Barley sugar is an ancient sweet originally made from hot sugar syrup and coloured with an extract of barley. In appearance it is similar to a boiled sweet and usually amber in colour. Should you feel the desire to make your own, old-style barley sugar, you will need:

Barley - 250g (9 oz), hulled
Water - 5 litres (9 pints)
Sugar - 1 kg (2¼ lb), warmed


  1. Gently cook the barley in the water for 5 hours.
  2. Strain the jelly-like liquid and return it to the pan. Add the sugar, stir over a gentle heat until dissolved.
  3. Boil the mixture until it just reaches the hard crack stage, 150°C (300°F). Pour the mixture over an oiled marble slab.
  4. As soon as the mixture begins to cool, cut it into long strips and twist them.
Nowadays, barley sugar tends to be made with saffron, sugar and water, flavoured with oil of citron, orange, or lemon.

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