This recipe is for suckers or just hard candy broke up into pieces.
Directions: Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the stove. The use of metal spoons and measuring utensils is recommended. Lightly spray cookie sheet* or the cavities of clean, dry candy molds with cooking spray (we recommend PAM). Insert sucker sticks. (If using two-piece plastic or aluminum molds, insert sticks after candy has been poured into molds.) If using molds, you may also want to spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. If after pouring the candy into the molds you have excess candy, you can pour it onto the foil.
In a 2-quart kettle or large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Insert candy thermometer if using, making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, without stirring. Early in the cooking process, you can “wash down” any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Continue to cook the syrup until the temperature reaches 260º F; add color. Do not stir; boiling action will incorporate color into syrup.
Remove from heat precisely at 300° F (temperature will continue rising), or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water. After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and stir. USE CAUTION WHEN ADDING FLAVORING TO AVOID RISING STEAM.
Pour syrup onto lightly greased cookie sheet or onto a heat resistant surface covered with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. (As the sugar mixture begins to set up, you may want to score with a large knife to mark squares.) Alternately, pour candy into prepared molds. Do not refrigerate.
Cool completely. Lightly dust with powdered sugar on both sides, brushing off excess. Break into small pieces. Store in airtight containers between waxed paper. If making lollipops, do not dust with powdered sugar, but place in sucker bags and secure with twist ties.
*Another alternative is to pour the hot candy onto a heat-resistant surface covered in powdered sugar. When the candy is slightly cooled, it can be cut with well-oiled scissors into pillow-shaped pieces.