Kids love making salt and sugar trees. Truth be told, most adults get a kick out of it too. If you tend to have a sweet tooth, then you'll love this tree made from sugar crystals. You can display it as part of your Christmas decor, or you can indulge by eating it. Once you get the hang of it, you may find yourself making these sugar crystal trees, i.e., rock candy, as gifts.
Mix your water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from the heat.
Add your coloring and flavor. Stir in your food coloring first until you have reached the desired tint for your sugar crystals. Pour a few drops of peppermint (or other flavor of your choice) into the mixture. Set the saucepan in the refrigerator so the contents can cool to 50 degrees. Be sure to put the saucepan on a potholder when you place it in the refrigerator.
Prepare your tree while the mixture is cooling. Tie three strings together at the top of a ruler or pencil. Fan the strings out by tying the middle string to the center of a popsicle stick. Tie the outer strings to the edges of the stick. This will create a Christmas tree shape for your crystals. Make sure to cut the strings shorter than your Mason jar so that the base doesn't touch the bottom or sides.
Soak the string and popsicle stick in the syrup, then allow it to dry. This will create a base for the crystals to adhere to later. Pour the cooled mixture into the Mason jar and hang the "tree" in it.
Set the jar aside where it won't be disturbed. Cover it with a small, dry dishcloth to keep out dust. Allow it to sit for about a week. Check on your crystals and remove the candy from the jar when you are satisfied with the formation.