5 Homemade Candies With 5 Ingredients or Fewer

Making candy is kind of a lost art. Dealing with screaming hot sugar, giant kettles, and finicky techniques just isn’t that appealing. While buying candy is easy enough, artisan products cost a small fortune, and run-of-the-mill selections at the supermarket leave a lot to be desired. Thankfully, these 5 recipes show you how to make some killer sweets that are also super easy. With a little patience and a handful of basic ingredients, these homemade candies will reward you with sweet success.

1. Easy 4-Ingredient Soft Caramels

homemade candies

Caramels | Thinkstock

Traditional soft caramels are so delicious but such a pain to make. You have to stir a huge pot for what seems like an eternity while constantly watching a candy thermometer. This easy recipe from Creme de la Crumb offer up the same taste for a fraction of the work. Just stir a mixture of butter, corn syrup, sugar, and condensed milk in a pot. Let the mixture boil, then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, and pour it into a baking dish. A sprinkle of sea salt ups the ingredient list to 5, but the flavor is well worth the extra 2 seconds.

Ingredients:

Caramels

  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Optional

  • Coarse sea salt

Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine butter and sugar over medium heat, and stir until melted. Add the corn syrup and condensed milk. Bring mixture to a boil, decrease heat and simmer 7 to 10 minutes, until mixture is deeply golden, stirring constantly.

Pour caramel into a foil-lined 8-inch square pan and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Once cool, cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper.

2. 5-Ingredient Fudge

fudge

Fudge | iStock.com

Fudge is a treat that got left behind a few decades ago, and it’s no wonder. One mistake can leave your candy runny, hard as a rock, or as gritty as a mouthful of sand. As fun as science projects can be, making this treat shouldn’t be more complicated than your high school chemistry labs. Take the guesswork out of fudge with this simple recipe from Taste of Home. It skips the sugar, ensuring you get a creamy result every time. When you cut this candy into squares, you’ll amaze your mom with your perfect, velvety creations.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (11.5-ounce) package milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Line a 9-inch square pan with foil; grease with 1½ teaspoons butter.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and remaining butter, stirring after 1 minutes, and every 30 seconds after until melted and smooth. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. Spread into prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.

Lift fudge out of pan using foil. Remove foil and cut fudge into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

3. White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Clusters

White chocolate

White chocolate | iStock.com

Like a fluffernutter gone wild, these sweet and salty clusters from Averie Cooks will satisfy any candy lover’s sweet tooth. Simply melt white chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave, then add the cereal, peanuts, and marshmallows. After a quick stir, dollop the mixture onto parchment paper and let them set. For those who simply can’t wait, a trip to the freezer will have you in candy heaven in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Heaping ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup rice cereal, plus more
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions: Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper; set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave on high 1 minute, then stir. Heat in 15-second bursts, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

Stir in cereal, peanuts, and marshmallows to coat. Add a bit more cereal, if necessary. Using a spoon, drop mounds onto prepared sheets. Allow candies to firm 2 hours at room temperature. Alternatively, speed up process by placing candies in refrigerator or freezer until firm.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks.

4. 3-Ingredient Coconut Ice Candy

coconut

Coconut | iStock.com

Nobody just likes coconut. People either hate the stuff, or go completely bonkers for it. For those who can’t get enough, these easy treats from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice might be the best dessert out there. And it’s also one of the simplest to make. Just be sure to purchase unsweetened coconut for this treat, otherwise you’ll end up with a complete sugar bomb. If you feel like getting extra fancy, this recipe includes steps to dye half of the candy pink. It makes these treats extra cute for parties.

Ingredients:

Candy

  • 4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1⅓ cups powdered sugar

Optional

  • Red food coloring

Directions: Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix coconut, condensed milk, and powdered sugar.

Working quickly, scoop half of mixture into baking pan and firmly press with wet fingers. Add a few drops of food coloring to remaining coconut and work into the mixture. Pile on top of first layer and pack into place with wet fingers.

Cover and let set at least 4 hours. Remove candy using parchment overhang. Slice into squares. Serve. Best eaten within 3 days.

5. Fruit Jellies

fruit jellies

Fruit jellies | iStock.com

If making fruity candies at home seems like it would be a total nightmare, give this easy recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food a shot. With just 4 ingredients, it’s about as simple as it gets. Even better, it works for nearly any flavor fruit you can imagine.

Bloom the gelatin in a bit of liquid, then bring a mixture of juice and sugar to a boil. Whisk in some fruit preserves and cook until it starts to get thick. Mix in the gelatin, then strain into a baking dish, and let it firm up in the fridge. A final roll is some sugar makes them look even more impressive. But hold off on that final step until just before serving, otherwise the sugar will dissolve into a sticky mess.

Ingredients:

  • 1⅓ cups fruit juice, any flavor
  • 4 (¼-ounce) packets powdered gelatin
  • 2½ cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups fruit preserves or jam

Directions: Pour ⅔ cup juice into a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine remaining ⅔ cup juice and 1½ cups sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add preserves and whisk to combine. Return to a boil, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add gelatin mixture and whisk to dissolve gelatin fully. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into an 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.

Place remaining 1 cup sugar in a shallow dish. Cut candies into 1-inch squares. Toss in sugar to coat. Serve.