With the holidays right around the corner, stores are overflowing with all sorts of candy, from chocolate and licorice to candy canes and gumdrops. After wandering around all of their displays, I decided to make my own. Really, how hard could it be?
Hard. Really hard. Well okay, it’s not that hard if you have a good thermometer, one that goes all the way past 300°. It just takes a quick hand, a little flavoring, and lots of lollipop sticks.
I didn’t quite realize until after I started that my kitchen thermometer only went up to 220°. Big problem!! While my sugar boiled, I turned to the internet to find another way to test for when the sugar mixture was at the hard-crack stage, and one recipe wrote that it was when a little bit of the mixture was dropped into ice water and formed hard (but not brittle) strands. I got too excited and jumped the gun, pulling my sugar off before it fully reached the hard-crack stage, which created even bigger problems later… My lollipops stuck to the wax paper!
So my advice is to make absolutely, positively sure that your sugar heats all the way to 300-310°. Be patient! It may take a lot longer than you expect. Also, set up two or three times as many lollipop sticks as you think you need. I set up 24, but when I realized I had enough sugar for at least 50 suckers, I just poured the rest onto a big pizza pan. (That lollipop is as big as my face!) And lastly, even though it’s tempting, do not test the candy before it completely cools. It sticks to your teeth. But it tastes really good!
based on Christmas Lollipops Recipe
makes 4-5 dozen
Feel free to substitute other flavors or food coloring, but do not try to split a batch in two. It’ll get really messy, so make the second batch in a clean pot. Also, to make the lollipops really red, use closer to 15 or 20 drops of red food coloring. Lower amounts will yield pink lollipops.
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
⅔ c. light corn syrup
½ tsp peppermint extract
5-10 drops red food coloring
50-60 lollipop sticks
- Place wax paper on cookie sheets, and arrange lollipop sticks on the wax paper, leaving at least 2” or 3” in between each. If larger lollipops are desired, use fewer sticks, and place them even farther apart. (Upside down cake pans can be substituted for the cookie sheets. Be creative!)
- Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Continue to heat until the sugar reaches the hard-crack stage, 300-310°.
- Add the peppermint and food coloring, stirring until the sugar is uniform in color.
- Using a spoon, pour 1-2 tbsp of sugar over the top of each lollipop stick. Work quickly because the sugar will cool rapidly! Let lollipops cool before removing from wax paper, at least 10-15 minutes.
- To clean the pot, soak it in water. The water will dissolve the sugar and make cleaning up much easier!