• 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch ground red pepper
  • 9 drops liquid yellow food coloring
  • 4 drops liquid red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon powered sugar

Orange Cardamom Candy:  The exotic combination of orange and cardamom give a sultry flavor to this simple to make candy.  Make no mistake though, this one is for the adults at the party.   The sweet taste of orange is followed by just enough heat to make this an addictive after dinner treat.

Years ago, I introduced my kids and their cousins to Turkish Delight, a candy which played a pivotal role in the plot of the first Chronicles of Narnia movie.  Flavored with rose and lavender, it did not go over well.  While the kids enjoyed daring each other to eat another piece, I noticed that it was the adults that kept returning to the box.  The exotic and the sweet has a strange hold on us grown-ups.

Fast forward way too many years than I care to admit and I’m at my kitchen drawing board trying to come up with something for the holidays that would have that same exotic hold on the adults.  This is where my job gets really fun.  Spread across the counter in front of me are bottles of extracts, essential fruit oils and spices from every corner of the world.  When the smell of orange and cardamom came together I knew I had the flavor.  A bit of red pepper gives it just the right amount of heat that keeps folks grabbing another piece trying to figure out what it’s all about.

This is an amazingly simple preparation but don’t attempt it without a candy thermometer.  Yes, there are other methods but none as accurate at a $4 candy thermometer.  It will be the best $4 addition you can add to your well equipped kitchen.  I used a blood-orange extract but a good quality simple orange extract will work just fine.  Remember to be careful with hot syrup.  If it gets on your skin, it sticks!


  1. Dust a non-stick baking sheet with powered sugar and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan.  Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 300 degrees – the hard crack stage.  Be patient and make sure you hit 300 degrees or you’ll end up with a sticky mess.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cardamom, orange extract, red pepper and food coloring stirring for about 1 minute to a consistent color and allowing the cardamom to release its flavor.
  4. Pour onto the dusted baking sheet and let it cool completely.  Once cooled, invert the pan over your counter-top, pop out your candy and break it into pieces for serving.