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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007 06:30 pm

When suckers were good

How to make a delicious lollipop

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Untitled Document Before the amazing, revolutionizing automated teller machine, America went to the bank to do its business. Every week, like clockwork, for deposits and withdrawals, we’d walk or drive to the neighborhood branch, queue up with our neighbors, and wait our turns to hand over our bank books to the nice teller. It was a time-consuming but necessary ritual, like church or food shopping.
There were no flat-screen television screens to entertain us while we waited — but, if we were good, there were lollipops. I’m seeing lime green, the lolly color most frequently bestowed upon me when I’d accompany my father in his Ford Grenada through the drive-thru lane of the Fidelity Bank. He’d pull his car up to the window and chitchat with the teller (always a woman), and I’d wait eagerly for my treat on a stick, usually tucked into Dad’s envelope of green bills. I immediately tore at the wrapper, waved goodbye to the nice teller, and sucked on my lollipop, twirling the stick or using it as a looking glass, observing the world through my candy-coated lens.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O’Donnel at kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.
Homemade Lollipops Adapted from The Ultimate Candy Book,
by Bruce Weinstein

1 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup water 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon flavoring (see note on flavors below) Four drops of food coloring Nonstick oil spray Candy thermometer Lollipop sticks, bags, and ties Silicone baking mat — highly recommended    (alternative: an oiled baking sheet lined with  
   oiled parchment paper) Heat-resistant rubber spatula Heat-resistant glass measuring cup with spout
  (e.g., Pyrex)

In an enamel-lined or nonstick 1- or 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar. With the rubber spatula, stir over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup comes to a boil. Prepare the measuring cup, spraying the interior with nonstick spray. Clip the candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and cook the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage). This may take as long as 30 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from heat and allow the syrup to cool to 270 degrees. Stir in the flavoring and food coloring. Pour the candy into the measuring cup and then pour 2-inch circles/puddles onto the prepared work surface, leaving at least 4 inches between candy puddles. Lay the sticks on the candy circles so that the tip of each stick lies at the center of its own circle. Work quickly; the syrup cools quickly and becomes thick. Pour additional syrup over the circles so as to lock the sticks into place. Don’t worry if the syrup spreads. Allow the lollipops to cool completely before peeling them off. Wrap the lollipops in bags or in waxed paper. May be stored at room temperature for as long as 2 months. Note on flavors: Look for natural flavorings or edible oils in the supermarket baking aisle or in cookware stores such as Sur La Table. I found maple, ginger, tangerine, walnut, banana, and cinnamon, to name a few. For a combination of flavors — for example, banana-walnut — use 1/2 teaspoon of each. Final note: Attention! A sugar solution at 300 degrees is nothing to joke about. If kids are joining you in the project, let them observe from a distance until it’s time to place the sticks.
Recommended resource: Kitchen Krafts (www.kitchenkrafts.com) sells a variety of candy-making tools and supplies.
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