This old-fashioned recipe for Cinnamon Hard Candy is part of our holiday tradition. It’s sweet and spicy and fun to share with others.
This post was originally published on December 18, 2013, and has now been updated with new images, ingredient notes, and more detailed instructions.
Growing up there were a few things I could always count on my mom to make during the holidays. One of these things is her Homemade Cinnamon Candy.
Aside from working with boiling hot molten sugar lava, the recipe is pretty easy to make. I’m not sure if that makes you nervous, but I’m not a big risk-taker in the kitchen.
So I had my mom make it for me so I could take photos. While I was able to update the finished images of the hard candy, because of the current stay at home situation, I wasn’t able to take new process photos.
Making hard candy requires using a candy thermometer to get the right consistency. But other than being patient and careful, this recipe really doesn’t require any special skills.
The friends and family we’ve shared this with over the year are all big fans. And one batch makes a lot!
You can keep some for your family and bag some up for dropping off with neighbors too. It’s a perfect holiday treat.
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You will see images with the candy colored red and somewhere it is left as is. My mom and I can’t agree on the best way to make it so this is a combination of both ways.
Scroll down to the end of the post for a printable recipe card with full measurements and more detailed instructions.
Just 4 ingredients (5, if you include red food coloring) is all you need to make this classic treat.
And most of us have white sugar and water around.
The only thing you need to plan ahead for is cinnamon oil. I usually pick mine up on Amazon. But they also have it at the local craft store in the candy aisle.
Cinnamon oil is sold in a 1 dram sized bottle. We only used one bottle, but if you like your cinnamon light-your-tongue-on-fire hot, you may want to use some of the other bottle as well.
A note about cinnamon oil: IT’S STRONG! It can burn your eyes and nose if you inhale it too deeply. It’s also supposed to be bad for dogs. If you’re worried, do a little research before you start.
How to Make Cinnamon Hard Candy
Add the white sugar, water, and corn syrup to a saucepan and mix together.
Turn the heat to medium and add a candy thermometer. The sugar needs to get up to 300 degrees.
I think that may also be known as hard ball stage, can anyone confirm?
Mix it often as it’s cooking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
It will take a while for the sugar to get to the right temperate. I think it took us about an hour.
Again, this is why this is a tradition that my mom makes for me. I prefer the ease of dump cake recipes.
And can we talk for a moment about how freaking clean my mom’s stove top is? Gosh, I wish I got her cleaning gene.
In the meantime, grease a baking sheet and set it aside.
This will help the candy keep from sticking to the pan. Duh.
Once the sugar reaches the hard ball stage or 300 degrees, remove the pan from heat and add your cinnamon oil.
DO NOT INHALE. I REPEAT, DO NOT INHALE! For real.
The cinnamon is potent. It will choke you. It will make your eyes water.
But it will taste SO good.
Stir to ensure it is mixed well throughout the sugar. Make sure that all the doors and windows are open. No joke.
If you are using red food coloring, this is when you would add that as well. Make sure to mix it well. My mom used a “few drops” when she made the red batch.
Start with a few drops and add more to get the desired red color that you would like.
Carefully pour the candy onto the prepared sheet pan and let harden.
I would say it was really hard after a full hour.
We didn’t put it in the fridge or anything like that. Just left it out on the counter.
The fun part is cracking the Christmas candy into smaller, bite-sized pieces. This is what the whole sheet of candy looks like once it’s cooled. And again this is without red food coloring.
Here’s what the candy looks like with red food coloring. And, of course, this isn’t the full batch, I just wanted to show the color.
Using a table knife, whack the cinnamon candy. Not too hard because pieces go flying all over the place. And it is really sharp. Much like glass shards. Use caution.
Also, can’t you tell that some people call this glass candy? It totally looks like it.
I think the golden color (no food coloring) is really pretty.
But the red really does read more like cinnamon candy don’t you think? Or you could really freak people out and make it green.
Then they would think they were going to be eating something lime or peppermint flavored. And then BAM! Cinnamon. Their taste buds won’t know what to do!
Store the candy in an air-tight container and it will last for at least a month.
The pieces may stick together but you can just break them apart.
The pieces can be really sharp so take care when giving this to children.
I just know you will love this! I’m sucking on some right now as a matter of fact. Thank you, mom, for helping me with this post. You’re the best!
- We make Cinnamon Walnuts to munch on all holiday season long. They’re great for a party or even just for a delicious snack time.
- A Hot Chocolate Charcuterie Board is a fun way to enjoy some small desserts and toppings for your cocoa.
- Wine Cake is my go-to bundt cake for Christmas morning. It’s full of nutmeg and is SO tasty!
Cinnamon Hard Candy
- Mix water, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring often, until the candy thermometer temperature reaches 300 degrees.
- While waiting for the candy to boil, butter a cookie sheet and set it aside so it’s ready when the candy reaches the correct temperature.
- Remove from heat.
- Add cinnamon oil and stir well (DO NOT SNIFF FUMES! HAVE DOORS AND WINDOWS OPEN!)
- If using food coloring, add it now and stir well.
- Pour on to a buttered cookie sheet.
- Let it sit until hardened and dry. (About an hour)
- Use the end of a butter knife to break the hard cinnamon candy into pieces.
- Store in an air-tight container.