August 12, 2010

Dark Side of the Home: Gothic Rock Candy

This is a new style of post for me, as Dark Side of the Net has always been about linking to online resources, not producing original content. I'm a little shy about posting it here, especially since my blog photography skills are not up to snuff, so please go easy on me :)

The other night I threw a small dinner party. As part of the festivities, I decided to try to delight my guests with gothic rock candy. I didn't want to just buy colored rock candy on a stick and serve it, I wanted to make my own in a more goth style. Shown above is my glittery, iridescent purple candy. You could also make black, blood red, forest green, or a deep purple - all the goth jewel tones - using this technique and readily available, inexpensive food decorating supplies.

Not wanting to make the rock candy myself, I picked up an inexpensive $1.39 bag of rock candy at Uwajimaya. I was pretty excited to see the bag of rock crystals, actually, since I've never found one at a regular grocery store like Safeway.

Here are the supplies you will need:

  • A porcelain cup, mug, or small bowl to mix the color in - the food dye washes right off in the dishwasher that way.

  • A toothpick for gently mixing the color onto the rock crystals

  • Gel food coloring - I used Wilton's "Violet"

  • Teal luster dust

  • A few drops of vodka (I actually had to run to the store because erm, someone at my house drank up all the vodka! Whoever could it have been?)

  • A Ziplock bag

  • Clothes you don't care about, in case you spill on yourself. I didn't bother using gloves and my fingertips got stained but it washed off gradually as I went about my housework tasks that day.

  • A porcelain plate (so it won't stain) to dry the crystals on

Open the lids of your gel food coloring and your luster dust before you start working. They'll be a lot harder to open once you have wet or stained hands. I found the luster dust to be a bitch to open, and was careful to not let it pop open suddenly and shake dust all over my counter. While we're talking about luster dust, let me mention that it's nontoxic and technically edible, but you wouldn't want to use it as an ingredient and probably wouldn't want to eat large amounts of it. It usually is just painted onto fondant, chocolates or cakes using a tiny bit of vodka and a tiny bit of the dust.

Stick the toothpick into your gel food coloring to get a small amount. Swipe it on the rock crystals you've placed in your little bowl. Shake them around a bit and agitate them with the toothpick. Get a couple more toothpickfuls of color - it really doesn't take much.

Next, pour the crystals into your Ziplock bag, and tap in just two or three infinitely small taps of luster dust.

Now, add just two or three small drops of vodka. You really, and I repeat, really don't want too much liquid in here. It will make the gel coloring all slimy and it will take forever to dry. The purpose of the vodka is to help adhere the luster dust to the gel coloring on top of the rock crystals, then evaporate and take excess moisture with it. You're hoping that when people touch the candy in order to eat it, the color and luster dust won't rub off on their fingers too much. (Their teeth and tongue, however, probably will be dyed by the food coloring after eating the candy. Can't really help that).

Firmly zip the Ziplock bag and shake it around for a minute or so. Not too vigorously, as you don't want the crystals to smash into each other and break up the candy. You're just making sure that the color and dust are distributed evenly.

Pour the candy onto a porcelain plate, and toss the stained Ziplock bag away before it hurts someone. If you've added the right amount of luster dust (not too much) there shouldn't be any loose dust falling onto the plate. There also shouldn't be too much gooey liquid hitting the plate, if you restrained yourself when adding a few drops of vodka.

Now you just have to wait for the candy to dry. I prepared the candy a day before my party, so it had almost 20 hours to dry. I left the plate on my kitchen counter and every couple hours when I happened to think of it, I turned the candies over so every surface area had a chance to be exposed to the air and dry.

I knew the candies were ready to serve when I could touch them with a slightly moist finger and not have the color come off onto my fingertip immediately.

Pour the candies into goblets, candy dishes, or espresso cups. (I used the mini martini glass from Crate and Barrel). I giggled when a guest saw these and asked if I was beading jewelry. I said "Yes, I'm making a necklace," then immediately popped two or three candies into my mouth and crunched noisily. He was shocked!

I'm tempted to make batches of these to give away as Christmas gifts. I might gift them in these Nashville Wraps candy boxes because the gorgeous colors of the candies show through the clear lid.

Next time I'm tempted to try red gel coloring with crimson luster dust to make shimmering blood red jewels.

--Carrie Carolin

Dark Side of the Net


  1. The rock candy you made looks great, I'll have to try to make it sometime.

  2. You know, you can also get something along those lines, with the color that's all the way through. I know your not fancy to the candy on a stick version, but if you do it right, you can get the candy off of the stick, and you have natural looking 'jewel' formations. You just use two sticks instead of one, and 'sprinkle' the luster dust on afterward. I did it during a Halloween, made "Natural" looking ruby candy. It was definitely a hit for my party guests.

    Yea, it takes a few more days than this recipe, but it's great for when your "Planning" on going to a party, several weeks ahead.

  3. This looks amazingly fun. Those boxes look beautiful, but I'm kind of partial to using the coffin boxes from Pushin' Daisies. ^-^