Monday, 8 August 2011

Candy: What's Hot Now: Love Pops

Candy: What's Hot Now
These articles that had the largest increase in popularity over the last week
Love Pops
Aug 8th 2011, 10:02

Love Pops are the perfect candy for Valentine's Day. These eye-catching lollipops are made out of brownies and formed into a beautiful, tasty bouquet of Valentine's Day shapes. You could use this same basic method and form your pops into someone's name, or a sweet message, like "Be Mine."

I wrote this recipe using brownies, but you can substitute crumbled cake, banana bread, pound cake, or similar pastries with good results. If you do make substitutions, you may need to adjust the amount of frosting used to compensation for different textures and moisture levels.

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or waxed paper.

2. Place the brownies in a large bowl, and crumble them roughly with your hands. Add the chocolate frosting, and begin to mix it with your hands into the brownies, working until the brownies are crumbs and the mixture is evenly moistened. You want the brownie mixture to easily hold together when you press it into a ball, but still retain a little texture. My personal preference is to have some “crumb” left to the brownie, so that it is not just a gooey frosting ball. Of course, tastes vary, so add more frosting if you want a fudgier pop.

3. Spread the brownie mixture onto the baking sheet, top with another layer of foil or waxed paper, and use a rolling pin to roll it into an even thickness, about 3/4-inch high. Refrigerate the brownie mixture for several hours until it is very firm.

4. Once the brownie mixture is firm enough to cut and shape, use cookie cutters or a sharp knife to create the shapes that you want. To make the pops picture, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make hearts, but I didn't have a lips-shaped cutter or a tulip cutter, so I improvised. To make lips: I cut out small circles (about 1.25 inch circumference) and mashed them down until they were an oval shape. Then I pinched the ends to make them thinner. I took a paring knife and cut the top to form the familiar "cupid's bow" shape to the top lip. To make tulips: I used the same circle cutter, and this time mashed the circles just a little to make slight ovals. Then I used a paring knife to cut two small triangles from the top, creating three peaks. When the brownie mixture is firm enough, it is quite easy to cut precisely, so you could use a knife to make any number of custom shapes in this way. You can always press the brownie scraps together and re-roll and re-chill it to create more shapes.

5. Once all of your shapes are cut, they are probably getting warm, so return them to the refrigerator to chill for an hour, or to the freezer for about 20 minutes.

6. Once they are again very firm, melt the candy coating of your choice in the microwave and stir until completely smooth. Use a skewer to poke a hole in the bottom of each brownie shape. Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted coating, then stick this end into the hole made by the skewer, to help hold the stick in place.

7. Dip the pops one at a time in the coating, holding the dipped pop over the bowl and allowing excess coating to drip back in the bowl. You can place them on a baking sheet to set, or you can stick them into a Styrofoam block to have them set upright.

8. If you want to decorate them with sprinkles or chopped nuts or coconut, sprinkle these toppings on when the coating is still tacky and not completely set. If you want to decorate them with melted chocolate, you can use a piping bag fitted with a small round attachment, a paper cone, or a plastic baggie with a hole snipped in the corner.

9. Love Pops can be served immediately, or they will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. The chocolate coating will get softer as time progresses. Allow to come to room temperature for best taste and texture when serving.

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