Did I tell you I started my own business recently? True. And no, it's not making lollipops. (Although that does sound like a pretty fun-filled way to spend the work day, doesn't it?) We'll talk about my new venture a bit more in the coming weeks, but long story short, it involves me finding the most scrumptious all-natural sweets and creating lovely dessert tables for special events. And despite all the hard work, it's pretty wonderful. Here's a peek at one of the tables I designed recently:
You can see more pics of my dessert table over at Amy Atlas' Blog!
Making hard candy lollies is easier than I thought it would be. The most challenging part, for me, was ensuring that I didn't over-fill the molds. As you can see in some of these photos, I was not entirely successful.
No matter, they still look pretty. In addition to the simplicity of the recipe, once you've purchased the molds, lollipops cost only pennies to make. That, coupled with the geeky-cool food-science of sugar crafting, earns these sweet treats a secure spot in the "cheap thrills" category of homemade goodies in our house.
Adapted from LorAnn Oils hard candy recipe
For the lollipops in these photos, I used a 2 1/2" mold. However, I really think that is just too big; it's impossible to finish the lollipop! The next time, I plan to use 1 1/2" molds like these. Due to the high heat of the mixture, be sure to use molds that are specifically made for hard candy, and purchase super-concentrated natural flavoring oils that can withstand the high heat, as well. Lastly, instead of artificial food coloring, I recommend using natural colors like juice concentrates.
Use organic whenever possible.
2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
2-3 teaspoons concentrated liquid flavoring
natural food color OR concentrated fruit juice (for color)
1. Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the stove. Lightly spray cavities of clean, dry candy molds with cooking spray, or lightly brush with a neutral-flavored oil. Insert sucker sticks.
2. In a 2-quart, heavy- or copper-bottom saucepan (NOT non-stick), mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat just until sugar dissolves.
3. Insert candy thermometer, making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil without stirring.
4. Continue to cook the syrup, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 300° F (the "hard crack" stage). IMMEDIATELY remove from heat (temperature will continue to rise).
5. After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and enough color/juice to achieve the desired shade, and stir. USE CAUTION when adding flavor/color, as the mixture may steam up.
You could also try natural food color gels like these.
6. CAREFULLY pour the hot syrup into prepared molds. If you want to make the lollipops more "fancy" you can immediately sprinkle sparkling sugar or little candies onto the lollies... OR lightly press crystallized flowers or flower petals onto the back of the lollies.
7. Let harden at room temperature until completely cooled. I let them sit for 30-60 minutes just to be sure. Remove from molds.
8. Store in airtight containers between waxed paper, or in sucker bags secured with twist ties. Store hard candy in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.
Yield: 12-13 two and a half inch round lollipops, or 2 dozen one and a half inch lollipops. Recipe can be halved.
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