Candy Lollipops – with (or without) Booze!

You can get lollipops anywhere; big ones the size of your head at the carnival, semi-questionable corn-syrupy ones from Walgreens, germ ridden 6 month old freebies from the receptionists desk at work (my personal favorite) – but did you realize you can make your own!? You can make them tasty, you can make them pretty, you can make them big, or you can make them small. And you can make them with booze, which is what this little post is all about. It’s not too difficult, and it’s definitely fun as shit!

The inspiration for this came from Argentina. The last time we were in Buenos Aires, we went to La Vineria De Gualterio Bolivar. The chef from La Vineria is from Spain and built his career at El Bulli with Ferran Adria – the pope of molecular gastronomy. (If you don’t know Ferran Adria or El Bulli, take a peep at this video of Ferran Adria explaining some of what he does. The translator is one of my favorite chefs, Jose Andres, who was the sous chef there at El Bulli before he moved to the US and opened his own mindblowing restaurants in Washington D.C.) Needless to say, I was somewhere between “hyped” and “hysterically enthralled” to be eating food from a guy who learned to cook there, at what is recognized as the best restaurant in the world.

The meal was somewhere around 14 courses with wine pairings (which is why I can’t remember exactly how many courses it was). Three dessert courses and one of ’em was a big huge spun sugar looking lollipop. Though it wasn’t the tastiest part of the meal, it was the prettiest and most playful part – I fell in food love with this gorgeous lolli!

Yes, I fell in with a piece of candy – and had to made it happen with my own hands. Unlike the rest of the meal at La Vineria, making some lollipops at home is really no feat of molecular gastronomy. But you do have to pay some close attention and I hope you have a strong dishwasher.

Take a peek, there’s a decent instructional video on making lollies on Howcast.

You could do it their boring way, with plastic forms that you can get fairly cheap at Sur la Table – but just so you know, they don’t work very well. So instead, why not have some fun and try some playful artsy free forms:

You will need:

    Silpat (silicone cooking sheet) or wax paper coated with non-stick spray. I strongly suggest getting a silpat, though. They’re magical, nothing works quite like one. You’ll thank me.

    Lollipop sticks

    Candythermometer that goes up to 300 degrees

As well as:

    2/3C. water
    2C. white sugar
    1/4t. cream of tartar

    1. Mix the ingredients together and bring to a boil.

    2. Boil for about 10 minutes without stirring until it turns an amber color. It should reach 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can spoon a bit out and dip it into an ice bath; if it solidifies real quick, it’s ready.

    3. Remove it from heat and add the booze you choose (also color, if you like). Add 1-2 ounces of alcohol, depending on the strength and flavor of your choice. Fun ones to try are peppermint or other flavored Schnapps, Sambuca, Fernet, Cointreau, Red Stagg Black Cherry Whiskey, just to name a few. These ones that I did are with peppermint Schnapps.

    4. Make sure your sticks are laid out on your silpat or wax paper ahead of time, and right away start spooning the thick sugar water on top of them with some pizzazz! If the lollipop syrup starts to thicken or harden too much, put it back on the heat for a minute to loosen it up.

    5. Let them cool like this for 20 minutes, or until solid, then peel carefully off and wrap in pretty little wrappers that you can get at Sur la Table. If they seem a little soft, keep them in the fridge. Depending on the amount of sugar in the alcohol you use, it will sometimes keep the syrup for fully hardening.

    And now you have pretty little homemade lollies!