To determine hard-ball stage without a candy thermometer, remove the pot from the heat and dip the bottom of the pot in water to stop the mixture from cooking further. Carefully spoon a drop of the hot syrup mixture into ice-cold water. Remove the drop from the water after 5 seconds; when bent, it should snap easily and shouldn’t be sticky to the touch. The cooled drop should have a yellowish tinge.
Lollipops are an old-fashioned favorite! Sure, it’s easy to buy them in the store, but it’s even more fun to make them at home! You need a few pieces of inexpensive equipment to start–a candy thermometer, and a lollipop mold. Both can be found for a few dollars at cake/candy supply stores, many craft stores, or online. You’ll also want lollipop sticks, a flavoring extract (it could be simple vanilla or a variety of exotic flavors!) and perhaps food coloring.