How to make lollipops
They're as yummy as when you were a child!
Almost all children and nearly all adults love this old-fashioned candy treat. Simple ingredients combine in an almost magical way, and, while requiring a bit of patience and precision, the process of how to make lollipops is basically easy and quick.
Old-fashioned Lollipops (18-24)
This is a project for adults or older children with adult supervision.
There is general agreement on the proportions of ingredients:
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1 cup water
½ scant tsp. flavoring oil*
A few drops food-coloring**
Candy thermometer (temperature is an important consideration)
Wooden spoon and metal spoon
Small paint brush or large pastry brush
Oiled waxed paper or oiled baking parchment paper on a cookie sheet
Bread board, sturdy baking rack, or other heatproof surface
Lollipop sticks or small wooden craft sticks***
*For oil-based flavorings, check gourmet stores, craft and baking catalogs.
**Standard food colorings do fine; paste colors can be found in craft stores or craft and baking catalogs.
***Lollipop sticks are usually available in craft stores or catalogs listed above.
Candy-making is lots of fun but when using sugar heated to 290-300 degrees adult care is needed. Sugar burns are painful, and cooling lollipops take some time to cool completely even if they appear hard on the outside.
Combine sugar, corn-syrup and water. Stir to dissolve sugar, bring mixture to a boil. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the saucepan, wipe them down into the boiling mixture (wet paint or pastry brush to do this). Continue stirring gently and wiping down until mixture reaches 290-300 degrees (in old-fashioned cookbooks this is known as the "hard-crack" stage for sugar-syrup).
Remove pan from heat, add flavoring and coloring. Stir in very gently (lots of stirring will make your candy cloudy). Drop by small spoonfuls on paper-lined cookie sheet. Lay sticks on candy spoonfuls. Leave to cool completely (est. 30 minutes or more—if you get curious, hold your hand over the lollipops to check for radiant heat, rather than touching prematurely). Some bits of paper may need to be washed off, but most lollipops will come right up. Serve to happily astonished people.
Family Chocolate Lollipops (10-12)
Because ingredients are heated to a lower temperature, children old enough to help with other cooking will help enthusiastically with these. The only concern is that you may have a lower final yield, depending on your helpers.
The best sources of special molds, melting chips and lollipop sticks are the candy-making section of a large craft store or craft and specialty cooking catalogs. Clear plastic chocolate/fondant molds come in a variety of shapes and sizes; you can often find bunnies for Easter, flower shapes, and other holiday shapes. Because sizes vary, you will need to follow directions for how to make lollipops in the quantities specified by the molds you buy.
Candy-making chips come in a variety of colors and flavors. You can also purchase an equivalent quantity of white, milk, or semi-sweet chocolate, often sold in large deli-chunks or as baking chips in grocery stores. Once again, oil-based flavorings are best if you want mint or orange-enhanced lollies. Boiling sugar syrup vaporizes alcohol-based flavorings; melted chocolate can lose its shine and become grainy when alcohol-based flavorings are added.
Heat chocolate gently in a double boiler till melted, stirring as little as possible. Be careful not to let steam or water get into chocolate; it will become dull and grainy. Place small spoonfuls of melted chocolate in oiled molds or spoon onto oiled waxed or parchment paper; insert sticks and let sit until cool.
Chopped nuts, raisins or other dried fruit make good additions to chocolate lollipops; stir in just before you fill molds. Sprinkles can be added just as soon as molds are filled. Other variations will most likely be suggested—loudly and often—by your youthful cook's helpers. Enjoy, and save a few for grownups if you can.