Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Candy Season Has Begun!

As I was surveying my sprinkle collection the other day, my eye caught a small package of sucker sticks. I was excited! I didn't realize I had any of those left, and the wheels started turning. It wasn't long before I pulled out my sucker molds, fitted them with sticks, and started a candy-making session. I decided on a half batch, since I wasn't sure how many suckers a full batch would make. Plus I was thinking that a second batch in a different flavor might be fun for another day as well.

Believe me when I say that I made homemade lollipops in about 15 minutes, and completely delighted my children. I started with corn syrup, sugar and water, and cooked it, stirring occasionally, to 300ºF on my candy thermometer. I added a few drops of strawberry candy flavoring and color and then drizzled the scalding hot syrup into the molds. By the time Zander and I arrived back home from picking up Abigail, they'd cooled completely, and the kids were beyond excited. I'm not particularly thrilled with this strawberry flavoring, but overall, I love being reminded how simple something is. These homemade lollipops took very little time and ingredients. If you wanted to try making these without the molds, you could drop circles of hot sugar syrup onto a well-greased cookie sheet (or use Reynold's Release Foil and no grease) and then press a sucker stick into each circle. Remember to work oh-so carefully with hot sugar syrup. It will melt your skin like butter. Homemade Lollipops

1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar

Combine ingredients in a sturdy saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Carefully clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook the sugar syrup mixture to 300ºF- or hard crack stage. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in flavorings* and colorings.

Fill sucker molds with hot sugar syrup, or carefully pour hot syrup into little circles on a well-greased baking sheet. Set sucker sticks into each circle. Allow to cool completely before handling.

Makes about 20 lollipops.

*You can purchase specialty confectionery flavorings at some craft stores, candy supply stores, or at my favorite online store Country Kitchen Sweet Art. For most flavorings you want to use 1/8 teaspoon of flavoring per batch of lollipops. For added tartness you can also add a pinch of citric acid, also available at a specialty store.


Tracy said...

I'm impressed! Candy thermometers scare me. Yours looks different from mine. Do you have one you can recommend?

Erika W. said...

Hi Tracy! Really, it's easier than you would think- as long as you have all the tools you need ahead of time and set up, it's quick and fun.

I just use a Taylor brand thermometer that I buy at Target- it's one of the flat metal kinds, because they are very easy to read and pretty durable. I've spent a lot of money on thermometers in the past, and this one wins my money. It's easy to use, and accurate. Plus, it's inexpensive, so when I inevitably break it, it's easy to replace it. There's nothing worse than using a pricey thermometer for the first time and then cracking the bulb when you wash it.

JEP said...

This is amazing---Country Kitchen is here in Fort Wayne, IN where I live---small world! I need to brush up on my candy making skills :(

Erika W. said...

Jep, do they have an actual store? That would be so dangerous!!!

Candy is definitely easier than one would think. You need the right tools and ingredients, a good recipe, and you need to follow the directions to a "T". It does require patience sometimes, but boy, it's so worth it to make your own sweet treats.

JEP said...

Sorry about this late comment...hard time with this new Google acct. thing :( Yes, Country Kitchen is a bakers/candy makers dream! Too dangerous to go often :)

Erika W. said...

Very cool! That would be so dangerous for me.