Tag: Candy’

Winter Science: Mouthwatering Maple Syrup Snow Candy

 - by KitchenPantryScientist
Maple Snow Candy from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books 2016)

Maple Snow Candy from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books 2016)

Remember this homemade snow candy from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic “Little House in the Big Woods?” You can make the same amazing maple treats using heat evaporation and quick cooling in the snow, or on crushed ice cubes.

Here’s how to make the candy, along with some candy-making science, straight from the pages of my new book, “Outdoor Science Lab for Kids,” which you can order from your favorite book retailer by clicking here.

You’ll need:

-1 cup pure maple syrup

-sauce pan

-candy thermometer

-fresh, clean snow

Safety Tips and Hints:

-Hot sugar syrup can cause burns. This experiment must be done with adult supervision.

-Allow candy to cool completely before tasting.

-Only use pure maple syrup for the best results.

Directions:

Step 1: Go outside and scout out a spot with some clean snow several inches deep for making your candy. Alternately, collect and pack down a few inches of fresh snow in a large, flat container, like a casserole dish. (You can use crushed ice cubes if you don’t have snow.)

Step 2.  Boil the maple syrup in saucepan, stirring constantly until it reaches around 235-240 degrees F (soft ball stage.)

Step 3.  Remove the maple syrup from the heat and carefully pour it into a heat-resistant container with a spout, like a Pyrex measuring cup.

Step 4. Pour wiggly candy lines into the snow to freeze them into shape.

Maple Snow Candy from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books 2016)

Maple Snow Candy from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books 2016)

 

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Alternately, make snow candy in a casserole dish filled with fresh snow or crushed ice.

Step 5.  When you’re done, remove the candy from the snow with a fork.

Maple Syrup Snow Candy from "Outdoor Science Lab for Kids" (Quarry Books 2016)

Maple Syrup Snow Candy from “Outdoor Science Lab for Kids” (Quarry Books 2016)

Step 6. Eat your candy right away, or let it warm up and wind it around sticks or skewers to make maple lollipops. Enjoy!

Maple Snow Candy from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books 2016)

Maple Snow Candy from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids (Quarry Books 2016)

The Science Behind the Fun:

Maple syrup is made from watery tree sap boiled to evaporate most of the moisture it contains when it’s first tapped from a tree. Following evaporation, the syrup that remains is mostly made up of a sugar called sucrose, but it also contains smaller amounts of glucose and fructose.

Naturally, other organic compounds are also present in tree sap, giving syrup from different areas unique flavors. Syrup collected earlier in spring when it is cold tend to be light in color and have a mild flavor. As the days get warmer, microbes ferment some of the sugar in the syrup, making it darker and giving it a more robust taste.

In this experiment, you heat maple syrup, evaporating even more water. A super saturated solution forms, which holds more sugar molecules in the liquid than would be possible if you evaporated the water at room temperature.

When you pour the supersaturated sugar into the snow, it cools quickly, forming some sugar crystals to give the maple candy a soft, semi-solid consistency. Heating the syrup to a higher temperature will evaporate more water, resulting in even more crystal formation in the cooled syrup, making it harder to bite. If you carefully evaporate all of the water from maple syrup, you’ll be left with pure maple sugar crystals.

Creative Enrichment:

-Try collecting some syrup from your pan at several different temperatures and compare the resulting snow candy for texture, color and consistency.

-Can you do the same experiment with other sugar syrups, like molasses or corn syrup?

-Try to make maple sugar.

 

 

Candy Experiments

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

We have bags full of candy at our house, and I’d like to see them disappear as quickly as possible. Here are a few science experiments we tried, substituting candy for other ingredients:

Candy Chromatography: We put candy in water and used coffee filters to separate out the colors, via capillary action.

Skittles in water with coffee filter strips between cups...

Skittles in water with coffee filter strips between cups…

Coffee filters on cups, with water dripped onto a piece of candy.

Coffee filters on cups, with water dripped onto a piece of candy.

Candy-drinking plants? We dissolved candy in warm water and added white carnations with cut/split stems to see whether they’d  change color as the flowers drew the water up into their petals.

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Candy Vegetable Vampires: We tried the same experiment with Napa Cabbage, via the Vampire Vegetables experiment in Kitchen Science Lab for Kids.

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We’re also going to freeze candy in ice and make Tie Dye milk with Skittles!

What could you try with your candy?

Halloween Vampire Snacks

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

This bloody candy experiment takes a few weeks , but is worth the wait! If you start today, you’ll have gorgeously gruesome rock candy, dripping with sugary fake blood, in time for Halloween.

IMG_3482

This experiment requires adult supervision for boiling and handling the hot sugar syrup. Once it’s cooled down, kids can take over.

To make 12-15 sticks, you’ll need the following:

-2 and 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

– 1 cup water

-cake pop sticks or wooden skewers

-red food coloring

  1. Dip one end of cake-pop sticks or wooden skewers in water and then roll them in granulated white sugar. Seed CrystalsThe sugar should cover 2-3 inches of the stick. Let them dry completely. These are the seeds for the sugar crystal growth.
  1. Boil 2 cups water and 5 cups sugar until sugar is dissolved as much as possible. It should look like syrup. Once it cools, this syrup is your supersaturated sugar solution.
  2. Let syrup sit until it is no longer hot and pour into a large glass jar or deep bowl.IMG_2301
  3. When syrup is completely cool, set the sugary end of the sugar-seeded cake pops or skewers into the syrup, evenly spaced in the jar. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them sit for about a week. Gently move the sticks around occasionally, so they don’t stick to each other and the crystals in the bottom of the glass. If the glass container gets too full of crystals, pour the syrup into a new container and move your stick into the cleaner syrup to grow more crystals.
  4. When the rock candy is done, pull them from the syrup and let them dry. Save the syrup.IMG_3469
  5. To serve, pour a few cm of your sugar syrup into the bottom of a pretty glass and add a few drops of red food coloring. You can even add a little flavoring to the syrup (like cherry extract.) Stir.
  6. Put your rock candy, handle side up, into the glass. Be sure to give your guests napkins, so they don’t drip “blood” all over the house!

IMG_3475

How do Crystal Grow?

Like bricks in a wall, crystals are solids formed by a network of repeating patterns of molecules. Instead of the mortar that holds brick together, the atoms and molecules are connected by atomic bonds.

Crystals that share the same chemical composition can be big or small, but the molecules always come together to form the same shape. Table sugar, or sucrose, is made up of a molecule composed of two sugars, glucose and fructose.  Crystals formed by sucrose are hexagonal (six-sided) prisms, slanted at the ends.

The crystals on your rock candy sticks grow from the “seeds” of the sugar you rolled on the stick before you put them in the syrup.

Candy Science: Icy Worm Pond

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

If you got any sour gummy worms for Halloween, they’re probably coated with sweet-sour powder made from citric acid  and sugar crystals. Using the same science used to make rock candy, you can use sour gummy worms to crystallize sugar syrup and make an”icy worm pond.” It’s even more fun to add sugar cubes to your pond! After a few days, you can chip your worms out of the “ice” to see how they taste. I created this experiment for Imperial Sugar and Dixie Crystals. Check it out on their website (click here) for directions and to learn more about the science behind the fun!

icy-worm-pond

 

If you don’t have sour worms, try coating other (non-chocolate) candy with sugar by dipping it in water, rolling it in sugar and letting it dry before you add it to your pond. It would be fun to do this experiment with Swedish fish, or lifesavers! 

Can you make up an experiment using Halloween Candy? Comment on this post with the experiment you created and you could win a copy of Kitchen Science Lab for Kids*!

*Winner will be chosen at random.

 

 

Halloween Science: Vampire Rock Candy

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Think Halloween science!

I’m going to post a spooky experiment every few days from now until Oct.31st. They’re great for school or home Halloween parties, and some even make groovy Halloween Decorations!

This bloody candy experiment takes a few weeks , but is worth the wait! If you start soon, you’ll have gorgeously gruesome rock candy, dripping with sugary fake blood, in time for Halloween.

IMG_3482

This experiment requires adult supervision for boiling and handling the hot sugar syrup. Once it’s cooled down, kids can take over.

To make 12-15 sticks, you’ll need the following:

-2 and 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

– 1 cup water

-cake pop sticks or wooden skewers

-red food coloring

  1. Dip one end of cake-pop sticks or wooden skewers in water and then roll them in granulated white sugar. Seed CrystalsThe sugar should cover 2-3 inches of the stick. Let them dry completely. These are the seeds for the sugar crystal growth.
  1. Boil 2 cups water and 5 cups sugar until sugar is dissolved as much as possible. It should look like syrup. Once it cools, this syrup is your supersaturated sugar solution.
  2. Let syrup sit until it is no longer hot and pour into a large glass jar or deep bowl.IMG_2301
  3. When syrup is completely cool, set the sugary end of the sugar-seeded cake pops or skewers into the syrup, evenly spaced in the jar. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them sit for about a week. Gently move the sticks around occasionally, so they don’t stick to each other and the crystals in the bottom of the glass. If the glass container gets too full of crystals, pour the syrup into a new container and move your stick into the cleaner syrup to grow more crystals.
  4. When the rock candy is done, pull them from the syrup and let them dry. Save the syrup.IMG_3469
  5. To serve, pour a few cm of your sugar syrup into the bottom of a pretty glass and add a few drops of red food coloring. You can even add a little flavoring to the syrup (like cherry extract.) Stir.
  6. Put your rock candy, handle side up, into the glass. Be sure to give your guests napkins, so they don’t drip “blood” all over the house!

IMG_3475

How do Crystal Grow?

Like bricks in a wall, crystals are solids formed by a network of repeating patterns of molecules. Instead of the mortar that holds brick together, the atoms and molecules are connected by atomic bonds.

Crystals that share the same chemical composition can be big or small, but the molecules always come together to form the same shape. Table sugar, or sucrose, is made up of a molecule composed of two sugars, glucose and fructose.  Crystals formed by sucrose are hexagonal (six-sided) prisms, slanted at the ends.

The crystals on your rock candy sticks grow from the “seeds” of the sugar you rolled on the stick before you put them in the syrup.