Whats Going On?
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
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.
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 storessometimes
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
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 sucrosecrystals of table sugar.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.