Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homemade Lollipops or Hard Candies

I decided to make Homemade Lollipops or hard candies as a gift to my co-workers. On my way home from my riding lesson, I stopped off at Williams Sonoma and bought a candy thermometer and candy flavorings, as well as a lot of high priced (but good quality) other stuff, like a mini muffin pan for $30.00. The clerks have obviously been trained to butter up the customers. When they asked me what I was going to make and I told them, they chorused, "You're so creative!"
Well, creative or not, I should have followed the directions a little better. Williams Sonoma did not have lollipop sticks, so I used cupcake papers. "Don't we have to grease them?" my daughter, who was helping me, inquired.
"Oh, no," I said, blithely. "you can just peel the muffin papers right off."
Well, that was wrong, and I still have a plateful of candy in muffin papers sitting on a counter a week later. The candy sticks to the paper, and has to be scraped off with a knife after a thorough wetting.
It tastes okay. I suggest, as well as greasing your muffin papers, to put in about twice as much flavoring as the recipe calls for. Otherwise, you get a very slight lemon taste, barely noticeable. Another tip, don't use a plastic measuring spoon to spoon the hot candy syrup out into the muffin cups. It will melt. Also when the recipe says spoon quickly, do it. The syrup hardens fast and you will get little threads of sugar syrup all over your muffin pan or cookie sheet.
Amazingly, the sugar syrup does not stick to the bottom of the pot when you are attempting to clean it. Just fill the pot with water and let it sit. The syrup will dissolve.

Homemade Lollipops or Hard Candies

2 cups sugar
2/3cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon oil of lemon or other concentrated flavor
food colorings
skewers or ice cream sticks for lollipops

1. Place the sugar, syrup and water in a pan. Heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup reaches 310 degrees on a candy thermometer. Keep the pan clear of crystals by washing down the sides once or twice with a brush dipped into water.
2. Remove from the heat, add the flavoring and colored and spoon quickly, one teaspoon at a time, onto a greased baking sheet. Immediately place a skewer or stick in position before the candy sets. Alternately, the syrup may be poured into lightly greased tiny muffin cups to give round candies.
3. Remove the lollipops or round candies as soon as they are set. Wrap in clear plastic wrap. Makes about 24.

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