Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Cactus Lollipops


Cactus Lollipops!

Desert Dessert!

So each November for the last several years my awesome hubby and I have made the trek out to Nevada for an auto convention.

Since we had never been to the desert, on that first trip we incorporated a day trip out to the Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam.

To this day I am still in awe of the raw beauty and incredible scenery that is around every bend. 

Our annual trip has included visits to, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Sedona, Albuquerque, and more! Plus a cross country drive all the way back to Georgia! 

I can't wait for our trip this year.
One thing I look forward to seeing are all the cactus plants. They are sooo amazing. And yes I had to touch one just to see how sharp those pointy little spines are! Ouch!πŸ˜„

The sweet thing about my lollipops is that you won't poke your tongue out when you eat one!πŸ˜›
Two views!
For my lollipops I used I used Lorann's recipe.
It works perfectly.

Sugar, light corn syrup, water, color, and flavoring are all you need to turn out these cute little cactus lollies!

Well, you do also need lollipop molds, ready-made sugar flowers, (or make your own fondant ones like i did), green jimmie sprinkles, lollipop sticks, non-stick spray, parchment paper, and a candy thermometer!

I found these cactus lollipop molds online!
I was going to use ready-made sugar flowers but wasn't happy with the way they looked so I used pink fondant, a tiny flower cutter, and jumbo candy sprinkles for the centers to make my own. Aaand..yikes-Sorry about the blurry photo! 
To begin, cover a sheet pan with parchment paper, attach clips to lollipop molds, spray molds with non-stick spray, and insert lollipop sticks into molds. 
 For maximum use of space I alternated the placement of molds.
Okay, so when I saw the gap between my mold and my pan, I kinda freaked out a little.

Don't freak out. Keep scrolling.
We'll go ahead and get started on our candy first. I always use my heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot and my candy thermometer for every batch of candy I make.

Add sugar, corn syrup, and water to saucepan and stir over medium heat till sugar is dissolved.
Crank up the heat to medium high and continue cooking without stirring.
Add coloring at 260 degrees fahrenheit without stirring. Continue cooking until candy reaches 300 degrees fahrenheit and remove from heat.

When sugar mixture has stopped boiling, add coloring and stir. To get this deep dark green I used 3 drops of mint green soft gel paste.
 One thing I didn't mention earlier is that I heated my glass measuring cup in my 250 degree oven while made my candy.
I think this helped keep the candy mixture hot enough while I poured and decorated my lollipops..Although I still needed to work quickly!
 It can get pretty difficult trying to take photos of each process while working with heavy pans and hot candy. Every photo i have posted on my blog has been shot by yours truly..until today!

My talented grandson, Issac, spent the day with me and I asked him to take a shot of me filling the molds. The photo above was taken by him! Good job, Isaac! πŸ’š

Okay, continuing below you can see where the candy seeped out from under the mold. No problem!
After sprinkling on the green jimmies..
And after the lollipops had set, I used a sharp knife to cut away any excess while the molds were still attached to the lollipops.

It works if there is a little or a lot. Super easy!
Here is a photo of my awesome helper today!

The molds pop off effortlessly as you remove the clips. I think we were both surprised by just how easy they came off!
With just a little dab of corn syrup, I attached the pink flowers.

I used pineapple flavoring and we really loved it! We had enough candy mixture to easily make a dozen pops, but we made six and then played around with the remainder!

Hard Candy Recipe By LORANN

2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
¾ cup water
1 dram (1 teaspoon)* LorAnn super-strength flavoring, any flavor 
LorAnn liquid food coloring or gel food coloring (as desired)
Hard candy molds (optional) 
Powdered sugar (optional)
Sucker bags & twist ties (optional)

Use of a candy thermometer is recommended

*Please note that our Cinnamon, Clove and Peppermint flavors are particularly potent. You may wish to reduce the amount used for these flavors.

DIRECTIONS

Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the stove. The use of metal spoons and measuring utensils is recommended. Line a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with foil and lightly oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray (such as PAM). If using molds, lightly spray cavities of clean, dry candy molds with non-stick cooking spray. Insert sucker sticks.  If using molds, you may also want to spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. If after pouring the syrup into the molds you have excess candy, you can pour it onto the foil for break-up candy.
  1. In a heavy (good quality) 2-quart saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. 
  2. Insert candy thermometer if using, making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring. 
  3. Early in the cooking process, "wash down" any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. 
  4. Continue to cook the syrup, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260ΒΊ F; add drops of coloring until desired hue is achieved. Do not stir; boiling action will incorporate color into syrup. 
  5. Remove from heat precisely at 300° F (temperature will continue rising), or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water (hard crack stage). After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and stir. USE CAUTION WHEN ADDING FLAVORING TO AVOID RISING STEAM. 
  6. Carefully pour syrup into prepared molds or onto the prepared greased and foil lined cookie sheet. (As the sugar mixture begins to set up, you may want to score with a large knife to mark squares.) Do not refrigerate. 
  7. Cool completely. Break sheet candy into small pieces and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers between waxed paper. If making lollipops, do not dust with powdered sugar, but place in sucker bags and secure with twist ties. Store hard candy in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.
Thank you all for stopping by and
Remember To Eat Sweet!
Karen 😊

Friday, August 10, 2018

Caramel Filled Chocolate Clam Shells With Candy Pearls


School may have already begun, but it is still Summer and I'm not ready to let it go!!

We have just recently returned from a trip to St. Augustine. It is such a pretty and unique beach town and of course we visited the Fountain of Youth. I got one hilarious video of my hubby drinking from that famous fountain! Does it really make you look younger? Well, let's just say, the jury is still out on that one!πŸ˜›

We made another couple of beach trips earlier this year..one with the kiddos and grandkiddos to Destin, and our anniversary trip to Cape Cod and Nantucket. That's where the idea for these chocolate clam shell candies came from.

I found the cutest little trinket bracelet in Destin with a clam shell and pearl! I thought, how sweet would it be in sugar form?!

Then, upon check-in to Union Street Inn, they had an adorable box of anniversary candies waiting for us!
There were these teeny little adorable chocolate whales. Well, I had to check out the candy shop that they came from, so we took a walk over and found all kinds of delightful and yummy candies. I fell in love with their chocolate and caramel oyster shells with candy pearls! 

So here we go..making them with the clam shell molds!
A candy pearl surprise! 
Here are the items needed to make the clam shells. I haven't bought ready-made caramels in a while since I like homemade better. But I wanted these to be super easy. If you'd like to try my homemade caramels recipe, you can click on the link.
I used these chocolate molds with six 3 inch shells that I found on Amazon.
After melting the chocolate candy wafers on the stove-top over low heat, I used a food only paintbrush to fill in the chocolate molds. 
Add a little more melted chocolate into each mold and refrigerate till candy is set.
Gently turn candies out onto parchment paper.
I dusted my candy shells with gold pearl dust. I think I went a little overboard.
Less is more!
Caramel! Oh this is gettin' good!

I used about one caramel for each shell. I placed six caramels in a small microwave-safe dish, added a dash of heavy cream, and melted in 30 second increments on defrost power. It took about 45 seconds total.

Spoon a little dollop of melted caramel into chocolate shell.

Mmm...this combo!
Spoon a little more melted chocolate over the caramel, add a sprinkling of sea salt and plop on the candy pearl!
Oh yeah, baby!πŸ˜‹
My sweet inspiration..which just so happens to be the name of the candy shop on Nantucket!
I shouldn't have used the first shell i made..it looks kinda rough. But you get the idea!
We so enjoyed our time here in Nantucket. Biking to the beach, sailboating into the sunset, and of course eating! Here we are celebrating our anniversary at Galley Beach. They had a lovely table set up for us inside, but then I saw these set up on the beach!
It was so cold, but they gave me a blanket and I sure used it!

Let's just keep on celebrating this sweet summer, Karen 😊

Monday, July 30, 2018

3D Candy Christmas Trees For Christmas in July!


Merry Christmas in July!

Today is my granddaughter, Princess Lydia's 4th birthday and it's been a great day of celebrating the blessing that she is to our family!

But I didn't want the day to get away before sharing my annual Christmas in July treat with you!

My favorite thing about these trees is..they stand up! You can easily make your own Christmas Tree Farm holiday platter with these holiday cuties. Or you could place them at each setting as party favors!


I've made so many different candy bar crafts in the past several months that I think I'll just dub this, "The Year of The Kit Kat".πŸ˜‰
So last month I found the cutest little popsicle Christmas tree crafts online and thought they would be so sweet made out of candy. What do you think?!

I was so happy with the way these turned out. When my granddaughter saw them, she declared, "Oh, those are nice"!
I used: Kit Kat bars, mini Kit Kat bars, green candy melts, sixlets, yellow fondant, and yellow pearl dust.

Tools I used were: small star cutter, food grade paintbrushes, and fondant roller.
Roll out fondant and cut stars.
In honor of Miss Lydia who loves all things sparkly, to the stars I added this pretty, yellow, pearl dust! Perfect! 
Assembling these candy trees is so easy!

Cut or break, (i suggest cutting them to minimize breakage) Kit Kats into 4 sections.

You will need 3 regular strips and one mini bar for each tree. 
Melt candy melts in the microwave.
If they are too hot, wait a couple of minutes before applying to candy bars as they will melt the chocolate.

 Using the paintbrush, apply melted candy to attach each section at the corners. Let set till hardened.
Let's "perty up them trees"!

Y'all do know I'm a city and a country girl!πŸ˜›

Paint the Kit Kat sections with green candy melts and place the sixlets candy Christmas tree lights.

Attach mini candy bar trunk and fondant stars with a dab of melted candy.
I love these festive colors!
I have loved every minute of the Hallmark Christmas movies.
I am not ready to let them go yet!
But thankfully, the Christmas season is less than 4 months away!

Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all a Happy July!

Life is sweet, Karen

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Kit Kat Flags for the 4th of July



With the 4th of July only a few days away, I wanted to share this crafty treat with you!

It's so simple and quick to put together but still cute as can be. Cute & patriotic!

I used white chocolate Kit Kat bars, red, white and blue M&M's, white candy melts (for "glue"), white snowflake sprinkles, and striped red paper straws.
 Use a food safe paint brush to apply melted candy melts to back of candy bar.
Attach straw and let set. 
Sorry I didn't get a photo of that!!
 Using the same paint brush method, apply M&M's to Kit Kat bar. I made the first couple with only four blue M&M's, but liked the flags better with six!

Now apply the snowflake star sprinkles to the blue M&M's. That's all folks!
"You're a grand old flag
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave"!
Wishing you all a Sweet and Happy 4th of July, Karen 😊

Monday, June 4, 2018

By The Sea Is My Favorite Place To Be

And we're off to the seashore!

My wonderful hubby of nearly 27 years and I are off on our anniversary road trip in less than twelve hours and I haven't finished packing! Where are we going? To Cape Cod, Nantucket, and a couple of other sweet stops along the way! I'm so excited!

So before we load the cooler and top off the tank, I thought I would share some of my past beachified posts along with some photos from our most recent seaside vacation in Destin, Florida.

With such a love for all things beachy, I found it hard to believe that I had only three beach related posts in all the years of Sugartown Sweets!
Click on the links below to see each one.



My sweet family and I recently enjoyed a few days down in Destin, Florida. Hubby had planned a deep-sea fishing trip for all the guys.

Our first stop in Destin was Lulu's! (click on the link to see their menu). This was the view from our table. We love the food and getting to watch this seaplane take off and land several times was a fun bonus! 
 The best part of the trip! Spending time in such a peaceful and beautiful place with my daughter, son-in-law, and all five of my grandbabies. Have I told you I'm going to have another grandbaby?! She is due to arrive right around my birthday in August! I will then have three granddaughters and three grandsons! I am soooo excited!
Building castles in the sand🎜🎝
And even getting buried in it!
 Early morning and just before sunset are the perfect times of day to play in the water. Of course Lydia and Elizabeth love it any time of day!
Elizabeth is our most dedicated shell hunter. Here's one of the treasures she found on this trip, but she has found starfish, sand dollars and all sorts of beautiful shells! 🐚
Jojo's (he's 17 now and I know I need to start calling him Joseph) favorite pastime is fishing!
And he's very good at it! 🐟🎣🐠
Vitamin Sea!
The morning of the guys' deep sea fishing trip, they had to get up super early to catch their charter. We girls had to get up early too to catch the royal wedding!
 Lydia may not have been as amused with the ceremony as the rest of us girls, but she sure looked cute in her sprinkled donut float!😜
I love these sweet girls!
My sweet daughter Stephanie is the best little mommy!
 Look what our men caught! Good job, Isaac!
 Way to go, Aaron and Joe!
 Not too shabby, honey!
After we met the guys as their boat came back in, it was time for lunch. Boshamps was nearby with yummy food and a pretty view.
Let me just say this was not my dish! Hubby sure does love raw oysters. I just can't! 
My sweet family.πŸ’—
  We πŸ’œ you, Destin!
A great day with a sweet ending..crabbin' after dark!πŸ¦€
It's time to say goodbye to Destin, but not before we pack up the wonderful memories we've made together in this lovely, sun-drenched, seaside beach town.🌞
Have a sweet day, KarenπŸ’™