Because I like transparency, you should know that this recipe was the result of a mistake. Yay serendipity!
I wanted to make crunchy granola bars like the Nature Valley ones I liked before the food allergy apocalypse hit. But I wanted to make them not so breakfast-y and more of a treat or a snack. So I found a recipe for a crunchy granola bar and decided to add cocoa powder to the sticky mixture sticking it together. The recipe called for honey, but I don’t have a safe honey or maple syrup, so I made a cane sugar syrup used that instead.
Well, I threw all the ingredients for the sticky stuff, i.e., the cane sugar syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and cinnamon, all the saucepan and began heating it. But then it didn’t want to melt. So I thought that maybe the cocoa powder was too dry and I added a bit of grape seed oil. And the mixture still looked sugary, and I began to worry that the cocoa powder would burn. It was at this point that I read the actual directions for the mixture from the recipe I was trying to modify. It said to cook the sugar and sugar syrup first and then add the vanilla and cinnamon after. Oops. So I decided that I had enough sugar syrup to do it over, but I decided to see if I could get it to melt, and as I did that, I realized that it wouldn’t be accurate if I wrote it up without the do-over and I didn’t want anyone else to risk burning chocolate. So I quickly greased a small baking sheet and dumped the mixture on it so I could start over again with the sticky stuff for the granola bars. I thought it might end up like tootsie rolls, but when I came back to it after finishing the granola bar attempt (which also didn’t really work as it didn’t set up into bars, but might make a great cereal if I had a safe non-dairy milk, sigh), it was hard as a rock. I pried it off the cookie sheet and then put it in a zip top bag in the freezer for bit and then dropped the bag on the floor a couple of times to break it up into pieces. If you were smarter than me, which you are, you’d use a metal spatula or turner to divide the candy into smaller pieces when it’s cooled a bit but is still warm and pliable. Or put them into silicone candy molds.
Chocolate Cinnamon Hard Candy
- 3/4 cup of cane sugar syrup (You will need to make it ahead of time – there are two good recipes and I’ve used both before. The one from thekitchn.com makes about a quart, and the one from justapinch.com makes about two cups.)
- 3/4 cup of brown sugar (make sure it’s safe for you)
- 4 Tablespoons of cocoa powder (make sure it’s safe for you)
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract (Here’s a bunch of recipes for vanilla extract, make sure to use safe alcohol if corn or wheat are an issue for you. I use either Vikingfjord or Luksusowa Vodka because they are made only from potatoes, where some vodkas may also use grain or corn.)
- 1/2 teaspoon of grape seed oil (or other safe oil for you)
- enough grape seed oil to grease cookie sheet
Grease small to medium cookie sheet with grape seed oil. I used a mister.
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a silicone spatula, so that you can scrape the bottom of the saucepan really well. Make sure that all ingredients get combined really well.
Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar begins melting into the cane sugar syrup. I didn’t measure the temperatures, but if you’re using a candy thermometer, you’re probably aiming for somewhere between 250°F and 300°F. Once the brown sugar is melting into the sugar syrup, pour the mixture onto your cookie sheet or into silicone candy molds.
Once it is cooler, but still somewhat pliable, use a metal spatula or turner to cut the candy into pieces and let it cool. Or resort to the zip top bag method as described above.
Enjoy! Also, it’s great with coffee.