Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hard Candy Lollipops Are Easy!

Hearts, flowers and dinosaurs! Crystal clear hard candy lollipops, shiny red and loaded with sweet cherry flavor! Sound good? They are!  Today's project shows you how easy it is to make your own hard candy lollipops. Lorann Oils is my favorite resource for all the lollipop supplies you'll need, and they even have an inexpensive kit to get you off to a good start.

Here's what you'll need to make your own hard candy lollipops:
  • Candy molds tempered for high heat.
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Candy thermometer
  • Flavoring, 1 dram
  • Sugar, 2 cups
  • Light corn syrup, 2/3 cups
  • Water, 1/3 cup
  • Liquid food coloring (optional)
Now that you have your supplies together, grab a large saucepan and in it you can mix together the sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring.

When the syrup temperature reaches 260 degrees F, you can add color. Do not stir! The boiling action will incorporate the color into the syrup. If I am using a flavor that has a color, I pass on the additional coloring. That's what I did here. I used cherry flavoring and it was already red. It would have been more red if I had added additional color. Some flavors don't have any color, and in that case, I'd add some.

While you're waiting for the syrup to reach the perfect temperature, put your lollipop sticks in the molds so you are all set and ready to go. Kids like this part and it is safe for them to do.

 Remove from heat precisely at 300 degrees F. After the boiling action ceases, add your flavoring and stir. From about 220 degrees F to 300 degrees F will seem like an eternity. The first time I made my own hard candy lollipops I was certain the syrup would never get hot enough to reach the hard crack stage (300 degrees F). It does, be patient. When it hits around 280 degrees F, it happens quick so be ready.

Carefully pour syrup into lightly oiled molds (***syrup is nearly as hot a molten lava - keep the kids away and be careful yourself!***). Once you have poured the syrup into the molds, I like to make sure the sticks are completely covered, so twirl them and dunk them down some if needed.
There have been times where I have forgotten to oil the molds and the lollipops came out fine, although they needed some gentle encouragement. So don't panic if you forgot this step.

After a while the syrup you poured will cool and harden, then you can pop the lollipops out by gently pushing from behind the mold. You'll see where they are lifting off and where they may be sticking a bit.

Now be happy. You just made your own hard candy lollipops! Congratulations!

This project is a great opportunity to teach your children a little science too. They are probably in the kitchen waiting as patiently as they possibly can for the yummy end result, so it's a good time to show them how solids become liquids, and then liquids become solids with heating and cooling! And you thought lollipops were just empty calories.

Many Blessings,
Jana : )