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Ask a child of the 1970s about candies from that era and Pop Rocks will most likely be on the list. The colorful sweets fizz and crackle on your tongue because the sugar granules are gasified with carbon dioxide. Relive the fun by making your own Pop Rocks with basic baking ingredients and citric acid, a white powder extracted from fruits like pineapples, lemons and limes. Sprinkle homemade pop rocks on iced cookies, cakes, cupcakes or cake pops.

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Sprinkle the back of the baking sheet with a light coating of cornstarch. Spread the cornstarch so that it covers the sheet evenly.

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Measure the sugar, water and corn syrup and place them into a saucepan. Plan to use 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup water for every 2 cups of sugar.

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Cook the mixture on medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 300 degrees Fahrenheit and the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

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Stir baking soda and citric acid into the mixture. Use 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 cup of citric acid for every 2 cups of sugar.

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Scrape the mixture out of the saucepan and spread it evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Cover the cooling candy with a light dusting of citric acid, approximately 1 teaspoon for a mixture containing 2 cups of sugar.

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Cool the mixture completely. Remove the candy in pieces and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Seal the bag.

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Crush the candy pieces with a rolling pin or wooden mallet until they reach the desired size. Store the pop rocks in an airtight plastic container or bag.

Tip

Look for citric acid in cake decorating stores or in the canning section of large supermarkets. You may also purchase it from online retailers.

Store citric acid in a cool, dry location out of direct light.

To customize pop rocks, add a few drops of food coloring along with your favorite flavoring extract -- lemon or peppermint, for example -- when you are stirring in the baking soda and citric acid. Experiment with sugars -- such as brown sugar -- for a different flavor, texture and appearance.

Warning

Limit your intake of high-sugar treats like pop rocks. Sugar is high in calories and provides no nutritional benefits from fiber, protein, vitamins or minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises that healthy adults should not obtain more than 120 to 330 of their daily calories from nutrient-poor sources like sugar, depending on age, gender and activity level.

About the Author

Michelle Kerns

Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.