Yield: 10 to 12, depending on size

Cook’s notes: You can leave the espresso powder out if you don’t want the coffee flavor; if you do, you may want to add a few drops of orange extract to heighten the caramel flavor. If you don’t own lollipop molds such as these or these (be sure to get molds for hard lollipops, not chocolate molds, which can’t take the heat), you can simply spoon out circles of caramel onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and press lollipop sticks into the rounds.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Spray lollipop molds with cooking spray (such as Pam) and put lollipop sticks in molds. Set aside a bowl of ice water large enough for the base of a small, heavy saucepan you’ll use to cook the lollipops.
Put sugar, water and corn syrup in the pan; stir very gently with a wooden spoon to moisten the sugar. Bring to a boil over moderate heat without stirring. Until it comes to a boil, periodically wash off sugar crystals from the sides of the pan, brushing the sides with a wet pastry brush. Boil syrup, swirling pan from time to time, until just golden — don’t let it get dark, or it will taste burned. Quickly add espresso powder and swirl to dissolve and distribute it, gently whisking if necessary.
Remove pan from heat and briefly dip the bottom of it into the ice water, to stop the cooking. Working quickly, pour caramel into molds, being sure to cover the sticks (warm it briefly over low heat if it gets too thick). Let cool completely before removing from molds.

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