Add 1.5 tablespoons of sugar to the ladle. Hold the ladle over low to medium low heat. When the sugar starts to melt around the edges, stir with a chopstick.
Continue to stir constantly, controlling the heat. If it starts to smoke, raise the ladle a few inches above the heat, and lower it closer once it cools off a little. Repeat as necessary until the sugar completely melts without any lumps, but let it cool off a little before adding the baking soda.
Holding the ladle away from the heat, stir in the baking soda.
Stir quickly and vigorously (about 25 times) until the baking soda is completely dissolved and the frothy mixture turns a light caramel color. While stirring, you can bring the ladle closer to the heat for a short second or two to keep it warm, but don’t let it puff up too long. It will burn at the bottom.
Pour the mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet or a skillet, scraping with a rubber spatula. Place the tip of the optional lollipop stick into the mixture.
Let it cool for 10 to 15 seconds. Then, lightly press it down with the press and lift the press a couple of times, and then press it all the way to the desired thickness. This helps prevent the dalgona from sticking to the press.
Immediately, stamp it with a cookie-cutter, firmly but not all the way through. Promptly remove the cutter.