All-Day Suckers

I remember making "All-day Suckers" with my Grandma Wessman when I was little, and what a treat that was! She made the hard candy and then poured big circles of candy around sticks on a buttered pan. So simple, and yet such a fun thing to watch the candy being made as a child. Now there are hundreds of hard candy molds available online, so you can buy lollipop molds in almost any shape. Or you can go the old-fashioned route and just pour big circles on a tray.

All-Day Suckers
2 cups sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. oil-based flavoring or 2 tsp. flavored extract
1/2 tsp liquid food coloring
Prepare all your materials before you begin cooking. Oil the lollipop molds. You can use cooking spray to make it easy. If you are using cookie sheets, line them with foil, and butter or oil it well.

Put all the sticks in the molds. If you are using cookie sheets, make sure you leave plenty of space between the sticks for the suckers to spread out.

This recipe makes about 10-12 suckers, depending on how big they are. All the molds hold different volumes, so your first batch will be guesswork. You can set out a tray with oiled foil in case you end up with extra candy.

Using a candy thermometer will take the guesswork out of the temperature. Make sure you test your thermometer for accuracy. Candy burns very easily above 300°F. (Don't ask how I know.)

In a large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush or damp paper towel to make sure there are no sugar crystals on the side.

Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and attach the candy thermometer. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Boil without stirring. When the temperature reaches 260°,  add the food coloring. Do not stir. The food coloring will gradually mix itself into the candy as the syrup boils.

Watch the temperature carefully, since it can change quickly. Remove from heat at 300°F (or hard crack stage: threads of hard candy form when the syrup is drizzled into cold water.) If your pan retains heat well, remove it from the heat a couple degrees below 300, as the candy's temperature will continue to rise.

Allow the mixture to cool until the all of the boiling stops. Add the flavoring and stir well, keeping back from the steam that will puff up from the pan. As soon as the flavoring is incorporated, pour the syrup into the oiled candy molds or onto the oiled, foil-covered cookie sheets, making sure the stick is covered with candy.

Allow to cool completely. Remove from molds or sheets. Wipe off excess oil and place in individual wrappers, or an airtight container.

Melinda's Notes: If you want very strongly flavored suckers, add more flavoring. For darker colors, add more food coloring. The good thing about making your own candy is that if you do not like food coloring, you can leave the suckers a natural color, which is about the shade of cream soda.

And, as long as you don't forget to watch the candy, and accidentally burn it into a hunk of black sugar, clean up is actually quite easy. Not that I would know from personal experience :-)


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