Growing up with 2 different movie versions of Willie Wonka’s magical confectionery and a craving for sugar has led me down many nights of experimenting with recipes and concoctions. This has often resulted in decadent chocolate delights and sometimes, a burnt beyond recognisable bakeware. Despite the showers of blessings I would receive every morning after my mother witnesses the aftermath in her usually spotless kitchen, I ploughed on in my quest for the perfect version of every sweet.
Lollipop a day replaced an apple in my diet for a few months during high school. Whether it was the spine-tingling tartness or the bright red colour it provided (parents do not approve of cosmetics and hence, coloured candy to the rescue), it became a staple.
I vividly remember my highschool English teacher telling me that although my 15 year old frame stayed slim despite the handful of lollipops that went through me everyday, I would pay for it dearly later on; her words turned true far too starkly.
Being the typical hypocritical parent, I watched my daughter’s diet like a hawk. After successfully keeping any form of candy or processed sugar away (except in the form of biscuits- I am a concerned mother, not a sadist!) for her first 3 years, managed to remove any craving the poor little girl would have had for candy. The lollipops she got from her paediatrician were used for drumming and occasionally ended up in my pumpkin tummy.
Overcome by a feeling of guilt that I might be stealing a part of her childhood away, I started researching on homemade candy. As much as I want to let her have a bit of treat now and then, the preservatives and abominable amount of food colouring in store bought candy puts me off. Google to the rescue.
There are over tons of recipes and after sifting through most of them, came up with these two. These may not be your conventional hard candy recipes but they do the job well enough. Sicilian lemon essence sounded fancy but did not result in candy as good as the American Peppermint flavour. You could also incorporate citric acid for sour lollies but I have yet to attempt that.
Cleaning up is my one deterrent when wanting to unleash my experimenting desires. Surprisingly, the only cleanup after this recipe was letting all the candy coated utensils soak in the steaming hot water in the sink. No elbow grease was required for the final scrubbing either. Hurray! Just do not forget the temperature of the water before you decide to wash your hands. It is perfectly acceptable to not inform another being of the same, if you hold a dark sense of humour like yours truly. *evil cackling
After the positive reviews and requests from fellow candy-stealing parents, here are my lollipop recipes.
Peppermint flavoured Homemade Lollipop with corn syrup
- 1 cup corn syrup (light)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- few drops gel food colour
- 1 and 1/2 tsp Peppermint essence
Combine all the ingredients except for the essence and colouring into a heavy bottomed pan with a spout edge for ease while pouring. On medium heat, stir till everything dissolves, and then, turn up the heat and stop stirring. Bring the mixture to boil till it reaches the hard crack stage on a candy thermometer. If you do not have a thermometer, drop in some of the hot liquid into cold water and if it turns hard, you are good to go. Remove from heat and add in the essence and colouring and stir well. Remember to turn your head away while adding the essence as peppermint essence can make your eyes run. Pour liquid on prepared moulds. Let it cool and lick away.
Note that since I am no perfectionist, the lollipop making method does not hold instructions for washing down the sides of the pan while it boils (chose to skip over those instructions).
Peppermint flavoured Homemade Lollipop without corn syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- few drops of gel food colour
- 1 tsp Peppermint essence
The method is the same as for the one with corn syrup.
Tada! The end results, all packed and ready to be gobbled. Do excuse my poor cropping skills- will upload a better picture if I come across any