>> Cathy Callahan is a crafter and window dresser who draws inspiration
from vintage crafts. She blogs about 1960s and 1970s crafts at
Make delicious-looking candy that’s too good to eat!
Centerpieces can really set the mood for a
party. I fondly remember the gumdrop trees
that the PTA moms made for one school party.
Gumdrops were glued on manzanita branches that
had been painted white and mounted in flowerpots.
Some of the kids picked off and ate the gumdrops,
but if those crafty ladies were upset, they didn’t let
on as they cheerfully served up punch and cookies.
I wondered where the PTA ladies got their idea,
so I looked at my mom’s 1970s-era cookbooks, and
I became fixated on Betty Crocker’s “Lolligog Party,”
a strange but wonderful combination of Tinkertoys
and lollipops. It looks like it was dreamed up under
the influence of Charles and Ray Eames with a little
Mary Blair and Alexander Girard thrown in.
Hostesses have been turning to Betty Crocker
for ideas since the 1920s. It turns out there never
was a real Betty; she was concocted by General
Mills’ corporate ancestor as a persona to answer
consumer questions. Cookbooks were launched
in 1930, and according to author Susan Marks, in
1950 the sales of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book
rivaled those of the Bible. Here’s my adaptation of
the recipe so you can make your own centerpiece. ×
Photograph by Cathy Callahan
» CANDY APPLE STICKS ORDINARY LOLLIPOP
STICKS ARE TOO SMALL TO FIT INTO TINKERTOYS.
» ¼C BUTTER OR MARGARINE
» ½C CORN SYRUP OR SIMPLE SYRUP
» ¾C SUGAR
» CANDY THERMOMETER
» FOOD COLORING AND CANDY DECORATIONS
1. Arrange sticks on a lightly buttered baking sheet.
2. In a 1qt saucepan, combine butter, syrup, and
sugar, and heat to a boil over medium-high heat,
3. Reduce heat to medium, stirring frequently until
the candy thermometer reads 270°F.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in
5. Dollop the mixture by spoonfuls around each
stick for a 2"– 3" diameter.
6. While the candy’s still hot, press in decorations.
After cooling, dab syrup onto the candy like glue
to attach decorations, and allow to dry.
7. After cooling (overnight is best) arrange your
lollipops with a Tinkertoy set and have fun!
TIP: If necessary, you can use a small dab of
“quake tack” or poster putty to secure the stick in
the spool hole.