Rock candy is a weird food. I mean, there isn't really anything that good about it minus that it's pure sugar, which is always a good thing, but every time I see it I get this giddy feeling in my stomach like I'm 5 years old at a country candy store and my parents have caved for once and bought me a treat. After sucking on it for about 3 minutes you realize it doesn't really taste *that* good. But next time you see it you have to buy it all over again.
I think nostalgia probably tastes better than anything.
My kids about flipped when I made these. They taste like you'd expect, but I have to be honest; the texture bothered me. The soft cupcake combined with the rock hard candy made for a really strange combination to chew in my mouth. Things aren't ready to swallow at the same time... It's awkward. The kids were too busy crunching and licking and smacking their lips to notice or care. This is definitely kid food.
Rock Candy Cupcakes
Update: 1/17/2013- A reader wrote into let me know that she made these a night in advance with a 7-minute frosting and by morning the frosting was a runny mess. I'm not sure if that was the result of using a wetter frosting, but just to be safe, you may want to make these right before serving! When I made these I used a thin layer of canned vanilla frosting and served them right away.
-Baked vanilla cupcakes
-White frosting (or you can tint it to match your rock candy color)
-Flavored rock candy (watermelon was my favorite!) You can buy it at Michaels or Zurchers
First you need to get your rock candy off the stick. Leave it in the sealed bag and gently "crumble" the rock with your fingers, starting at the bottom where crystals are thinnest. You don't want to pulverize it because the big crystals are pretty, so be gentle. When you can't get any more off with your fingers, open the bag and empty the loose crystals into a bowl. Then take out the stick and push (fairly hard) against the big crystals to break them up. Mine all came off pretty easily.
See how the crystals aren't attached to the stick anymore?
Super hard recipe, I know.