Before we start making candy, we make a chart with all the flavors and colors we plan on using. That way we avoid duplicating colors within mixes. For example, Tutti Fruiti is pink, while cherry is red.
This year's fruit mix went like this:
Lime Lt. Green
Tutti Fruiti Pink (1 drop red)
Watermelon Dark Green
We use the Lorann Oils recipe and flavorings with a few modifications. I was watching Alton Brown the other night and as much as I love him I have to disagree with a few of his points too. Primarily I adjust the color as the candy cooks, rather than waiting until it reaches 310, and I wait until boiling ceases altogether before adding flavor:
2 c granulated sugar
2/3 c light corn syrup
3/4 c water
Remove the thermometer, then allow the candy to stop boiling. It will still be bubbly, but there will not be new bubbles when you stir when you get to the point we are looking for. At this point, add the flavoring and stir with a silicone spatula, then pour into a greased candy mold which has been placed on a cookie sheet.
Allow the candy to cool and set, then break apart. I resisted using the molds for years because I like my old fashioned hard candy to look rustic, and I broke it apart by hand and this is certainly possible. But a couple of years ago my friend Heather tried the molds and loved them, so it has been in the back of my mind. This year I ordered my flavorings directly from Lorann, and they were selling the molds too so I decided to give it a go. My review is that they are awesome and cut the process time in half, We didn't end up with little cuts all over our fingers like we do when we break the candy by hand. We were able to make 8 batches of candy in about 2 1/2 hours, where before 4 or 5 were all we could manage in an entire day.
After you break the candy apart, put it in a bowl and dust with powdered sugar. Then place in a strainer and shake to remove the excess powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container. It should last about 8 months, or until the humidity gets to high in your climate.
All in all, I wish I could say that the satisfaction I get from making this stuff is somehow related to my love of science. There are certainly lots of interesting chemical and physical changes going on in those sugar molecules. But really I think it's a more primal love of the shiny glassy colors that gets me. I may have been a glass blower in a former life, or maybe a crow or a magpie.