Pulled Sugar Lollipops
Place the sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan over high heat. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until the sugar reaches 320 degrees F. Use a pastry brush to keep the inside of the saucepan clean as the sugar cooks or the sugar may recrystallize. To do this, dip a clean brush in cold water and brush the inside of the pan clean. Pour the cooked sugar onto 3 or 4 silicone baking mats. If you want to color and/or flavor the sugar with food colors and/or flavored oils, this is the time to do so. Add a few drops of flavor and color to the sugar. Mix with a wooden skewer. To get started, push the sugar from the sides toward the center. This process takes a little while. Try to keep the sugar divided by color. Use the mat to push the firm sugar around the edges toward the center, using a folding motion. When it has just cooled enough to handle, pick up the sugar with your hands. Place each color under the heat of a sugar lamp.
Pull the sugar until it becomes glossy and the color is evenly distributed. You will need to pull the colors simultaneously. Keep them under the sugar lamp but keep an eye on them. The lamp can melt the sugar so it is important keep rotating it and folding it onto itself.
Pull a walnut-sized piece from the sugar and form it into a small ball. Use your palm to press the ball flat. Shape it into a circle or oval. Insert the lollipop stick. Set the lollipop on the silicone baking mat (it will stick if you place it directly on your work surface.) Pull and cut small pieces of sugar and form them into the eyes, mouth, nose, eyebrows or whatever feature you desire. Stick the pieces directly onto the lollipop. The sugar will be hot enough to adhere. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy Jacques Torres Chocolate, MrChocolate