Special equipment: Paper lollipop sticks and/or popsicle sticks
In a saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil. Cook mixture until a candy thermometer registers 300-310 degrees F or a drop of the mixture placed in cold water produces a brittle strand of candy. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint or cinnamon oil. Stir in several drops of red or green food coloring and stir to combine. On a marble slab pour the syrup into small round shapes and position a paper lollipop stick in each round. As an alternative, pour syrup into lightly oiled small or regular cupcake tins and position a popsicle stick in each cup. Allow lollipops to harden and then carefully remove from either marble surface or cupcake tins. Individually wrap each lollipop in plastic wrap to prevent them from sticking together.
To determine hard-ball stage without a candy thermometer, remove the pot from the heat and dip the bottom of the pot in water to stop the mixture from cooking further. Carefully spoon a drop of the hot syrup mixture into ice-cold water. Remove the drop from the water after 5 seconds; when bent, it should snap easily and shouldn't be sticky to the touch. The cooled drop should have a yellowish tinge.
Recipe courtesy of Joan Kearney