Cider Caramel Lollipops

Autumn, Sweet Recipes • 17 Oct 2011

I ritually reserve candy-making for the holiday season. Even though we don’t celebrate Christmas, candy and confections are an essential part of our annual winter repertoire. From November through the New Year, the air in our house is rich with the provocative scents of sweet and salty chocolate sandwich cookies, sugar-dusted spongy marshmallows, hazelnut madeleines, fruit-flavored jellies, crystallized candied nuts and nutty marzipan cookies.

Jumping the gun on candy this year, I begin to think I’m compensating for something. Or perhaps I’m over-compensating. I’ve long since stopped feeling inadequate around the holidays. I stopped questioning, as a young child, why Santa skipped our chimney. But the feeling of missing out on the cheer, the food and the togetherness never fully subsided. And I’m feeling it tenfold this year.

As hard as it is to admit, I’m ready for the first light dusting of sugar-like snow. I’m ready for ice crystals to hitch onto our glassy, frigid windows. Ready for the overwhelming feeling of warmth that radiates from baked goods in my oven; the distinctly sweet, familiar aroma, wrapping itself around me like a hug from a long-lost relative. I’m feeling ready to set up camp and hibernate in my kitchen.

I’ve commenced my sugary bounty with a very simple, almost childishly easy candy: caramel apple cider lollipops, flavored with a hint of freshly grated cinnamon. The finished product resembles petite stained-glass rounds, glassy jewels perched proudly on a stick.

To make lollipops, boil a mixture of basic ingredients: sugar and water; alternatively, boil sugar, water and corn syrup until it just begins to caramelize. After quickly removing hot caramel from the heat, add flavoring. In this case, I used a small amount of reduced, super-tart apple cider and freshly ground cinnamon. The cinnamon lends an aromatic spicy flavor. While the apple cider is not immediately detectable, the spice works with the juice reduction to create the perfect autumn flavor. Keep in mind that the darker the caramel, the more bitter the final product. I happen to like dark caramel, the flavor almost reminiscent of toasted marshmallows.

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There are many options for flavoring lollipops: fresh lemon or orange zest, fruit juice, extracts, spices, tea reductions or fresh herbs such as mint or rosemary.

I can’t wait to try other flavor combinations. And once we hit the inevitable February slump, I’m sure I’ll be ready for mojito flavored pops, or anything that tastes of sun and summer.

Caramel Cider Lollipops

4 tablespoons apple cider
Vegetable oil (if using parchment paper)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Bring apple cider to boil in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Set aside.

2. Place a silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. If using parchment, coat paper with a thin layers of vegetable oil.

3. Bring sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Insert candy thermometer and boil, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 310 degrees (hard-crack stage). Once the caramel reaches hard-crack stage, about 12-15 minutes, remove from heat and quickly stir in apple cider and cinnamon.

4. Spoon the hot caramel onto the silpat or parchment. As soon as you pour the syrup, carefully place lollipop sticks in the candy.

5. Allow the candy to cool and harden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a pastry spatula to remove the lollipops from the silpat. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Yield: about 15 lollipops.

2 Responses

  1. Latesha Dircks

    I’d perpetually want to be update on new articles on this site, saved to bookmarks ! .

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