- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup corn syrup
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- Few drops food coloring (yellow, blue, red)
On a silpat or parchment lined baking tray, lay out lollipop sticks in rows, leaving 2 inches of space between them for fun free-form lollipops.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a clean, dry, small saucepan (preferably one with a pouring spout) fitted with a candy thermometer and bring to a boil over high heat. Without stirring, cook until the mixture reaches 305 degrees F or "hard crack" stage on the candy thermometer. (While the syrup is cooking, occasionally wash down the sides of the pan with a clean brush dipped in water, to prevent crystallization.) Set up an ice bath in a sink.
When the mixture is done, remove the pot from the heat and dip it into the ice bath for 15 seconds to stop the cooking. Remove the pot of syrup from the ice bath and stir in 1/2 teaspoon orange extract. Divide the sugar mixture between 2 heat-safe measuring cups. Color 1 measuring cup with yellow food coloring and the other with blue food coloring, stirring very gently with a wooden skewer so that the color is evenly distributed. To avoid air bubbles in the finished lollipops, stir the mixture gently in both directions, but be careful not to over mix.
Pour or carefully spoon a little of the syrup around each lollipop stick, creating freeform designs covering at least a 1/4-inch of the end of each lollipop stick. Then add blue coloring to the yellow measuring cup to make green and add red food coloring to the blue measuring cup to make purple, and pour more syrup onto the pops.
Re-warm the syrups in the microwave a few seconds at a time if they are cooling too much and setting up. Cool the lollipops for at least 20 minutes, until hard. Lift off the pan and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or 2 to 3 days if the weather is very humid.
Notes about the recipe: Lollipops are the last thing you expect to see on a petit-four tray in a fancy restaurant ? so that's why I like to serve them last at mine. People burst out laughing when these jewel-like treats arrive on a silver platter after dessert. But then they sit back and savor those suckers right down to the stick! I never get tired of watching Chicago's most elegant diners licking lollipops like kids ? and taking a last few minutes to enjoy the evening.
Using a very long stick makes these lollipops look and feel more fancy. The flower petals are also very pretty, but optional. If you plan to make these without lollipop molds, just arrange the sticks and petals on the cookie sheet. Let the syrup cool a bit to thicken it slightly, and then pour it over the ends of the sticks.