First of all, bravo if you are now singing the adverb song from School House Rock. Way to kick it old school. Second, sorry if the song gets stuck in your head all day, it just had to be done.
I did it because I want you to be thinking about flavors all day long. Truly, madly, deeply thinking about flavors. Why you ask?
Because lately I find I've been forgetting about them. Not that I haven't been using them, but I've been forgetting to tell YOU about them.
Here in the test kitchen there are no less than four places that we keep stashes of LorAnn flavors. Susan, Sue, Andrea and Charlotte each have their own sections on their stations. You'll see some of the same flavors repeated, but each of us has our own favorites and our own favorite uses for the oils. I'd like to take this blog today and show you some of the ways we've been making good use of these special flavors.Let's start with the easy ones:
*Add a few drops to icing, glaze or cookie dough.
*Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to cake batter or quick bread/ muffin batter.
*Add a few drops to your favorite fruit smoothie. I'm a big fan of almond in my banana berry oat smoothie in the morning.
*Add 1/2 teaspoon to your favorite ice cream base to create new one-of-a-kind flavors in your own kitchen.Want something a little bit different? Try these ideas:
*Add a drop to melted chocolate before you dip fruit in it. Banana dipped in butter rum chocolate anyone?
*Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to stabilized whipped cream for a mousse cake or pie filling.
* Add 1/8 teaspoon to one cup of sugar or salt and mix well. Allow to dry and use to rim the glass of your favorite drink. You'll get a burst of flavor in every sip.And now for something completely different:
*A few drops of your favorite oil on a cotton ball can be placed next to your bath for an aromatherapy treat while you soak.
*Put off pests with peppermint. A few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball can repel unwanted critters from a cupboard or closet.
It is very important to have your workstation, ingredients, molds etc. all in place and ready to go before you begin to cook your sugar. Cooked sugar waits for no one and once you've started cooking it, there is no "pause" button.
Fill a half sheet pan or other flat tray with a lip with confectioners' sugar. Smooth it out lightly to an even layer that nearly reaches the top of the pan.
Using your chosen shape, press evenly and firmly into the sugar to create a well, or depression to act as your mold. Here I'm using a 1/8th cup measure.
Any firm, round, smooth shape will do for pressing the mold. Scout around the kitchen to see what you can find.
The sugar becomes compact and smooth, creating a simple but sturdy mold.
Press out several molds in the same tray. Off-set each one so that the lollipop stick will not run into the next mold. As you can see from the note above, be careful about the placement of the sticks, you won't be able to change it once you start pouring sugar.
As you prepare to begin cooking sugar, do yourself a huge favor and fill a bowl with ice water and place it in the sink. Hot sugar will stick and burn skin easily. If you have ice water on hand, you can save yourself from a serious burn by plunging into the water.
Now that your molds are ready, you are ready to prepare the sugar. Place one cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of corn syrup in a large microwave safe measuring cup, preferably one with a pouring spout. Stir the mixture well until all the sugar is dampened.
Cover the container with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Remove from the microwave, CAREFULLY remove the plastic wrap, gently stir the mix. Re-cover with a new piece of plastic wrap and microwave on high for another 3 minutes.
With the sugar fully cooked, now you can add flavoring and color. LorAnn flavors are the ones we have tested and found to offer the truest flavors and a very very extensive list to choose from.
**Caution! Be careful not to place your face directly over the sugar as you stir in your flavors and colors. That steam is potent! **
Stir quickly to incorporate the color and flavor. The mixture will bubble and snap at first, but will settle down as it cools slightly.
Now is the time to work quickly. Carefully fill each mold with the sugar. You can fill right to the top of the mold.
Don't worry about little drizzles between molds. You'll need to keep moving while the sugar is still liquid.
When all the molds are full, set the tray aside for drying. Depending on the room temperature and humidity, this can take a few hours, or overnight.
In the mood for homemade candy but not really into making molds? Just pour your colored and flavored liquid goodness onto a parchment lined sheet pan. For this batch we made butter rum with a touch of brown food coloring. Fond memories of LifeSavers floated around the kitchen as this one cooked.
Wheee! Just like stained glass, but tastier.
If you are quick, you can score the candy sheet while it is still warm and break into nice even pieces. If you are like me and play with the candy for the camera, you'll end up with more uneven pieces.
Dust the broken candy pieces with confectioners' sugar and store them in an airtight container for several weeks.
As for the lollipops, once they are solid and firm just pick them up from the tray of confectioners' sugar, dust them off and serve or wrap for gift giving.
Since I can't give you a lolly, I'll give you a smile instead...
Jen in Customer Service stopped by with her son Dash just as these pops were ready for tasting. Who could resist such a cutie?! Besides, Dash's t-shirt certainly says it all.
Many thanks to LorAnn (www.lorannoils.com) for sharing their hard candy recipe with us, and for producing such a great product. We'd love to hear your favorite way to use LorAnn flavors, just leave a comment below.