Happy first day of spring! To celebrate I've made a special treat for you with colorful spring flowers.
I've been enamored with edible flowers ever since making candied rose petals earlier this year. By doing a little research (that includes taste-testing) I've found that just because a flower is non-poisonous, doesn't mean it is also yummy. That's why I'm sharing my list of favorite edible flowers. They are all fairly well-known (easy to find) and add a certain something when used sparingly in dessert.
- Hibiscus (you can also find these at specialty markets -or online -packed in syrup!)
I made these without the use of a lollipop mold, and if you make these - do yourself a favor and buy an inexpensive round lollipop mold. I used this method on the King Arthur Flour blog, and although it was successful, it was also messy and I didn't feel comfortable re-using my powdered sugar. I also had to rinse the powdered sugar away under a thin stream of water in order to see the flower. Using a lollipop mold would have made the whole endeavor much more enjoyable, but if you don't have access to candy molds - the powdered sugar method works in a pinch! Here's a little peek at the process.
| Make an indention in powdered sugar with a small flat-bottomed object.  Pour hot candy in the indentation; press a clean, fresh flower face-down into the hot candy.  Quickly cover flower with more hot candy. Let stand until candy hardens.|
Edit 3/28/12: Check out this cute version using decorative quins (sprinkles) by Karen at Trilogy Edibles!
Spring Flower Lollipops
Hard candy recipe from the SprinkleBakes baking book!
Yield: 10 lollipops [click for printable recipe]
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1 dram bottle candy flavoring oil (such as LorAnn, I used Blackberry)
Violet gel food coloring
10 organic whole voila flower heads or pansy petals, washed and patted dry
10 lollipop sticks
- If you are using a lollipop mold (recommended), lightly grease it with cooking spray. If you are not using a mold, pour 2 cups of powdered sugar into a baking pan with a lip. Create indentations with the bottom of a glass or other flat-bottomed object. Set aside.
- Stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water in a small saucepan and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue to heat without stirring until the bubbling mixture reaches the hard-crack stage (302 degrees F). Remove pan from heat.
- Stir in flavoring oil and a small amount of gel food coloring. Be extra careful because the mixture will bubble and sputter with these additions.
- When the mixture has stopped bubbling, drop it into molds by the spoonfuls (or powdered sugar indentations) using a metal spoon. Carefully place a viola flower head or petal face down on the hot candy. Use the end of a lollipop stick to slightly press it into the candy. Quickly pour just enough hot candy over the flower head or petal to cover the backside, encasing it completely in the candy. Place a lollipop stick in the candy and turn 1/2 turn. Allow the candy to harden, then remove from molds. If using powdered sugar to mold, you may choose to rinse off the excess sugar under a thin stream of warm water - either way, the flower will become more visible once the lollipop is being enjoyed.
Note: Make sure the mold you use is large enough to accommodate the size of the flowers and petals you are using.