Christmas Extras recipes Vegetarian
Homemade Christmas Lollipops12/01/2014
So here are the official rules for when you can start talking about Christmas. If you're a scrooge: Christmas Day. Maybe Chris...
If you're a scrooge: Christmas Day. Maybe Christmas Eve. Maybe Never.
If you're a lover of the festive period: Pretty much as soon as it hits October.
If your birthday is in December: After your Birthday. Even if your birthday is the 24th.
If you're a shop/company/supermarket: Pretty much as soon as July hits.
If you're a little obsessed: People usually set you a date when it's acceptable to start talking about it because you are constantly counting down to Christmas / getting excited.
I fall into the latter category, as I LOVE Christmas. My family set me the date of Bonfire night (5th November) until I could start getting excited and talking about it, but I've got American friends who had to wait until after Thanksgiving. I don't really know what that is, but if Friends taught me anything, it's that you watch Football and eat a roast dinner, so apparently Thanksgiving is pretty much celebrated every Sunday in my house.
I can't put my Christmas Decorations yet, as we're still doing up our house (don't mean to brag but there's a bath in my living room) but I do start planning my Christmas Gifts around now. Usually because I make them.
This year is no different, a homemade edible gift, is the nicest thing I think you can receive.
First of all - If someone got me something for Christmas that involved them washing up, I know they love me.
Second of all - You get food. Homemade food.
Finally - You have no piles of useless stuff clogging up your house for weeks after.
So what to make?
-They only have three ingredients.
-They are sparkly (Everyone has one friend that loves a bit of sparkle)
-They take less than half an hour to make.
-They taste like candy canes.
-Everyone will be impressed with your sugar crafting skills, and will probably make you their best friend.
You're probably thinking you need a lot of expensive equipment for these, but actually, you only need one specialist bit of kit - A sugar thermometer. You can pick one up for about £4, and it's handy as anything to have.
YOU WILL NEED:
420g white granulated sugar
140g Liquid glucose (light corn syrup for my American Friends)
2 fl oz (about 60ml) water
3 teaspoons peppermint Extract
FOR DECORATION: (I've included links to the products I used)
NOTE: Working with hot sugar can be dangerous! You can still be a badass AND take steps to insure you are safe. I wouldn't recommend making this with children.
SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO BEFORE COOKING
Before you start, you will need to set up your lollipop making station. Having everything ready is VITAL to making this an easy process and stop you getting burnt.
- You will need to set up a cold bowl of water (ice cold), big enough to submerge the bottom of your saucepan.
- Have your peppermint extract and edible glitter next to the bowl, ready to use.
- You will also need to set up a sheet of baking parchment or a baking sheet (and put that onto something heatproof like a heatproof chopping board of baking tray). Sprinkle a small amount of edible glitter onto the sheet under the lollipop sticks.
- Set out your lollipop sticks ready to pour your sugar onto. You won't have time to do this once you start cooking.
(There are two ways to make your lollipop shapes. The first is freestyle pouring, however if you want uniform lollie shapes, use the foil wraps off tealights, cut a slit for your lollipop sticks and use those. See below)
My lollipop making station
(Top row made the tealight way, bottom row made free style)
Now all that's done, let's get to making these bad boys!
FIRST OF ALL
Put your liquid glucose, sugar and water into a pan and warm it up on a medium heat, mixing until all the sugar is dissolved. Whack up the heat to high, attach your sugar thermometer to the side and let it come to the boil. You shouldn't need to stir it during this.
Using a brush dipped in water, wash down the sides of the pan to stop sugar crystals forming.
THE COOL PART
Keep an eye on your mixture at all times. It should be bubbling on nicely. Watch the thermometer. Once it reaches 310ºF (hard crack stage) on there, remove it from the heat and submerge into the bowl of cold water. This stops it cooking. Keep stirring it for roughly 5-10 seconds as it cools. This is the time to add your extract and roughly 1/2 teaspoon of edible glitter. Stir it up until it's all combined.
THE HARD PART
Head over to your lollipop making station. Slowly pour your sugar mixture onto the lollipop sticks. The slower you pour, the more control you will have over the shape. The mixture will harden quite quickly, if it becomes unmanageable, just heat it up until it softens slightly.
GLITTER IT UP
Before your creations set, grab your edible glitter and sprinkle more onto the tops. Leave to cool.
After about 10-15 minutes, your lollipops should have hardened. I give mine and extra few minutes so they don't misshapen. They should gently peel off the sheet. If you used the tealight method, they take a little longer to cool, the foils should peel off as well.
They are ready to eat!
These were my 4th attempt at freestyle pouring (it takes a bit of practice) but nothing says 'home made' more than a slightly wonky lollipop.
The different layers of glitter should add the same sparkly effect as here, it really does look quite pretty.