This recipe for Honey Lollipops uses honey dippers in place of ordinary lollipop sticks. They work double duty as sweet treats and keepsake favors for weddings, baby showers, and more!
I first had the idea for these honey wand lollipops last Christmas, but months later, I’m just getting around to making them. I’d planned to give them as stocking stuffers, but I think they’re even more appropriate for spring. And especially summer when honey is abundantly flowing.
DIY brides (or perhaps a crafty member of their entourage) may find this an easy and inexpensive wedding favor. They’d also be so cute for a bee-themed baby shower (see my Bee-licious party for HGTV.com right here). I will most likely use this batch on my dining room table, to spruce up place settings and to give dinner guests a take-home treat.
Choose your honey.
Start with your favorite honey. Clover honey, wildflower honey, orange blossom honey – the options are endless! If you ask me, the best honey is the free kind, and the honey I’m using was gifted from a bee keeper friend of the family. You’ll need just 1/2 cup for a batch.
How to cook honey into hard candy.
Stir together the honey, light corn syrup, granulated sugar, and water in a large saucepan. To those who recoiled at the mention of corn syrup in this recipe – I am aware that everyone is supposed to detest the stuff. However, it is not high fructose corn syrup. It’s just regular corn syrup that confectioners and pastry chefs use in moderation. (If you’re interested, read Food52’s article Why Corn Syrup Isn’t Evil.) In this recipe it prevents crystallization of the candy as it cooks and gives the lollipops a long shelf life.
Insert a candy thermometer into the pot, and keep the ingredients on a steady bubble.
Make an ice bath.
As the candy bubbles its way to hard crack stage (around 302°F in this recipe) make a big bowl of ice water. If you don’t have a large enough heat-proof bowl, a metal 13×9-inch cake pan will work, too. At the moment the candy reaches temperature, remove it from the heat and plunge the bottom of the pan into the ice bath. This stops the cooking of the candy mixture.
Use an ice cube tray for a candy mold.
I found this 2-pack of hexagonal ice cube trays that I thought looked just like a honeycomb. Which is perfect to use for molding honey lollipops! It worked well and held all of the cooked candy. Just give the cavities a spritz of cooking spray before you pour.
Use a double thickness of heavy-gauge aluminum foil to cover the tray tightly. Press it down flat so you can see each little hexagonal shape. Make little X shapes with the tip of a paring knife in the centers of each shape.
Next – time for the honey wands! Use 6-inch honey dippers and insert the ends into each X shaped hole. (You can find the wands online right here, 20 pieces for around $10.)
Now, here’s the tricky part. These wands are top heavy, so they will want to wobble to-and fro. Use a strip of painter’s tape across the dipper ends to hold them in place. Carefully steady them all upright and leave them alone to set. You can also use ordinary lollipop sticks, which will fare better standing upright on their own.
Unmold the honey lollipops.
Remove the foil by tearing it away from the lollipop sticks. Just a little wiggle will free these from their molds.
Honey lollipops Q&A.
You may ask “why not just use regular lollipop molds instead of an ice cube tray?” Well. They don’t work with the wands and here’s why. The honey wand sticks are too thick to lay flat in the stick groove in regular lollipop molds. I tested various sizes of wands, 3-inch to 6-inch, and they all have the same stick thickness. Of course, you can use regular lollipop molds with standard size paper sticks with success.
You may also wonder, “why not mold the candy on the ‘dipper end’ of the wand?” You could, but there’s not enough room for much candy after the dipper is inserted. You could try it with a larger ice cube tray, but it’s a bit bulky for enjoying as a lollipop.
These are really pretty on ordinary lollipop sticks, too! These are smaller than the wands, so I recommend packaging them 2 to a bag for gifting.
Keep the pops in a cool dry place and they will last for a long time! As long as they are kept away from humidity, they’ll have a long shelf life.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy these lollipops. Have one for a sweet treat, give them as gifts, or just stir one in your hot tea.
Related recipe: Homemade Hot Honey
- Candy thermometer
- Heavy gauge aluminum foil
- Painter’s tape
- Cooking spray for the ice cube tray
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Prepare an ice bath with ice cubes and water in a big stainless steel bowl or metal 9×13-inch pan (something your saucepan will fit into).
- Spray the silicone ice cube tray with cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan stir together the honey, corn syrup, sugar, and water. Stir together until well incorporated. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium so that the mixture stays at a rolling boil that is steady and not too vigorous.
- Cook to 302°F, which is hard crack stage for candy. The moment the candy reaches temperature, plunge the bottom of the pan into the ice bath. Let the bubbling subside for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the candy into 25 cavities of the silicone tray, filling each about 3/4 full. Let stand 1-2 minutes, then cover with double thickness of aluminum foil.
- Flatten the foil evenly so you can see the hexagonal impressions. Use a fine-tipped paring knife to cut a small x into the aluminum foil in the centers of each hexagonal shape.
- Insert the stick ends of the honey wands into each of the X shapes. The wands will wobble a bit. Stand them upright (you may need an extra pair of hands to help) and use strips of painters tape across the top of the dipper ends to secure them together upright. After they are balanced, leave them alone to firm, about 2 hours.
- Remove the painter’s tape and tear away the foil. Wiggle each wand end a little to loosen the honey pop from the mold. Transfer to a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Let stand 20 minutes to air dry.
- Package each in cellophane and tie with ribbon, or store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place. If stored away from humidity, they will last two weeks or longer. These can be made up to a week ahead.
I love this so much! It’s such an adorable treat and so versatile for favors or just keeping on hand to treat yourself! Also, thank you so much (seriously) for highlighting that corn syrup =/= high fructose corn syrup and providing a link for further reading! It’s one of my pet peeves that people see it as evil just because it’s also called corn syrup and don’t take the time to look at the distinction between the two.
I appreciate your feedback! It is definitely villainized. I mean, nobody’s calling it health food. But it has its place in a confectioners’ kitchen, in moderation.
Absolutely! It can be super helpful; plus, there’s no way I’m giving up pecan pie without a fight XD