I had such a great weekend: we didn't have to be anywhere and spent the time on playdates, at the library and home. The weather was just gorgeous so the kids played outside most of the time, and I just read. I read two novels, which is something I have not done with such immersion (?) since my first baby was, well, a baby. I'm paying for it today with extremely sore eyes, but I would do it again if I could in a heartbeat.
So I'm sure you realize that by reading two novels over two days my kids did not get much attention from me. They are very, very good children - a fact that I am grateful for every single day - and such behavior (though common around here) does not go un-rewarded. I was looking for something in the basement when I came across a recipe I tried a few years ago for hard lollipops made with Jello powder and. I knew they would be tickled to eat them, and a little surprised that they would really just appear out of nowhere. It's a fun kind of thing to do, but you must be quick in order to get all the candy out of the pan in time. The little bit of stress in the end is worth every bit, because the lollys are ready to eat about ten minutes after that. Then you can get back to your book....
For this recipe you will need:
Two cookie sheets covered with parchment paper
20 or so 4 inch lollipop sticks
heavy bottomed saucepan
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 small box flavored gelatin powder ( I used peach)
Arrange lollipop sticks on parchment covered baking sheets. I used ten per sheet, but in the end I did not end up with 20 lollipops. I just wanted to make sure I had enough at the beginning so I wouldn't be scrambling when I had hot candy on the go.
Stir the sugar, corn syrup and butter in the saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly bring it to a boil, stirring frequently. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
Continue cooking and stirring until the temperature reads 275 degrees F.
When your mixture has come to the correct temperature, stir in the gelatin powder.
You have to stir it for a couple of minutes to completely dissolve the gelatin. The first time I made these I didn't stir long enough, and you could feel the little gelatin granules on your tongue. They tasted just fine, but I wanted to see if I could do better this time.
Now, here's the part where you need to work quickly. Take your pot to where your baking trays are and start spooning out the hot candy over the tops of the lollipop sticks. It's going to be a little messy and you will not have perfect circles. The other important thing to remember is not to get any candy on you. It's hot!! And if you do happen to get a bit on your finger, for heaven's sake don't put that finger in your mouth. I'm speaking from experience here.
I didn't end up with 20 lollipops before the mixture got too hard to spoon out, but I got most of it, and certainly enough to keep the kids in sweets for the next few days.
You have to let them cool for a bit, but probably only about ten minutes or so. The kids are really keen to try a home made lollipop - it's not something you see everyday. They won't taste like any lollipop you can buy either. If you have ever tasted/made something called butter crunch, this is what these taste like. You notice the butter first, then the gelatin flavor. The texture is somewhere between hard and slightly crumbly if that makes any sense. Actually the inside of a Skor bar would be the best comparison. They are good: I have enjoyed a few myself since I made them:)
Oh, and the best way to get any hardened candy off of your pan is to fill it with water and bring it to a boil; or put it in a dishwasher with really hot water. The candy just melts and then you can pour the liquid down the drain. This will save you lots of scrubbing!