Ingredients1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 to 1 teaspoon flavoring
liquid food coloring
1 to 2 teaspoon(s) citric acid (optional)
3 tablespoons cannabis tincture
Directions1. Prepare either a marble slab or an upside-down cookie sheet (air underneath the sheet will help the candy to cool faster), by covering it with parchment paper and spraying it with oil. If you're using molds, prepare the molds with lollipop sticks, spray with oil, and place them on a cookie sheet or marble slab.
2. In your pan, over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar with a wooden spoon until the sugar crystals dissolve.
3. Continue to stir, using a pastry brush dampened with warm water to dissolve any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan, then stop stirring as soon as the syrup starts to boil.
4. Place the candy thermometer in the pan, being careful not to let it touch the bottom or sides, and let the syrup boil without stirring until the thermometer just reaches 300degrees F (hard-crack stage).
5. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and let the syrup cool to about 275degrees F before adding flavor, color, cannabis tincture and citric acid (adding it sooner causes most of the flavor to cook away).
Be careful! The sugar syrup is extremely hot! If you burn yourself, run cold water over your hand for several minutes, but do not apply ice.
6. Working quickly, pour the syrup into the prepared molds and let cool for about 10 minutes. If you're not using molds, pour small (2-inch) circles onto the prepared marble slab or cookie sheet and place a lollipop stick in each one, twisting the stick to be sure it's covered with candy. (It helps to have a friend do this since you need to work quickly.)
7. Let the lollipops cool for at least 10 minutes, until they are hard. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or cellophane and seal with tape or twist ties. Store in a cool, dry place.
- Don't have any molds? You can simply pour small circles of syrup onto a greased cookie sheet and place sticks in the middle to make pops.
- It's best not to make lollipops on a rainy or humid day. Cooking candy syrup to the desired temperature means achieving a certain ratio of sugar to moisture in the candy. On a humid day, once the candy has cooled to the point where it is no longer evaporating moisture into the air, it can actually start reabsorbing moisture from the air. This can make the resulting candy softer than it is supposed to be.
- Why do I add corn syrup?
Corn syrup acts as an "interfering agent" in this and many other candy recipes. It contains long chains of glucose molecules that tend to keep the sucrose molecules in the lollipop syrup from crystallizing. Lots of sucrose crystals would result in grainy, opaque candy instead of the clear, glassy lollipops you're trying to create.
- What is cream of tartar?
Cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate, is a fine white powder that is a by-product of the wine-making process. It's derived from argol, or tartar, which forms naturally during the fermentation of grape juice into wine and is deposited on the sides of the wine casks. It is useful in this recipe because it's an acid, another form of "interfering agent," which inverts sucrose into fructose and glucose and thereby helps to prevent crystallization of the sugar syrup.
- Why do I add citric acid?
Citric acid, sold as colorless crystals or powder, is an optional ingredient that adds tartness to fruit-flavored candies. The sour coating on the "super-sour" candies that are so popular today is a mixture of citric acid and sugar. You can find it in many supermarkets, craft stores, and baking supply stores - sometimes it's kept in the Kosher food section and is called "sour salt." It's also what gives fruits such as lemons and limes their sour taste.
- Why do I need to stop stirring after the syrup begins to boil?
At this point, you have dissolved the crystal structure of the sugar. Stirring or other agitation is one of the many factors that can encourage the fructose and glucose molecules in your syrup to rejoin and form sucrose - crystals of table sugar.
- Why do I wash down the sides of the pan?
Again, the sugar crystals are dissolved at this point in the process. A single "seed" crystal of sugar clinging to the side of the pot might fall in and is another factor that can encourage recrystallization.
Some tips for flavoring hard candy
You can use flavoring extracts that are available in the baking supplies section of your local supermarket, such as vanilla, almond, anise, maple, and lemon. Approximately 1 teaspoon of this kind of flavoring should be enough for a batch of lollipops.
There are also highly-concentrated flavorings specifically for candy making, available online or in specialty stores. The flavor choices are almost endless. These usually come in tiny 1-dram (1 teaspoon) bottles, and 1/4 teaspoon should be sufficient to flavor a batch of lollipops.
It's a good idea to have the flavors and colors that you will add to your candy measured out and ready beforehand. You will need to work quickly once the syrup reaches the hard-crack stage because it will harden quickly!
When using stronger flavors such as cinnamon, mint, and cherry, you can use a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon). Subtler flavors such as lemon, strawberry, orange, and peach require more (1/2 to 1 teaspoon.) You can add about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract with these flavors to accent them and add a "creamy" flavor.
If you're making several batches, save the stronger flavors for last or they may contaminate the other batches. Be sure to wash all measuring and mixing spoons in between batches as well.
- Hard-Crack Stage
300degrees F - 310degrees F
Sugar concentration: 99%
The hard-crack stage is the highest temperature you are likely to see specified in a candy recipe. At these temperatures, there is almost no water left in the syrup. Drop a little of the molten syrup in cold water and it will form hard, brittle threads that break when bent. CAUTION: To avoid burns, allow the syrup to cool in the cold water for a few moments before touching it!