Homemade Toffee Lollipops

My sister Suzy has made these before and I wanted to eat them all myself, so I’ve been wanting to make some of my own. Tonight I finally got around to it. (Then I couldn’t wait until morning for better light before I blogged about it. This falsely implies that I take good photos in good light–but at least the photos would have been brighter if I had waited).

I used this recipe:

See’s Candy Butterscotch Lollipops

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 lollipop sticks
12 shot glass- size molds

Combine the first four ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture boil until it reaches 310ºF on a cooking thermometer (this is called the hard-crack stage), or until a small amount dropped in cold water separates into hard, brittle threads. Stir in the vanilla, then remove from the heat.

Coat the molds with nonstick spray and pour the mixture in. (If you are using shot glasses, be sure to cool the mixture first so that the glass won’t crack.) Place a small piece of aluminum foil over each mold and press a lollipop stick or popsicle stick in the center. When cool, remove from molds.

Makes 1 dozen lollipops.

(I would credit the recipe, but since I found the identical recipe in several places on the internet, I’m not sure which was the original source.)

As you can see, I used lollipop molds instead of shot glasses, and the recipe doubled made just under 3 dozen.

Get your molds ready ahead of time, because once the mixture is cooked, you have to work fast.  It’s best to use a candy thermometer, since you don’t have a lot of time to test the hardness by dropping candy into water when it’s close to the right temperature. At 310ºF, the toffee will be very dark and viscous. I sprayed the insides of my molds with cooking spray. I also placed the molds quite close together, with the sticks pointing away from each other, to make it easier to pour the candy by moving quickly from one mold to the next.

I used regular whipping cream instead of heavy cream, because that’s what I had on hand, and my resident chemist said it wouldn’t matter. Maybe some time I’ll try it the other way to compare. These turned out delicious, but maybe heavy cream would make them even deliciouser.

I’m not sure if these are cheaper than See’s lollipops, but since whipping cream and butter can be found on sale this time of year, they weren’t very expensive to make.

Update: I just did a little research and a little math, and even if you didn’t get your whipping cream on sale, these are much cheaper than See’s.

2nd update: For the next batch, Dean talked me into adding orange oil and citric acid instead of vanilla. They’re pretty good–although I think I like plain toffee better. (Dean and Mabel are saying they need even more orange flavor, but then that would drown out the toffee flavor completely, and what would be the point?)

3rd update: In case you miss seeing this tip in the comments, Suzy says that at our Utah high altitude, testing her candy thermometer in boiling water (to find out what boiling temperature is so far above sea level) showed that the candy should be cooked to about 12 degrees lower than what recipes say. (Water boils at 212ºF at sea level, but at about 200ºF in our part of Utah.) Also: the above recipe calls for the candy to be cooked to 310ºF, but another lollipop recipe I have calls for 300ºF, and I don’t know if it’s because cream needs to be cooked longer, or somebody just likes their candy a little harder and more brittle. So you’ll have to decide for yourself which temperature to aim for. (I’ll update if I learn more from testing.)

4th update: I ust found a site that says the hard-crack stage is from 300º-310ºF, so I think from now on I’ll aim for the low end of that range. (Which, subtracting 12 degrees for Utah’s lower boiling temperature, would make me aim for 288ºF.) I think the syrup will be easier to work with this way–and also won’t smell slightly burnt. My previous lollipops fortunately didn’t taste burnt, but they did smell a little overdone.

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30 Responses to Homemade Toffee Lollipops

  1. Kristina P. says:

    Those look awesome! But anything that needs a candy thermometer scares me.

  2. TARA says:

    I love that you can use the words viscous and deliciouser in the same post!

  3. Laura Woodruff says:

    This would make for great neighbor gifts…depending how much you like your neighbors. I am a little scared that they won’t turn out for me, but definitely worth a try. THey look fabulous.

    • zstitches says:

      If you use a thick-walled pan that will heat evenly, and a candy thermometer, your main obstacle is that they take a while to come to temperature, so it’s not a super-speedy project. And I wouldn’t try to make a larger batch than double because it will cool down too fast to get into the molds before it hardens. So, yes, you’d have to love your neighbors quite a lot. I think for me this year making them for my kids will be about as much love as I can muster.

      P.S. It’s probably possible to make these in a microwave–let me know if you try it and it works. 🙂

  4. OhSusanna says:

    Also, when making candy around these parts, it’s best to test a pan of boiling water with your candy thermometer before you start the candy. I’ve found that in my neck

  5. OhSusanna says:

    Oops–neck of the woods, you have to go about twelve degrees lower than indicated in the recipe.

    • zstitches says:

      I never knew this! I’ll bet our candy would have been much easier to pour. I’ll have to test my thermometer. It’s a digital one, but it could still be off, I guess.

      • Acheté says:

        It’s an elevation thing. The purpose of a candy thermometer is not actually to measure temperature, but to measure the candy stage, which depends on sugar concentration, which in turn can be measured by the temperature of a boiling mixture, but in a way that depends on the elevation. Pure water boils at 212 °F at standard (sea level) pressure, but it already boils at (consult web . . .) just 203 °F in our town, nine degrees earlier. In the same way, a sugar / water mixture will reach any given sugar concentration at a lower temperature here than it would at lower elevation. The temperature (in degrees) as measured by the thermometer is accurate, but the correct candy stages will occur about nine degrees Fahrenheit cooler than what is listed.

  6. the MomB says:

    These look fabulous. And deliciouser.

  7. Virginia Wood says:


    Aunt Ginger

  8. Sue M says:

    I’m NOT afraid of candy thermometers, so I am actually going to try to make these with my kids. We used to make lollipops all the time when I was a kid. We would make huge batches and then sell them at school for a quarter a pop. We were cleaning up until the principle caught wind of it and put the kibosh on our little enterprise. Jerk.

    But I have no lollipop molds. Recommendations for where I might be able to find cheap molds? Hmmmm?

    • zstitches says:

      I bought these molds several years ago–because they were like the ones other kids’ families had used to make lollipops I envied when I was a kid. 🙂 I think I bought at least three packages of molds, and after also buying flavorings and sticks, I remember feeling like they had not been cheap. Then I proceeded to not use them for several years and feel guilty about the wasted expense. So I’ve been glad to have resurrected them now. (Also, having homemade lollipops makes me feel like a privileged kid.)

      Unfortunately, the store I bought them from went out of business, and although I haven’t searched thoroughly, I’ve only seen other types of lollipop molds for sale recently. The ones I’ve seen look like plastic, although I imagine they must be heat-resistant.

      Let me go look whether I still have any information about the brand mine are. Okay: Sweet Creations, Inc.–headquartered in Bountiful.

    • zstitches says:

      Ha, their website looks exactly like it did when I bought the molds several years ago. http://www.lollipopmolds.com/ They’re still listed on Google Maps, so I assume they’re still in business.

  9. OhSusanna says:

    Z–it’s not that the thermometer is off, it’s that water boils at a lower temp this high up, so you have to adjust accordingly.

  10. OhSusanna says:

    For example, standard boiling point is 212 degrees farenheit, but that’s really only at sea level. My thermometer usually shows me that water boils at 200 where I live.

  11. WinterVallie says:

    I love the sees vanilla pops, I wonder how they get them to have the white color and more vanilla flavor? Super great post loved the pics!!

    • zstitches says:

      Maybe if you used a hard candy recipe instead of a toffee recipe, used candy whitener (it’s a kind of food coloring; you can get opaque white) and vanilla flavoring?

    • Winter says:

      That is my favorite too and how I came to this recipe. I made these and they are super close to the sees vanilla. The same creamy feel in your mouth. I’m wondering how they get theirs hard but still white and not the toffee flavor too. I think the toffee flavor is from cooking it until it browns. If you take it off the heat earlier they are more like see’s but to soft. Hmmm still looking for the sees vanilla pop recipe 🙂

      • zstitches says:

        I was going to reply but I see that I said the same thing back in April that I would have said now–I would try a basic hard candy recipe, bring it to hard-crack stage, and add whitener and vanilla flavoring. You’re right that the above recipe, with the cream in it, is always going to turn brown by the time it gets to hard-crack stage.

  12. Rosalie says:

    these look amazing! Im going to have to make them…. have you tried to make the plain vanilla sees has? those are my favorite! if you figure it out please let me know.

  13. Rosalie says:

    how do you prevent the bottom of the pan burning? I fallowed these directions completely and lol it keeps burning the bottom.

    • zstitches says:

      If you’re using a candy thermometer, I think it shouldn’t burn as long as you don’t let it get too hot–BUT it also really helps to use a good-quality pot with heavy walls, a heavy base, and even heat distribution.

  14. Cate says:

    where do I find the lollipop mold you used?

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