I was recently wowed by this video of a street vendor making an intricate dragon-shaped lollipop for a young boy, simply by pouring molten caramel onto a marble slab from a spoon. Once cooled, even the finest details held their shape — it’s astounding! It reminded me that homemade lollipops are a wonderful thing — and I may even try giving lollipop art a spin, although I doubt I’ll get this detailed. It’s simple to make the candy, and when it’s ready to go all you need are puddles of caramel and lollipop sticks from the craft store.
Hard candy is made of pure sugar — by melting, shaping and cooling it, whatever sugar you like to lick can be transformed from grains to liquid to solid with little effort. Add some wooden stir sticks or lollipop sticks from the craft store and you have your own homemade lollies. And if you really want to get creative, you could pour shapes in molten sugar on a flat marble slab. (Just be cautious when working with hot caramel around children.)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup golden or maple syrup
1/4 cup water
a few drops of flavouring oil (optional)
Wooden stir sticks or paper lollipop sticks
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, syrup, water and flavouring (if you’re using any) over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until it reaches the hard crack stage (300-310°F on a candy thermometer). If you happen to have lollipop moulds, use them – otherwise butter a pan or line it with parchment or foil.
Let the mixture cool enough that it’s pourable but not too runny; lie the sticks on the sheet and pour puddles of molten sugar on the ends, enveloping the ends of the sticks. Let cool, then peel off the sheet. Makes lots, depending on how large they are.