To Make Barley-Sugar. – To every pound of sugar allow one-half pint of water, one-half the white of an egg. Put the sugar into a well-tinned saucepan, with the water, and when the former is dissolved, set it over a moderate fire, adding the well-beaten egg before the mixture gets warm, and stir it well together. When it boils, remove the scum as it rises, and keep it boiling until no more appears, and the syrup looks perfectly clear; then strain it through a fine sieve or muslin bag, and put it back into the saucepan. Boil it again like caramel, until it is brittle when a little is dropped in a basin of cold water; it is then sufficiently boiled. Add a little lemon juice and a few drops of the essence of lemon, and let it stand for a minute or two. Have ready a marble slab or a large dish rubbed over with salad oil, pour the sugar on it, and cut it into strips with a pair of scissors; these strips should then be twisted, and the barley-sugar stored away in a very dry place. It may be formed into lozenges or doprs, by dropping the sugar in a very small quantity at a time onto the oiled slab or dish.
To Make Everton Toffee. – One pound of powdered loaf-sugar, one teacupful of water, one-quarter pound of butter, six drops of essence of lemon. Put the water and sugar into a brass pan, and beat the butter to a cream. When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter, and keep stirring the mixture over the fire until it sets when a little is poured onto a buttered dish; and just before the toffee is done add the essence of lemon. Butter a dish or tin, pour on it the mixture, and when cool it will easily separate from the dish. Butterscotch, an excellent thing for coughs, is made with brown, instead of white sugar, omitting the water, and flavored with one-half ounce of ginger. It is made in the same manner as toffee.
Molasses Candy. – One cup of molasses, two cups of sugar, one tablespoon vinegar, a little butter and vanilla; boil ten minutes, then cool it enough to pull.
From What Shall I Eat? The Housewife's Manual, by Miss E. Neill, 1892. It's not surprising that candy was such a rare treat, given the effort required to make it.
(Image from The Confectionery).