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|Cookbook:Rock candy Rock candy|
Rock candy (also called rock sugar) is a type of confectionery mineral composed of relatively large sugar crystals. This candy is formed by allowing a supersaturated solution of sugar and water to crystallize onto a surface suitable for crystal nucleation, such as a string, stick, or plain granulated sugar. Heating the water before adding the sugar allows more sugar to dissolve thus producing larger crystals. Crystals form after 6–7 days. Food coloring may be added to the mixture to produce colored candy.
Candied sugar has its origins in Iran. Arabic writers in the first half of the 9th century described the production of candy sugar, where crystals were grown as a result of cooling supersaturated sugar solutions. In order to accelerate crystallization, confectioners later learned to immerse small twigs in the solution for the crystals to grow on. The sugar solution was colored with cochineal and indigo and scented with ambergris or flower essence.
The name comes from the medieval era, and in turn lends its name to a British candy called rock.
In China, it is used to sweeten Chrysanthemum tea as well as Cantonese dessert soups and the liquor baijiu. In fact, in some provinces of China, rock sugar or "bing tang" (ice candy) is used in many dishes including meat, fish, chicken and vegetables as well as some fruits. In China it is used as a part of traditional Chinese medicine. It is also viewed traditionally as having medical properties and is prepared in food as yao shan or literally medicine food. In less modern times, rock sugar was affordable to only the rich.
In the Friesland province of the Netherlands, bits of rock candy are baked in the luxury white bread Fryske Sûkerbôle.In Mexico it is used for Day of the Dead. The children use rock candy to create sugar skulls. In the United States, it is generally unflavored and is considered an old-fashioned candy.
- Richardson, Tim. (2002) Sweets: A History of Candy. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1582342290 p. 90
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- Exploratorium.edu Recipe for rock candy as an educational exercise in crystal and candy making.