These candied grapes are a delightful treat for any special (or not) occasion. After being coated in candy syrup, these grapes get coated again with crushed Jolly Ranchers. For a cool refreshing snack, freezing the coated candied grapes afterward is a nice finishing touch.
The whole process takes under 30 minutes, and it is quite simple!
It is highly recommended to use a candy thermometer in order to reach hard crack (300-305°F) without burning. Otherwise, you could do the water test to see if the sugar has reached the right temperature range but it is not as reliable as reading a thermometer.
Be careful with these crack grapes! They are highly addicting (as the name entails) as it is incredibly difficult to eat only one.
What are Crack Grapes?
Crack grapes are candied grapes that are brittle enough to have a crunch, but not wreck your teeth when you bite them.
They are commonly coated with typically “crunchy” hard candy such as Jolly Ranchers, Pop Rocks, or Nerds. These sweet and addicting grapes get their name from the way they burst into your mouth.
The grapes are dipped in a hot (around 300°F) sugar syrup and then coated with crushed bits of candy. Once dried, set, and hardened, cool the crack grapes in the refrigerator before serving for a refreshing bite.
- Fresh grapes (preferably green)
- Jolly Ranchers
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cups water
- Food coloring (optional)
Method – How to Make Crack Grapes
1. Grapes Preparation. Rinse and fully dry the grapes with paper towels. Try to get rid of all the excess moisture as water can ruin the candy coating.
Insert skewers/toothpicks into the end of the grape. Skewers are preferred as these will be dipped into a hot candy syrup.
2. Crack Preparation. Using a blender or food processor, break down Jolly Ranchers to a sandy gravel consistency. I wouldn’t blend into a fine dust; try to have varying sizes of bits.
3. Candy Coat Prep. In a saucepan/pot, dissolve the water, corn syrup, and sugar mixture over medium heat. Then bring the mixture to 300°F. This should take about 4-6 minutes.
Make sure to use a calibrated candy thermometer that reads past 300°F. The hard crack stage in sugar work is around 300-305°F. This is what gets the coating to harden after the process is finished.
If the thermometer is not calibrated correctly, you risk going too hot and caramelizing (or worse, burning) the sugar. Or just as bad, not hot enough, which results in a sticky coating that doesn’t harden.
After the sugar mixture cools to under 250, add your desired food colorings.
Have parchment paper or a silicone baking mat ready to set the grapes aside once coated.
When coating, try to keep the coat as thin while covering the entire grape. Too thick of a coat will turn your crack grapes into crunch grapes. Be careful of the piping hot syrup and drip off excess candy syrup.
Once the grape has a full candy coat, coat the grape with crushed Jolly Ranchers (or other crushed hard candy) by turning it.
Once coated, you can leave the grapes on the skewer or remove them. Try to store them without the grapes touching one another.
4. Finishing Touch. After the candy coating has cooled and set (about 30 min), they are ready to serve! Though it is often requested that the candied grapes are chilled.
These stay fresh for up to 6 hours before it degrades in quality. Besides, they taste best when eaten fresh.
How to Store Crack Grapes
The best quality comes from making the grapes as needed. I try not to make more than needed, but sometimes they are a hot seller!
Store in an airtight container at either room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you want to store them in the freezer, they have to be eaten soon after thawed. I find the coating becomes weird and watery long after the crack grapes have thawed.
- Experiment with a coating of Nerds or Pop Rocks for different flavors of crack.
- Separate Jolly Ranchers by color with separate flavors.
- The grapes are at their best when consumed within hours of making them.
- Use a sour pucker powder coating