So I picked the most interesting of the three to show you . . . lollipops. I have never made hard candy before because it always looked so difficult. It turns out that its actually not as bad as it looks. And its gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and nutt-free. Now if only it was sugar-free and low-calorie it might be the perfect dessert. :)
Its a short shopping list for lollipops.
Hard Candy Molds
2/3 C Light Corn Syrup (Not pictured)
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Water
1/4 tsp Food Coloring (gel or liquid)
Flavoring Oil - One Dram (LorAnn is a premium retailer)
Spray Vegetable Oil
Small Saucepan (I suggest a 3 or 4 quart)
You begin by lightly oiling the candy molds. Depending on the size of the molds, you will need several. The bigger mold pictured you would need at least five, the smaller mold I would say closer to seven. Since I wasn't sure how much the batch would make, I had four molds (two of each) and a greased cookie sheet.
Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Stir it over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once its dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil without stirring it by raising the heat. At this point I would insert the thermometer and clip it to the side of the pan. The bulb of the thermometer should be submerged in liquid but not touching the bottom of the pan.
When the temperature on the thermometer reaches 260 degrees, add the food coloring. Allow the natural boiling of the liquid to disperse the color for you.
Allow it to continue to boil until 300 degrees and immediately remove it from the heat as the candy temperature will continue to rise while it is still boiling. Wait until the liquid is no longer boiling, then add the flavoring oil and stir.
Pour the liquid into the greased molds and/or onto the greased cookie sheet. In the case of the cookie sheet, score marks for easier breaking later on. I need some practice to make sure its the correct amount of liquid, but overall this step is fairly self-explanatory. Put the lollipop sticks in the molds before or after pouring, it didn't seem to have too much of a different outcome.
After 30 minutes to an hour the molds/sheet should be cool enough to remove the candies. And wha-la! Lollipops!
And for an added bonus, cover them in little bags and use decorative twist-ties or ribbon to tie them closed.
My daughter has already eaten two and given many to friends. What a great gift idea!!
And just for pictures and a few more ideas . . .
Molded Chocolate Candies . . .
And if you need more ideas check out Bakerella's site and the Pioneer Woman. That should be enough for you to get the creative juices flowing, right?? :)
Degree of Difficulty: Difficult