & Candy Supply – Great site that sells a variety of chocolate candy molds, candy making supplies, and other candy and baking ideas.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.