Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hard Candy Suckers!!! Caution....There addictive to make!!!

So, I think we all have childhood memories of great hard candy suckers in some sort of cute shape. BUT that doesn't mean we know how to make these magical creations. About 4 months ago I went to a friends yard sale and stumbled on a box of Hard Candy Sucker supplies...... 15 molds, sticks and wrappers and for a steal of $5 for the entire box.........killer deal and I bought it. My bestie friend Barbara told me she knew how to make them and we made them one day (note: our kids went and sold them to neighborhood kids and made $28 Hoot Hoot) Let me tell you they were EASY EASY EASY to make and they look so cool and the kids absolutely love them. I am semi-addicted to making suckers. The only reason I am not totally addicted is because I have 10 million other things I am semi-addicted to.

Anyway......Here is how I make Hard Candy Suckers and a few of my tricks to the trade.

 I made Strawberry Cream suckers

for my son, Blake to give a sucker basket to his friend on her Birthday!!! (NOTE......I WILL BE POSTING A HARD SUCKER 101 POST LATER SINCE I DO NOT THINK THERE ARE ENOUGH POST ON BLOGS ABOUT SUCKER MAKING)
Must Haves: Pot, Pam Spray, White Hard Candy Molds (at least 3-4), Karo Syrup, Sugar, 
Water, Sucker Sticks, Sucker Wrappers w/ ties or Tape, Candy Thermometer, 
Spatula, Pink Food Coloring, Strawberry Candy Flavoring & Measuring Cups.
Extras, but HIGHLY Recommended: Clear Vanilla Flavoring, White Food Coloring, Candy Eyes (if your mold has eyes),  Nerds, Large Glass Pyrex Measuring Cup.

1~ First Thing to do is get your molds ready.......make sure you have hard candy molds and NOT just chocolate molds. It is a hard white or opaque mold. You will melt your mold if it is not the right kind OR you may have the metal molds that clip on to your sucker stick!!!
 Spray your molds with Pam and add sticks. Make sure you have ALL and even extra molds ready encase you have extra. You can never be too prepared because once it's ready to pour pour. Depending on the depth of each varies how many suckers you'll get. I got 21 suckers from this particular batch, but when I do ALL owls I only get 17-18. My cute owl molds have eye spots perfect to put candy eyes I got from Walmart in the cake decorating section. Add nerds to your molds now as well. I only put nerds in half my suckers.
2~ In a pot or med size pan......add 2 Cups White Sugar, 2/3 Cup Karo Syrup and 3/4 Cups Water
 and stir with spatula until mixed and on Med/High Heat.
 3~ Once your mixture is boiling you do NOT stir anymore. Stirring upsets the crystallization crap
 or something like that.....just enjoy the fact you no longer have to stir. :)  
Add your Candy Thermometer and make sure it is not touching the bottom of the pan, but is covered by the mixture!
4~ OK, this may sound weird, but put your large (4 cup) Glass Pyrex Measuring Cup in the microwave
 for 3 minutes and leave it there until I say.
5~ Do nothing until the mixture reaches 260 degrees( you may have to turn the heat up a little to reach this). Then add coloring and DON'T mix...the bubbles will do that for you. I used a gel food coloring in neon pink. Just a few squirts plus 2 drops of white food coloring...WHY you ask.....well I don't like my suckers completely clear when I am making my owls...the eyes look funny from the back of the head. Hee Hee But I DO add more (5-6 drops) white food coloring if I want a more opaque color or white ghost or something like that. It is a must have to me!!!!
6~  OK....this is babysitting time. Your heat will rise lots faster once it hits 260 degrees. Watch the thermometer like a HAWK. Once it has hit 300 degrees remove it from the heat and set it on a cool burner and remove the candy thermometer. I let the bubbles slow down a little and then add my Strawberry candy flavoring and a few splashes of vanilla ( use the clear kind so it doesn't change the color of your's in the cake decorating section at Walmart) Stir slowly and be careful of any vapors that rise up towards your face. I use the extra potent Candy Flavoring from Loranns and I just need the tiny 1 dram bottles. Walmart does carry some flavors at my local store.
 7~ Now get that Pyrex Measuring Cup out of the Microwave......use a hot pad and place it on the counter.
 (I have you heat it up so it is doesn't cool the sucker mixture) Pour the hot Sucker mixture into
 it and use the spatula to scrap the edges.
 8~ Stop wasting time enjoying the strawberry smell and START POURING. I tend to pour by and on top of the stick first. Make sure the stick is covered well. Once you have it filled quickly move over to another mold. you will have little drip trails the entire problem. When they are hard you and your kids get to munch on them. 
My kids call them the crunchy grass or hay.
9~ Your mixture will eventually start to cool off and be too hard to pour. I always have to microwave the last remnants for about 15 seconds (you may have to do it an additional 10-15 seconds, but no more than will burn... Yuck!!) Then you can get an extra sucker or two out of your mixture.
 10~ Yeah!!! Let them cool about 10-15 minutes and then it is revelation time!!! Hoot Hoot!!! Some of your suckers may have gotten too much and poured out a little. No worries when you pop them out you can break off the extra!!!
 I just love the owls...I found the molds on Ebay!!!! Note you will need at least 3 Owl molds.
11~ OK lets bag them. You have to bag them the same day or put the in an airtight container. If the suckers are exposed to air too much they will become stick. TIP: I personally hate the prices for sucker I went to the craft section and bought the 3x4 inch bead bags and cut the ziplock top off. They work great and are sturdy plastic.
12~ Tie the bag. If you buy sucker wrappers....most likely they will come with twist ties. 
TIPS: Alternatives are clear tape or pipe cleaners. You can get about 5 ties per pipe cleaner.
So I said Blake took a Sucker Basket to his friends Birthday party. 
Isn't he cute....well here is a little simple how to:
Supplies: Small Basket, Floral Foam, Tissue Paper and Suckers (I used 10 suckers) I ran out of time, but a little sign of Happy Birthday on a stick would have been cute!!!!
 1~ Getting your foam to fit the basket. I put the basket on top of the floral foam and made slashes all the way around with a knife. See circle shape?
 2~ Cut all extra foam off leaving only the circle. (note: ignore my finger in the picture)
3~ Put it in the basket to see if it fits
 4~ If it fits then start wrapping it in the tissue paper.
5~ Put it in the basket tissue edge side down.
 6~ If your really picky....put your suckers in order by height so you can arrange it more uniform and start poking!
 Hoot Hoot!!! Your ready to give it away or enjoy yourself. It is fun and easy to do and best of all it is something HOMEMADE. This entire basket gift cost me $3.25 to make and it was one of the highlights of the night!!!!
Notes: I used this cute tin basket, but you could use all sorts or containers like glass vase (wide mouth),
 Quart Jars (Wide Mouth), small watering can, recycle yogurt containers with wrapping paper around it,
 takeout boxes and much more!!!



  1. Their parents may want pass you back their kids dentist bills in a cute basket :)

  2. I have been making suckers for years and they are so much fun to make- I have done Baby Showers, Rest Homes, Weddings, Birthday Parties, if it can be done, I have a mold for it- Awful nice of you to share this- You did an excellent job- Sid

  3. What a great step-by-step tutorial. I have been so nervous about trying hard candy, but this broke it down very easily. I had my laptop up in the kitchen as I went through the process and everything turned out great! Thanks!

  4. I have a quick question. I am trying to make lolipops for favors and need about 20 of them but only have one mold with 3 of them in it. Is there a way to do this in stages? Is the mixture usable later by heating it up again? Thanks!