I love holidays that provide the excuse to play with our food. With the Fourth of July right around the corner I wanted to do something fun with the colors of the holiday. Months ago I played around some with the idea of putting gummy candy inside lollipops (stay tuned for more about that another day). What I discovered is that Jelly Bellies hold their shape much better than gummy bears when hot sugar is poured over them as part of the lollipop making process. Since Jelly Bellies come in such a wide variety of colors I immediately started scheming what I could do with them to make themed candy for a variety of occasions. Red, white, and blue star lollipops for the Fourth of July seemed like the perfect place to start.
While I liked the way these turned out the real brainstorm happened when I was pouring the extra lollipop syrup onto a silpat. I wanted to add red white and blue jelly bellies to the extra lollipops but I realized I didn’t need to place them randomly. I could take the Fourth of July spirit to a whole ‘nother level just by carefully placing the candy in the shape of the flag. It is actually easier than it looks. The blob of lollipop syrup spreads out as you press the candy into it and more or less takes on the shape of the candies, resulting in a flag shaped lollipop.
While the colors are the most important part of this, it is a good idea to choose flavors of candy that generally go together. I used blueberry, coconut and cherry with a lemon flavored lollipop. While these lollipops certainly aren’t gourmet, they are sure to get everyone into the Independence Day spirit.
(adapted from LorAnn Oils)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3/8 cup water
1/2 teaspoon super-strength flavoring (I used concentrated lemon oil)
Red, white and blue jelly beans
cellophane bags for wrapping the lollipops.
Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the stove. The use of metal spoons and measuring utensils is recommended. Set two silpat mats near the stove (cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray will work too). Space lollipop sticks approximately six inches apart on the prepared mat.
In a medium saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Insert candy thermometer making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, without stirring. Early in the cooking process, you can “wash down” any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
Remove from heat precisely at 300° F (temperature will continue rising), or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water. After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and stir.
Pour syrup into a heatproof pyrex measuring cup. Pour a half dollar sized circle of syrup over the end of one of the lollipop sticks. Working quickly place three blue jelly beans on top of the syrup on the left side. Be careful not to touch the syrup as it is very hot. Make rows of red and white jelly beans to complete the flag pattern. Repeat with the remaining syrup. If the syrup cools off too much to work with re-warm it in 15 second intervals in the microwave until it is pourable.
Once the lollipops are set enough to lift, but still warm, lift them off the sheet. Using a sharp scissors trim any excess lollipop from around the jelly beans to make the lollipops more flag shaped. (It helps to warm the scissors before doing this).
Wrap the finished lollipops in cellophane bags and secure with a twist tie.