Candy, also known as sweets or lollies feature sugar as the principal ingredient. Sugar candies include soft chewy candies, taffy, hard candies and other candies whose main ingredient is also sugar.
Lollipops, also called suckers, are fundamentally hard candies with a small stick of some sort. The stick wrapped with white paper act as a handle. There are small lollipops with fruits and flavors, slightly larger lollipops with chocolates chewy center, lollipops with gum center and very large suckers that are usually found at carnivals and circuses. Whichever size the lollipop is, they are all made principally of sugar, flavorings, syrup and water. Sugar and corn syrup are placed in a pre-cooker and a cooking process begins. An electric stove or gas may be used for this process. The mixture is then transferred to another cooker under a vacuum to remove moisture and for the heating process. A thermometer is then used to regulate the temperature of the cooker.
The temperature normally used is 154oC referred to as hard crack temperature. When the solution is hot enough, it is placed on malleable plastics which are purchased in varieties of shapes. When the concoction cools, it tends to take the shape of the mold plastic, becoming “glass-like’’ since it can be broken or cracked into pieces like glass. Varieties of lollipop molds have been developed and are readily available in the market. To fit the desires of some individuals, colorings and flavorings can be added before the sugar-corn syrup solution is poured into the mold. These flavors are in liquid form and have been measured before being added to the candy batch. Citrus or malic is important in flavoring process. Citrus acid intensifies the citrus-based flavored lollipops and reduces the excessive sweetness as well. On other hand, malic acid is used to develop the flavor of non-citrus flavors.
Some of the ingredients used to manufacture lollipops vary according to manufacturers. The ingredients used in a plain lollipop with no center include: citric acid, flavorings, water, malic, sugar and corn syrup. The sticks used as handles are fundamentally made using tightly-wrapped white paper that is usually bleached and covered with a sufficient layer of wax. One wrapper varies from the other in terms of style. Some are printed waxed paper and others are clear cellophane.
In general, lollipops are made from sugar and corn syrup. Almost all manufacturers produce or manufacture lollipops in enormous quantities and therefore, all the raw materials are brought into the factory in bulky amounts. Dry sugar is brought to the plant in a huge train rail car. The sugar is then removed from the huge car by use of clean hot water. On other hand, corn candy is brought to the plant in heated tanker trucks. The car that brings the sugar into the plant is attached to the liquidator where the sugar drops into water and dissolves. This process takes a long time. It approximately takes nine hours to melt 81,650kgs of sugar. When the sugar has dissolved into the hot water, it is transferred to the pre-cooker. The concoction with flavor and color added is then mixed well using two gigantic arms that push the mixture around and lift it up, imitating human kneading. The mixing process distributes flavor and color, reduces the temperature and eliminates air bubbles created from cooking and mixing.
Human effort is required to feel the candy batch to make sure it is at the right consistency and temperature for the next step to follow. The candy is now ready to form a lollipop. The now cool candy is sent through cones and sizing wheels that reduces the rope size. The candy rope is then brought to the rolling machine which transforms it into spherical shape. A paper stick is then inserted. The lollipops are cooled by exposure to air. After cooling, they move through a conveyor belt and are brought into a wrapping machine where the lollipops are wrapped tightly. The manufacturing floor has quality control laboratories where sugar levels, flavors and colors, malleability, moisture content and weight are checked.
Just like lollipops, ordinary sweets are made by dissolving sugar in water or milk. Candy comes in a range of textures, from brittle and hard, to soft and chewy. The texture basically depends on ingredients used and the temperature at which the candy is processed. Sweets are manufactured almost the same way as lollipops. Unlike other sweets, chewy candy is made from slightly different ingredients. It is composed of gelatin, colors and flavors and sweeteners. It can be molded into different shapes due to its texture. Gelatin is the ingredient responsible for the unique character of chewy candy.