Rock Sugar is just Sugar


weißer Kandiszucker

White Rock Sugar, Source: Wikipedia

My mother occasionally buys a packet of white rock sugar. I have never known where it goes but it disappears somewhere. No idea where it goes given that there isn’t a lot of sweet things being made from the kitchen. Another thing that I have never known is what rock sugar is. They are about the size of small pebbles and they are sort of transparent.

Today I investigated for the the first time to discover that rock sugar is sugar. It is made up of large sugar crystals made from a supersaturated solution of sugar and water that have recrystallised on a surface for the crystals to grow. This could be a string or a stick.

To create a supersaturated solution, water is heated to allow more sugar to dissolve than at room temperature. This then allows large crystals of sugar to form as the solution cools and evaporated. The crystals take around a week to form.

In my research, I’ve discovered that in the USA there is something called rock candy which is made in the same way. It is flavoured, coloured and appears to be sold widely, (someone correct me if I’m wrong). I am going to to start looking for rock candy in the imported lollies section at my local lolly store. I’m curious about its texture and the flavours it comes in. I have also found a video demonstration of how to make it just in case I can’t find any for sale.

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16 Comments

Filed under chemistry365, Science

16 responses to “Rock Sugar is just Sugar

  1. michelle tourigny

    I love rock candy. As I remember it wasn’t made commercially. Only at small candy shops. so pretty on sticks. I’ve always wanted to try to make it at home, but the recipe always required alum. Could you explain why?

    michelle (drstip)

    • To be honest, I have no idea why. I know it’s sometimes used in pickling to keep the fruit crisp. My addled brain is bringing up anything useful at the moment.

      Does unflavoured rock candy taste any different to sugar?

  2. I’m sure I’ve seen those sorts of sugar sticks for sale as coffee-stirring utensils. Maybe in Churros, of cafe cafe in Subi? Could also try specialist kitchen/food stores, like epicurious.

  3. Teavana, a US chain that sells specialty teas also sells an unprocessed german rock sugar that isn’t white. Its pretty tasty in their teas. http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/rock-sugar-honey/p/german-rock-sugar-1-lb

    • I’m a tea drinker and I’m incredibly intrigued now. I’ll keep a look out for something similar over my way. There are now enough tea specialty shops for someone to sell something like this. I’m beginning to imagine perfectly sweetened iced teas now.

      • Jennifer

        I have had this at Extraordinary Desserts in Hillcrest in San Diego. Delicious in coffee! Don’t know if it’s the same brand, though.

      • liz

        my question in regard to teavana’s german rock sugar is, what is it made from? my guess is sugar beets as they are a large producer & it certainly seems unlikely that they growing sugar cane there… any thoughts?

        • I’m unfamiliar with Teavana’s brand of rock sugar. Is there a list of ingredients on the packet? The Teavana I know of is an American brand of tea and tea accessories.

          • Teavana’s rock sugar is 100% cane sugar from Germany. I make it myself for my cafe – Tea Tree Creperie in Jamaica where cane sugar comes from :))

  4. Jennifer

    Rock candy is mostly sold at specialty candy shops, so it’s widely available in areas with such places. It’s tied to a lot of memories for me, since it was usually given as a special treat when we were out at a major tourist area (Disneyland being the main place). I haven’t seen it at a regular supermarket. Thanks for writing about this!

    • That’s another reason to go to Disneyland! From what everyone has told me, it does appear to be a specialty item found in good candy shops.

  5. There are “rock candy” shops in Australia that make it in front of you – they are called Roc – I think. There is one in one of the arcades between Hay and Murray sts in Perth. And one in the Block arcade in Melbourne – so bound to be others elsewhere.

  6. rich

    I think it depends on the actual source of the sugar. Obviously, white rock sugar seems like it is just processed sugar put into a glass of water, etc. I think there hasn’t been enough scientific background on which sugars are the best or worst. But I have heard that the stuff that they sell at Teavana is fine for diabetics, which makes me believe that theirs is a more healthy form of sweetener. I have heard that one of the best in terms of antioxidant for cancer prevention is organic Maple Syrup.

  7. Lori M.

    Rock candy is what I would call a novelty candy. It is not readily accessible here in the states. Some people use them as stirrers for tea.

  8. IThank you for the information regarding rock sugar as I found a red bean mochi recipe that uses this type of sugar.

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