You may have fancy candy bowls in the house made out of glass or crystal. But I bet you don’t have one that is made out of peppermint candy! That’s right, for this fun Christmas science experiment, we are going to melt peppermint to make an adorable candy bowl to hold other candies in your pantry.
By adding heat to peppermint candy, we are able to make it malleable enough to bend. There are infinite possibilities of what you can do with it after the candy is shapable, but you only have less than a minute before the candy cools down enough and becomes hard.
Let’s explore what exactly is a physical change with this peppermint bowl experiment. After you successfully make one, you may want to make more as a homemade gift to give to your neighbors, grandparents, and friends for Christmas. I bet they would be surprised at this DIY holiday gift!
How to Make Peppermint Bowls
- 1 pack of peppermint candy
- Parchment paper or silicon mat
- Glass bowl
- Baking sheet
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place one unwrapped peppermint candy in the center of your cookie sheet.
3. Add 5 peppermint around the one in the center keeping them as tight as you can.
4. Add another row of peppermint around that row.
5. Continue the process until you have enough to hang over a bowl.
6. Place whatever bowl you are using in the center in order to gauge how much will hang over the sides.
7. Carefully place the cookie sheet into oven. Try not to tilt or shake the cookie sheet or else the peppermint candies may shift.
8. Set a timer for 8 mins. Depending on how hot your oven gets it can take from 8-12 mins to melt. We want the candy to melt NOT bubble.
9. Remove cookie sheet from oven. You have about one minute once it comes out of the oven to shape your bowl so you need to work fast. However, placing the melted candies on the glass bowl may cause the candies to stick to the glass, so I recommend waiting about 20-30 seconds to let the candies cool slightly.
10. Pick up the parchment paper (it will be hot) and place the melted candy on top of the upside down bowl.
11. Press to form the sides of the bowl.
12. Allow to cool 15-20 min before removing the parchment paper.
13. Remove the glass bowl by twisting it away from the peppermint candies.
How cool does this bowl look? It’s perfect to put Hersey’s Kisses and other wrapped candies in for the holiday season. Your guests will be shocked that you made this pretty peppermint bowl as part of a science experiment!
The first question in your head is probably, “will the bowl be sticky?” The answer is, it depends. Most peppermint bowls probably will not stick, but you need to be careful not handle it with wet hands. Water + candy = sticky!
If you are living in a particularly humid area of the country, it is also possible that your peppermint candy bowl gets a little sticky. In that case, try spraying it with a high gloss coat to prevent the bowl from getting sticky. Just spray a little at a time because too much will make the peppermint colors run, as we discovered in the peppermint water science experiment!
Science Behind the Peppermint Bowl
When you reshape sugar like what we did in the bending candy cane experiment, the peppermint candies go through a physical change. This means that we have changed the physical properties of the peppermint candies.
Physical properties of a substance include characteristics such as shape, color, malleability, density, volume, etc. Ice turns into water is a physical change, and the viscosity and shape of the ice changes when it turns into a liquid. Most physical changes are reversible (e.g. turning water back to ice), though some are extremely difficult to reverse.
In the case of the peppermint bowl, we added heat and changed the shape and malleability of the candies. We were able to reshape them into a dome shape. Though it won’t be perfect, we can reintroduce heat and separate the candies into individual pieces if we want to reverse this physical change.
On the other hand, there is a chemical change. In a chemical reaction, a change in the composition of the substances occurs. For example, when we make the exploding snowman by introducing vinegar to baking soda, carbon dioxide is produced. Chemical changes are irreversible – I can’t separate the vinegar and baking soda back to their original states once the chemical reaction has happened.
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