My absolute favorite thing about December is holiday baking. My mom used to bake 10+ different cookies throughout the month, stash them in the freezer, then dole them out to friends and neighbors right before Christmas. The gene definitely got passed down to me, although lately I’ve been partial to making candy. Over the years I’ve done caramels, toffee, honeycomb, and hot fudge sauce. This year I wanted to try something different and ventured into the world of homemade lollipops. I was inspired by a recipe in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living. I don’t have too many “Martha moments” but seeing her perfectly shaped disks of citrus flecked candy I thought “that doesn’t look so hard”.
In truth, it wasn’t that hard but my execution was not quite as perfect as Ms. Stewart’s (then again, who’s is?). I found myself at two cake supply stores. The first molds I bought turned out to be for chocolate pops, not 300-degree molten sugar syrup so they immediately melted when I used them once. The second set of molds were the right material (look for “hard candy molds”) but no disks, just half-spheres (that some really crazy person probably figures out how to put together to make an actual sphere…I am not that person). Had I taken the time to plan ahead, I would have ordered my supplies on this site and been a lot a lot better prepared.
Martha’s recipe needed a bit of tweaking. Like when I poured the hot syrup into a glass measuring cup to get it into the molds…the leftover immediately hardened onto the Pyrex cup, leaving me to chisel off every last bit (next time, non stick cooking spray came to the rescue). She has you add 2 tablespoons of citrus juice but, if you do this once the mixture reaches the “hard crack” stage, it immediately cools down and never sets back up. After a lot of trial and error, I finally got it right (and probably gave my son his first cavity after all the taste testing).
Mine are pomegranate, caramelized orange, lemon/lime, green apple, and (my fave) grapefruit-all made with natural fruit extracts/oil except the apple (which has a nice Jolly Rancher flavor to it). After the two cake supply shops, I also hit Michael’s for sticks, little cellophane bags, and just the right ribbon (that place makes anyone want to be crafty, beware). The final result is above…not to shabby, eh?
Makes 20-24 small pops