One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to cozy up with a mug of hot cider, and these little cinnamon mulling sticks make spicing your cup a no-brainer. They're so easy to make, too! I didn't even get out my candy thermometer - they're made in the microwave!
I have a great big list of make-and-give goodies to share this year, and this is one of my favorites so far. These can be made a week ahead of time (in a non-humid environment) and they look extra cute packaged in cellophane bags or little boxes.
I made these in a silicone brownie mold, but you could use most any hard candy mold. You could even pour the candy on a baking sheet and use the cinnamon for a lollipop stick. I think these would make perfect stocking stuffers, and they only take about 6 1/2 minutes to make (!) so it won't be a difficult project to fit into a busy holiday schedule.
These mulling sticks add plenty of cinnamon flavor and sweetness to plain apple cider. Be sure the cider you buy has no added sugar, otherwise it'll be too sweet.
Yield: about 12 servings [click for printable recipe]
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 dram cinnamon flavoring oil
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
Hard candy mold or heat proof silicone mold
- Spray candy mold with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a 4 cup glass measure, mix sugar and corn syrup together until a thick, uniform paste forms. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes 15 seconds. Quickly stir mixture and cover with a new piece of plastic wrap. Microwave for another 3 minutes 15 seconds - keep an eye on the mixture, the end result should be a slightly golden liquid. Remove from microwave and stir with a clean spoon. After the mixture stops boiling, add the food color and flavoring - be careful! Mixture will steam and sputter with these additions.
- Pour liquid candy into a prepared silicone or hard candy mold. Let stand for a few minutes then press a cinnamon stick into the candy so that it stands upright. If cinnamon sticks want to lean, prop them up by laying toothpicks or extra cinnamon sticks on either side. When candy has hardened, remove from molds and package in cellophane bags.
- To enjoy, pour 8 oz. hot apple cider in a mug and stir in a cinnamon stick.
- This recipe should be prepared in a standard household microwave (600-700 watts). Mini microwaves and commercial microwaves are not recommended.
- Please use caution when making this recipe. Candy mixture is extremely hot when in liquid state.