Hard Tack Candy

Hard Tack Candy bagsThe first time I had this, it came from Beechy's a wonderful Amish store in Illinois. While I haven't been able to make candy quite as pretty as theirs, it tastes the about the same. :)


Total Time: about two hours

Yield: about 2 lb

Source: LorAnn Oils and Flavors

Link: Hard Candy and Lollipop Recipe




  1. Grease a cookie sheet or two metal containers (e.g. bread pans) well, but not too heavily. Make sure to grease the sides where the candy may touch, up to 1/4 inch.
  2. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  3. melting sugar and corn starch
    melting sugar and corn starch
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom. If you have a candy thermometer like mine, you can bend the metal holder to fit the glass and prevent it from sliding.
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  6. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring and let it bubble until the temperature reaches 260º F. You may need to turn the heat up slightly after a couple minutes. Immediately add a few drops of food coloring. I used three blue and one or two green drops to make the teal color. Do not stir; the boiling will naturally incorporate color into syrup.
  7. boiling sugar with coloring
  8. The longer it boils, the hotter the mixture should get. Remove from heat at exactly 300° F, or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water (hard crack stage).
  9. boiling sugar with coloring

  10. Wait for the boiling bubbles to die down before adding the flavor. Stir and keep away from the steam. You don't want to breathe it in!
  11. boiling thickened sugar with coloring
  12. Carefully pour the syrup onto the prepared cookie sheet.
  13. pouring colored sugar in pan
  14. Once the candy has set up (about 5 minutes), score into bite sized pieces. If you start too early, the lines will melt back into the candy, like this:
  15. to hot to score candy pieces
  16. The later you start, the more difficult it will be to score the candy. Once you find the sweet spot, score it through twice. Start at both edges and work your way into the middle. Every so often, remove any sticky candy from your knife or pizza cutter and rinse in cold water. Wait for it to set up naturally on the counter before breaking it apart; don't refrigerate.
  17. scored Hard Tack Candy in pan

  18. When the candy is completely cooled, tap it along the score lines with a knife. Then, see how much you can push out of the pan without it breaking apart. So, if you used bread tins, flip each tin upside down and press down on the bottom of the tin to pop out the candy. If you used a cookie sheet, slide a butter knife under the candy to pry it from the sheet. Remove excess grease from the candy with a paper towel.
  19. scored Hard Tack Candy in pan
    lifting Hard Tack Candy in pan
    Hard Tack Candy pieces
  20. Scoring the candy into squares prevents you from getting pieces that could potentially cut someone's tongue. Break the candy over a clean cookie sheet into bite-sized pieces, discarding any shards that are too sharp.
  21. wiping butter from Hard Tack Candy pieces

  22. Toss the candy pieces with powdered sugar and rub scoops of it between your hands to get rid of excess sugar. Package it and store in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator).
  23. adding powdered sugar to Hard Tack Candy
    pile of sugared Hard Tack Candy
  24. This recipe makes about 2 pounds of candy. Pictured below are the variations I made: wintergreen, cinnamon, and licorice. Makes a perfect, last minute gift!
  25. Hard Tack Candy in bag with Santa

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
December 30, 20180 found this helpful

That looks yummy! Is it so hard that it breaks if you bite it, or is it a bit chewy?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 3, 20190 found this helpful

Hi Attosa. It should break when you bite it if it sets up properly. By the way, I really admire your posts!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
January 6, 20190 found this helpful

Awww such a lovely thing to say! I love reading yours, as well. Happy new year to you! :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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