Add some sweetness to your holidays and make this old-fashioned Cinnamon Rock Candy. Decked out in red, this hard candy makes such a festive sweet treat that is bursting with the perfect spicy cinnamon flavor.
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I've been making these candies since I was a teen. I have both a sweet tooth and a fondness for cinnamon, so this candy is a favorite. The way it looks in a glass jar, bright red and dusted with snow-white powdered sugar, will make you love it too!
Besides being called rock candy, you may be familiar with these sweet treats being called hard candy, hardtack, broken glass candy, or maybe sugar candy. No matter what you call them they are all sweet and make a delicious homemade treat.
These pretty little candies look so festive in decorative mason jars or sitting on a buffet table for the holidays. If you manage not to eat them all, they make the perfect gifts for teachers, coworkers, the next-door neighbor, or even the dog walker. Who doesn't love a gift of candy for the holidays that just says Merry Christmas?
Can you make other flavors of rock candy?
Why yes, you can! There are endless possibilities. I recommend using LorAnn's Flavoring Oils. There are so many flavors to choose from. Make sure to change the food coloring to match the flavor.
- and more....
You only need six ingredients
- Granulated Sugar
- Light Corn Syrup
- Cinnamon Oil
- Red Food Color
- Powdered Sugar (confectioner's sugar)
What is cinnamon oil?
- Made straight from cinnamon bark this is a highly concentrated oil.
- Compared to cinnamon extract, the oil is four times stronger than the extract.
- Cinnamon extract is made by dissolving cinnamon oil in alcohol and is useful for use in baking cookies, cakes, icings, and cream desserts.
- It is better to use cinnamon oil in candy making because of the high heat that is required to make candy, the extract flavor will not hold up.
Let's make candy
Step 1. You definitely need ato get an accurate temperature to make these treats. To make the candy, you simply add water, sugar, and white corn syrup to a medium-sized saucepan and bring it to a hard crack stage which is 300 degrees F. This does take some time, but make sure you watch your thermometer constantly. This is not a good time to go put a load of laundry, so hang out in your kitchen while this sugar syrup cooks. Maybe put on some holiday music?
Pro tip #1
Make sure your candy thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan as this can throw off the correct temperature.
Step. 2 Once your sugar mixture reaches that magic boiling point, turn off the heat and add red food coloring and the cinnamon oil.
Pro tip #2
Use caution! The sugar syrup and the pans are blazing hot so use a wooden spoon or a heavy-duty spatula to stir in the last two ingredients. Make sure to put the empty pan back on the burner so it can cool. And if you have kids or pets, you might send them out of the kitchen while you're making candy.
Step 3. Pour your colored and flavored syrup onto a 13 x 9 parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread it close to the edge of the pan with a spoon. Let the candy sit for at least four hours to harden.
Step 4. Once the candy is hardened, use a sifter or a small strainer and sprinkle the top of the candy with powdered sugar, then put a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of the powdered sugar layer and flip the hard sheet of candy over. Remove the parchment paper, pull it off from the edge, and sprinkle more powdered sugar on top of the sheet of candy.
Step 5. Now for the fun part. Grab a heavy-duty spoon or the edge of a mallet and tap on the candy sheet to break it into small bite-sized pieces. My favorite part of making this candy is to see the fun shapes.
Step 6. The final step is packaging up the candies in an airtight container. But, my favorite way is to put the candies in decorative mason jars with a red ribbon. These jars look pretty sitting on a holiday table or you can seal with the lid and give them as a sweet gift.
The great thing about making this Cinnamon Rock Candy is that it leaves your kitchen smelling like....cinnamon!
Frequently asked candy questions
295 to 309 °F is the temperature that water and sugar needs to boil to to become hard candy. As this mixture boils, the water evaporates, and the sugar becomes more concentrated. If the mixture does not reach this temperature, the candies will be softer.
For the best results, use the 1:2 water/sugar ratio. For every one cup of water, you need two cups of sugar.
This is not recommended since they can create moisture. Keep your candies at room temperature, in a cool, dry location.
More cinnamon-flavored desserts and treats
- Caramel Apple Popcorn with Cinnamon - this sweet corn has bits of crispy apples throughout.
- Try the Apple Cider Baked Apples with a rich cinnamon glaze for a special dessert.
- Cinnamon Crescent Rolls are made with cottage cheese for a tender pastry.
More favorite recipes
Cinnamon Rock Candy
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- Prepare a 13" x 9" cookie sheet. Grease the pan then put a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom and then grease the top of the parchment paper. Can use cooking spray.
- In a medium-sized heavy saucepan combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once this mixture boils cover and cook for 3 minutes. Always be mindful of working with this hot mixture.
- Insert a candy thermometer into the pan and bring this mixture to 300 degrees F. This is the candy hard crack stage. This step will take around 30 minutes, but make sure you are watching the pan.Do not let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pan.
- Once the temperature is reached, turn off the heat, remove the thermometer (it will be very hot.) Add the cinnamon oil and red food coloring. Stir to combine.
- Pour the hot syrup onto the cookie sheet and spread close to the edges with a spoon. Allow the candy sheet to cool for 4 hours.
- NOTE: the saucepan will be very hot. It is best to put the pan back on the stove burner to cool off.
- Add the powdered sugar to a sifter or a small food strainer and sprinkle the candy with powdered sugar then lay a piece of parchment on top, flip over, remove the parchment paper and sprinkle with more powdered sugar.
- With a heavy spoon or a small mallet, hit the candy to break into small bite-sized pieces. Store the broken candy in an airtight container or you can keep the candy in a zip lock bag.
Alternative for sprinkling with powdered sugar
- Break up the hardened candy sheet into desired sized pieces. Place in a plastic bag, add powdered sugar and shake to coat.
Wishing you a glorious holiday filled with all things delicious.
First published: Dec. 4, 2018, last updated: Nov 16, 2022, for better readability.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.