Candy Cane Lollipops

>> Saturday, December 7, 2013


Candy Cane Lollipops


On Thursday, I was going to my friend's holiday cookie exchange, and I really wanted to do something different this year. Twenty or thirty ladies get together for this party, all wonderful cooks and creative women, so these cute little lollipops were the perfect thing to bring.

The day before, I was at the hospital for some medical tests and while I was waiting, they turned on the Food Network channel for me. I don't watch daytime TV, so this was the first time that I was introduced to Giada de Laurentiis, the perfectly beautiful woman with a life that makes everyone else's world seem drab. Especially if you're watching her show in an uncomfortable hospital gown with your behind hanging out the back.

Despite Giada's everlasting perfection, I decided to leap into this new recipe while waiting for the test results the next day. I headed over to my friend Becky's with my trusty chocolate truffle recipe and the new recipe for these suckers. The problem was, I couldn't find mini candy canes anywhere. For years I've been passing store displays bursting with mini candy cane packages, everywhere I turned.

Until this year when I actually wanted to buy some, which turned out to be the year of the Tragic Mini Candy Cane Shortage.


I felt decidedly un-Giada-like while tramping through store after store, grumbling about the holidays in general and candy cane manufacturers in particular. Luckily, Becky knew exactly where to find what we needed, and at that store we decided that we also needed sushi and champagne cocktails to restore my shaky holiday spirit. I assure you that a couple of Bellinis later, I was much more jolly.



I didn't know that if you put mini candy canes into a warm oven for a few minutes, they soften enough to mold around lolly sticks. It turns out there is about a ten-second window between "softened enough to mold" and "melted into a flat red-and-white blob".



It took us quite a while to figure out the correct moment to pull them out of the oven. What I can tell you is that candy canes vary in softness so that temperatures and times are just suggestions. Try testing one or two first so that you don't ruin an entire pan (or two) and have to run back to the store for replacement candy canes. Yes, we had to do that the other day.

Heart-shaped Candy Cane Lollipops


Don't let this intimidate you, though. These are super easy to make and I got SO many compliments at the cookie party. Giada couldn't have done any better, although she probably would have eaten less ham at the party.



Ingredients

32 mini candy canes
16 6-inch lollipop sticks
12 oz almond bark or white chocolate chips
3-4 drops peppermint oil
Christmas-colored candy sprinkles

Directions

Heat the oven to 235 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pairs of candy canes into a heart shape, leaving room underneath each one to insert the stick after they come out of the oven.

Heat the candy canes for 4-7 minutes, until just soft enough to press a stick into each heart. We noticed that our canes developed little candy bubbles along the surface at just the right moment.

Slide the parchment and candy onto a counter and quickly press the lollipop sticks upward into the curved center of the two canes, then pinch the two bottom edges around the stick. If they don't stick securely, don't worry - the chocolate will hold the whole heart together. Let cool for a few minutes.

On the stove over low heat, or in the microwave, heat the almond bark or white chocolate until melted smooth, stirring frequently. If you heat it too long, it will become grainy with sugar crystals; just stir in a bit of coconut oil or shortening and beat it until smooth. Stir in the peppermint oil. Spoon a little chocolate into the center of each heart, then decorate with the candy sprinkles. Let the chocolate harden before serving.



Makes 16 lollipops.

1 comments:

Rebecca Stahr January 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM  

These turned out beautiful!

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