Hard candy is awesome. It is especially awesome when you make it from scratch and everyone is impressed.
I used the recipe here as a starting point.
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/3 c. water
2 t. flavored extract (have used: almond, mint, cinnamon, lemon)
powdered sugar for dusting & storage
Put your candy thermometer in a pot along with the first 3 ingredients. Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil, stirring regularly. Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring. While the sugar mixture is heating, grease a metal cookie sheet or cake pan (9x13) with a little bit of butter. Bring the mixture to a hard crack (300-310*F). Add the extract, stirring briskly. Add the food coloring, stirring briskly. Pour into the prepared pan. In about 5 minutes, score with a pizza cutter. Wait until the candy is fully cooled and then break (twisting the pan like an ice cube tray helps). Combine with a little powdered sugar to keep it from sticking. Eat/store/give!
Okay... now for some sugar science. Hard crack temp can vary based on the humidity, so... prep a tumbler (squatty glass) with cold water. When things get close to 300*, drop a little bit of the sugar into the cold water. Take the sugar out and crunch it to see if it is crunchy. If it sticks to your teeth, it is not ready yet.