Like stalactites, these shimmering clusters of peppermint-flavored crystals take time to form. It’s a captivating (and sweet!) science experiment that’s beautiful to behold as the candy comes to life on your kitchen counter. Clothespins might seem like an odd tool to use in candymaking, but they are perfect for suspending the lollipop sticks in the sugar solution. Flavored with a splash of cool, refreshing peppermint oil, any leftover peppermint syrup can be stirred into hot chocolate or cocktails. Want to gift these? Individually wrap dried candy in cellophane, and secure with a decorative string or a twist tie.

Paige Grandjean

Gallery

Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Recipe Summary test

active:
25 mins
total:
5 days
Servings:
6
Advertisement

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine 5 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and a candy thermometer registers 220°F (thread stage), 12 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a long wooden spoon, and standing as far back as possible, stir in peppermint oil. (When the peppermint oil hits the hot syrup, it will release an intense aroma.)

    Advertisement
  • Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons sugar on a small plate. Dip bottom 2 1/2 inches of each lollipop stick in hot peppermint syrup; roll to coat in sugar. Set aside until ready to use. Let remaining syrup cool completely, about 2 hours.

  • Divide peppermint syrup evenly among 6 (8-ounce, 4-inch-tall) jars or glasses (about 3/4 cup each). Using clothespins, clip unsugared end of each stick near hinge of clothespin. Suspend sticks in syrup, resting clothespins on rims of jars, making sure sticks do not touch sides and are about 1/2 inch from bottoms of jars. Cover each jar loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature, undisturbed, until crystals form on sticks and rock candy is desired size, 5 to 14 days. Every few days, break up any thin sheets of crystallized sugar that form on surface.

  • Remove rock candy from jars. Transfer remaining peppermint syrup to an airtight container, and reserve for another use.Return rock candy, with clothespins still attached, to empty jars. Let hang to dry at least 8 hours or overnight. If desired, serve as a stir stick with green tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

Make Ahead

Store rock candy in an airtight container up to 1 month; syrup can be refrigerated up to 1 month.

Notes

Be sure to use peppermint oil, not extract, for best results.

Advertisement