Patriotic Suckers You Can Make at Home

Memorial Day is right around the corner and it's not to much longer until we celebrate the Fourth of July. Why not, do this fun little kitchen science experiment with your kids and make these fun Patriotic Suckers that you can share with your friends while you celebrate. It's really easy to make your own candy and your kids will love learning what that process looks like as you do a this kitchen science experiment and make these fun suckers to celebrate with.

Patriotic Suckers for Memorial Day or for the Fourth of July

Ingredients you will need to make your suckers at home:

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cherry flavoring
Red, white and blue nonpareil sprinkles

Non stick cooking spray
Sucker mold {this is a great kit because you can use it for all seasons}
Lollipop sticks

Spray a small amount of non stick cooking spray on a piece of paper towel and rub the cooking spray in the sucker molds.

Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of red, white and blue sprinkles to each mold with a lollipop stick. You might have some sticks leftover from this patriotic firecracker strawberry pop recipe

In a heavy bottomed pot, combine your sugar, light corn syrup and water and mix well.

Bring your ingredients to a boil on medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for about 7 minutes or until the temperature reaches 310° using a candy thermometer {caution this will be very hot}

Carefully {this will be very hot} pour your melted candy into your lollipop molds, let set for a few minutes and transfer to the freezer for another 10 minutes to set.

Carefully pop your suckers out. You can wrap them in these plastic wrap baggies and tie them with a ribbon to create a fun individual treat to give to share.

dessert for fourth of July or Memorial Day

What's the kitchen chemistry behind making lollipops?

Making candy in the kitchen is the perfect way to introduce kitchen chemistry to your kids. We can make hard candies because sugar molecules form crystals. How hot the sugar gets, how much water is in the recipe, and the manner in which and speed at which it cools all help to determine whether you end up with fine crystals like you would find in fudge, coarse crystals like in rock candy, or one giant transparent stick like in these lollipops.
When you dissolve sugar in water, you raise the boiling point.  As the sugar syrup cooks, water evaporates, causing the boiling point to rise even more and the temperature continues to rise as more water evaporates. To achieve a certain texture of candy, you want to bring the solution to a boil and watch the temperature–this will tell you the sugar concentration of the liquid. At 235 F, the solution is about 85% sugar, and if you stopped here you could make fudge. For hard candy, you want a sugar concentration of almost 100%, which means bringing the syrup to at least 300 F. This is know as the “hard crack” stage, because of the cracking sound the candy will make if you pull it into threads.
While the syrup heats up in your pan, sugar molecules form bonds with water molecules. As the candy cools there is less water to keep the sugar molecules apart and they will start to bond with each other and form crystals. 
In order to form transparent sugar like in these lollipops, you need to prevent the growth of organized crystals. One way to do this is to cool the mixture rapidly, which is the reason why you put it in the freezer. Another way to get that clear sugar look is to use corn syrup. It acts as a barrier preventing long chains from forming so that sucrose molecules can't bond together.

Looking for more patriotic treats? Try this firecracker strawberry pop recipe.

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