Sweetheart Pops for your Valentine

I have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. It isn’t something my husband and I ever really got into. I may make a special dinner or something. But with the exception of fresh tulips I pick up at the grocery store, I dislike fresh cut flowers. They are so expensive and they don’t last nearly long enough.  If he were to send me anything, I’d prefer it be a tree for the yard. Pretty hard to find in February in New England though. So, we go about our normal day, which is fine with me. I’m pretty low maintenance. I’m sure he’d disagree, but since I’m doing the writing here, that’s how I see things.

I do pick up a little something for the kiddos though. I get roped in by all the cutesy valentines and frilly things. And I love making crafts with my girl. My boy could care less. He is WAY too cool for that. he is almost 10 after all.

Nina is all about giving. She loves to make cards and presents for people. Just ask the neighbors who tend to find her homemade love notes in their mailboxes, just because. She has had her Valentine’s ready for her classmates for weeks now. She went with Angry Birds. She’s all about Angry Birds.

But that is not nearly enough, so we needed to come up with some other ideas to hand out. We were going to make melted heart crayons. Heather at Whipperberry is just amazing. I made these last year, but they were no way as awesome as her’s. Then I thought about Angry Birds cookies, but to tell you the truth, cookie decorating is not something I have a whole lot of time for these days. So, that idea went out the window.

Then I remembered seeing Martha’s Halloween lollipops. They did not use a mold (cool, because I don’t have one) and they were super cute. These were the winners. I changed the color from orange to pink, the flavor from orange to raspberry and cherry, and added the famous Sweethearts for decoration. We packaged them up and Oila! Super easy. Super cute. Super tasty. You could easily adapt these for any holiday.

But best of all, I got to make them with one of my favorite Valentines.

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Food coloring (desired color and shade)
10 drops favorite flavor (I used cherry)
10 lollipop sticks
Assorted candies, for decorating

Directions
1.Line three baking sheets with Silpats (nonstick baking mats), or grease them generously with vegetable oil. Prepare an ice-water bath. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Stir continuously to dissolve sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, stop stirring and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns golden and reaches 300 degrees to 310 degrees. (hard-crack stage) on the thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Occasionally wash the sides of the pan using a clean brush dipped in cold water to prevent crystals from forming.

2.Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the syrup to a 2-cup heatproof measuring cup. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir in the food coloring and orange oil until completely combined. Be Please be SUPER careful. That candy is HOT! I know this because of the blisters I now have on my fingertips.

3.Working quickly, pour ten 3-inch circles of syrup onto prepared baking sheets. Press in lollipop sticks. With your fingertips or a toothpick, lightly press candies into the syrup. Set aside until completely cooled and hardened.

Adapted from Martha’s Halloween Lollipops

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