Musk sticks candy is a sweet-smelling confection that will have your taste buds wanting more—not to mention your kids, who will soon be all over you screaming for more of that musk stick. In fact, the only thing you won’t love about this candy is the mess you’ll be left with once the sugar rush wears off.

Musk candies are one of the Australian favorite candies, meaning everyone in the country absolutely loves them. You won’t meet a child in Australia who hasn’t tried them, and for the older folks, musk flavored candy sticks bring back the best memories of their childhood. Across the ocean, the people of New Zealand also cherish this candy.

Musk sticks are predominantly pink in color unless you add some coloring. These pink candy sticks have musk as their major flavor, and yes, they smell so fabulous that you might not even want to eat them, but I can promise you that they do in fact taste as delicious as they smell.

While Australians and non-Australians alike are going nuts over these pink candy sticks, there exist some people who are absolutely against the idea of eating musk flavored sticks. Why? Well, some people argue that the strong musk scent reminds them too much of perfume. But before you conclude that these candies aren’t worth eating because of the strength of their essence, I encourage you to try out a batch.

What is a Musk Stick?

A musk stick is a musk flavored stick that’s made with musk essence, icing sugar, gelatin, and coloring. It’s very easy to make so there’s no need for worrying about getting the recipe just right. Musk flavored sticks are small pink sticks with rounded tips that can be cut into different shapes when sliced, for instance, a star shape if a star-shaped nozzle is used. The star-cut ends happen to be the preferred look for these candies, in fact. Want a different shape? That’s no problem – you can get a different nozzle shape—there’s great fun in variety.

These candies can also be called musk lollies or musk sweets. Within the musk family of confection products, you’ll also find musk pencils, mini musks, and musk lifesavers. The musk pencils are just a tinier, modified version of musk candies. Mini musks, on the other hand, are shorter and more cylindrical confections that can serve as decorations for cakes.

Musk Candy

Musk candy is a musk flavored candy that has a strong, sweet-smelling fragrance (take a whiff – does it remind you of perfume?). This candy is an Australian kid’s favorite treat and it would be quite a surprise to find a birthday party without some. Though some people have described them as tasting like soap or smelling like an old woman, musk candies still rock the candy-world for true candy-people, especially kids.

These pink candy sticks can also stand on your cake as decorations. Just make sure you cut them into smaller lengths.

Musk sticks ingredients list

To make this semi-soft candy, all you need to do is provide yourself with the ingredients below:

  • 500 grams of icing sugar
  • 50 grams of liquid glucose (glucose syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon of musk essence
  • 3 sheets of gelatin or two teaspoons of gelatin
  • 1 beetroot.

What to Know Before Making Musk Flavored Sticks

Now that you have your ingredients, what exactly are you going to do with them? If you don’t have all the ingredients listed, this section also provides you with excellent alternatives that will still produce a perfect batch of musk candies.

First off, your icing sugar should be well sifted. Let me tell you why: if you use icing sugar without sifting it, you will end up having a grainy and sandy mixture as opposed to a smooth one. I recommend you have at least an extra 150 grams of icing sugar to add, just in case your mixture is not thick enough. That way, all you have to do is scoop from your extra icing sugar and you’ll reach your desired thickness.

Your musk essence serves as the dominant flavor. If you find yourself appalled by this heavy scent, you might want to consider reducing the quantity of musk essence by only a little bit. If you reduce the amount too much, your musk sticks might end up being something else. After all, what are musk flavored candies without the musk essence? Erm, definitely not musk sticks.

And don’t be tempted to add extra, either! Moderation is the key.

For extra flavor, you can add a few drops of vanilla flavor. You’ll surely enjoy the extra pop of taste this will bring to your Australian musk candy.

If you have trouble finding liquid glucose, you can use powder glucose instead. Both of these will render good musk sticks, but liquid glucose, you will get crispy delicious musk sticks once they are well dried. Powder glucose yields softer musk candies.

Don’t be scared off by the beetroot—it’s just for coloring. If you intend to make pink candy sticks, the color is as important as every other ingredient. I prefer natural coloring, which is why I use beetroot to bring out the pink color (musk sticks are naturally light pink). If you’re open to artificial coloring, you can use a few drops of pink food coloring, or you can decide to get really creative with the colors!

Purple, green, and blue look awesome if you decide a little experimentation wouldn’t hurt. The kids might love these musk flavored candies even more in their favorite colors.

After preparing your ingredients, you should check your kitchen for the following accessories that will be useful in your quest to make musk flavored sticks:

  • a piping bag
  • a nozzle, preferably a 1cm star-shaped nozzle
  • a spatula, for removing the dried musk sticks from the baking paper
  • baking paper, for lining on a smooth surface like a baking tray

Musk Sticks Recipe

This recipe is quite easy to follow and it takes only about 30 minutes to an hour to make, depending on how many batches you want. Without further ado, here’s the recipe for these amazing, sweet-smelling, soft, chewy delicious musk sticks:

  1. Put the three sheets of gelatin in a bowl, pouring in cold water. This will make them soft.
  2. Peel your beetroot, then grate it. Pour your grated beetroot into another bowl and add hot water to the grated beetroot.
  3. Wait for about 30 seconds before sieving the colored liquid into a saucepan or a bowl you can use. Sieve about 60 ml of the colored liquid. A measuring cup will aid for accurate measurement. The amount of liquid used is important because using too much will make your mixture too watery.
  4. Add your musk essence to the colored liquid.
  5. Add in the liquid glucose.
  6. Go back to your gelatin, which should be soft by now. Squeeze the gelatine clumps out of the water and add the gelatin to your mixture.
  7. Transfer the mixture in your saucepan into a bowl. Add one-third of your sifted icing sugar and whisk together for three minutes.

You can use a mixer to quicken the process and make sure that your mixture is combined perfectly.

  1. Add one-third of the sifted icing sugar to the mixture again and whisk together for another three minutes. Do this one more time with the last portion of sugar until the desired thickness level is obtained. Again, use a mixer if you have one.
  2. After that, scoop a bit of the mixture into a piping bag and start piping your stick shapes onto the baking paper. Your sticks can be as long as you want them to be or shorter than usual if you so desire, but about 4in (10cm) is my recommended length.
  3. Leave them to dry overnight in a cool, dark place. They should be ready in the morning. If they are not dry by daybreak, it may be because of the weather. The temperature and humidity can influence how fast your Australian musk candy will dry and be ready to munch. More humid weather delays the drying process, that’s all the more reason to keep them in a cool dry place.

Ten steps? It’s a lot easier than it sounds, I promise. So, there you have it—your recipe for musk flavored sticks.

More on Musk and Musk Sticks

The musk flavor (or essence) was originally obtained from the musk deer. The musk deer secretes this sweet-smelling substance we know today by the same name. Musk essence is not limited to the musk deer alone, as some plants were also capable of secreting musk or musk-like scents.

However, the musk essence we now use is almost exclusively synthetic and the musk still smells great. Musk is also used in the making of perfumes and this is probably the reason why some persons don’t enjoy eating these pink candy sticks.

If you made way too many musk flavored sticks and your stomach just can’t take any more but you can’t bear to throw them away, then don’t! They can serve other purposes and this will make you love them more:

  • Musk sticks can be dissolved in vodka. This is a bit strange but there is no harm in adding it to vodka. All you need to do is add a few musk flavored sticks to the vodka, depending on the quantity of alcohol you have. Afterward, you leave this for a few days for the sticks to dissolve into the vodka. Then just shake well and drink up!
  • The pink candy sticks can also make your cake more attractive. You can even make a musk stick mushroom, which is just a musk stick on a cupcake.
  • There is even a musk potpourri! Musk potpourri is a mix of tiny pieces of musk pencils (or musk sticks), mini musks, smarties, black bean jelly, and jelly bellies.
  • With their strong but pleasant odor, you can use these candies as a fragrance for your desk or the worktop of your kitchen. While working or cooking, you get to inhale this calming smell and your activity goes on pleasantly. Weird, but definitely worth it.

The only reason you not to try out these pink candy sticks would be because you are a vegetarian. Unfortunately, these Australian candy sticks have gelatine which isn’t a great option for a vegetarian, but if you’ve found a replacement for gelatine that can get the right texture, by all means, try it out. Otherwise, you can always do your non-vegetarian friends a huge favor by making a batch for them in the spirit of friendship (and for the love of candy).

These Australian pink candies are one treat that you should absolutely try. They don’t just smell good, they also taste great. And considering the fact that these musk flavored sticks are not easy to get in some places, your best bet seems to be homemade musk sticks with the recipe above. With attention to detail and passion, you are going to make a delicious batch of musk flavored sticks.

Off you go now—those musk sticks aren’t going to make themselves, and you deserve a smell-good snack today!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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