Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cayenne Pepper Hard Candy Recipe

(And now a departure from your usually scheduled quilts.)

Looking for something sweet and spicy and definitely different from what you've had before? Want to impress your family and friends? Try making these cayenne pepper hard candies, think of them like spicy jolly ranchers.

A few years ago I started growing cayenne peppers every summer. I turn most of them into pepper jelly using this recipe but last summer I started experimenting with a hard candy recipe. The basic recipe comes from this one.

You will need:
1c water
3 3/4 c sugar
1 1/2c light corn syurp
8 or so cayenne or other spicy pepper
splash of apple cider vinegar
green gel food color

Also, you'll need a candy thermometer and something to pour the candy in to. Silicon candy molds are certainly best and sucker sticks are nice, but a buttered cookie pan will do.

Prep your peppers first. Remove the stems, chop into chunks and throw them into a food processor with a splash cider vinegar, just enough to be able to blend them. For small batches like this I actually use a immersion blender.  Add a bit of green food color to the finished paste if you want.

You want to really get it blended small. I happen to like a little bit of chunks suspended in the finished candies, but if you want a crystal clear product strain your pepper paste and just use the juice. Be very careful not to get this stuff in your eyes! You will regret it. Deeply.  I use about 1 1/2 tbsp for my candies, but you could use more or less depending on how spicy you like it.

Pour the sugar, water, and corn syrup into a pot and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until it boils. Stop stirring and insert your candy thermometer. Heat slowly over med/med-low without stirring, maintaining a simmer until the temperature just touches 310F degrees.

This is going to take a while, like possibly 30 or 45 minutes. So prep your candy molds/cookie sheet, clean the kitchen, and watch some Netflix on your phone. Whatever you do, do not leave the kitchen. As sure as the world, as soon as you turn your back on sugar on the stove it will blacken beyond recovery.

I found these silicon candy molds at Hobby Lobby and the sucker sticks yo can buy almost anywhere. Although you can just pour the finished candy onto a sheet pan to cool and then break it into chunks, silicon really is the way to go if you can. It's flexible so the candy is easy to remove and nothing sticks to it.

When the thermometer just reaches 310 degrees F take the pot off the heat and drop in your pepper flavoring. It's going to boil up and steam but that's ok; stir it in quickly.  Carefully pour the molten sugar into your molds, this is hard to do from a heavy and hot pot so I transfer mine into a small bowl with a spout.

It will take half an hour or so for the candy to cool, so while it does save yourself a thousand headaches on clean up. Put a little water back in the sugar pot and put it on to boil. Throw in all your spoons and other utensil that are crusted with hard sugar and stir. The boiling water will melt the sugar right off.

Unmold your candies, make sure they are cooled completely and serve. I found these little cellophane bags at WalMart that work perfectly.  I am saving these for a party at work, but any time you make sugar candy there will be over pour and places where you left trails of sugar between molds. Bag up those crumbs as treats for the cook ;)

I would love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you make it! Please leave a comment or email me.


  1. Thank you foe sharing this recipe!
    I plan on making some for my wedding this saturday!

  2. Nicely done. I want to try this as I have some great Mariachi peppers to make this.

  3. I love cayenne pepper and put in on and in many things. With Christmas here we are going to make some hard candy of differemt oil flavors. But its all really an excuse for me to experiment with some cayenne pepper (powder). We plan to pour our candies out onto a cookie sheet with a combo of powdered sugar and sea salt. Since I don't have any cayenne oil I'm just going to try the powder. I'd love to hear about what your friends thought of yours. I think I might make a mild batch and a stronger one for me. Thanks for sharing your recipe. - Steve from Utah