Candy glass is easy and fun to make. The project involves chemistry and cooking, a win-win combination. As the sugar is heated with the other ingredients, the sugar’s chemical structure changes and it binds to the other materials. Heat becomes an important catalyst in the process. If the mixture is not heated to a high enough heat the candy will not set right and remain sticky, if the mixture is heated too high the glass candy product turns brown and shatters easily.
Candy glass became very popular in Hollywood. The sugar glass was used in Hollywood set windows because it would break and shatter just like real glass without hurting the stuntmen going through it. With the addition of dyes, the candy glass could be made to look like stain glass windows, like might be found on an old West Hollywood set. It is still used by movie and TV show makers today. Even bullet holes can be made in the candy glass and they look just like they went through real glass. Do not try this at home, only professionals know how to handle firearms correctly with the candy glass.
Only four ingredients are needed to make candy glass, along with a pot to boil the mixture and a candy thermometer. To begin, take three and one half cups of sugar, and one teaspoon cream of tartar, and then add two cups of water, and one cup of corn syrup. Bring this mixture to a boil in a sturdy pot while stirring constantly. As it heats up the mixture becomes clear and sticky. Continue to heat this sticky syrup up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 148 degrees Celsius. Once this temperature is reached, the candy glass is ready to be poured into a lightly greased mold or onto a lightly greased flat surface like a cookie sheet or 9 x 12 pan.
Make sure to watch the temperature of the candy glass as it starts to boil. If the candy glass is heated up to 320 degrees the sugar will caramelize and look brown, so be careful and watch the temperature closely. Another thing to consider about the temperature is how high above sea level you are. At sea level, you want the temperature to reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit, but for every 500 feet above sea level, one degree Fahrenheit will need to be subtracted. So, if you are at 5,000 feet above sea level you will need to subtract ten degrees from the 300 degrees giving you a temperature of 290 degrees to reach while boiling your candy.
Candy glass in itself does not taste particularly good, food flavorings like mint, vanilla, lemon, anise extract, or almond extract can be added to it, to make it tastier. If your desire is to make colored candy glass, stir it in a few drops of whatever food coloring color you desire after the mixture comes to a boil. Make sure to let the candy glass cool to room temperature before removing it from the mold or pan. Now you have done chemistry and have your finished product. Chemistry can be fun; candy glass is proof of that.