Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stained-Glass Flower Lollipops


These may be one of my favorite cookie and candy combos and surprisingly were not complicated to make.  Well, I made them more complicated at first, but now I've simplified the process for you so now they'll be relatively easy!

My niece turns 5 on Saturday and her party is a  tea party theme, so she and her friends will enjoy these cookies, perfect for little girls.  The recipe, from the Barnes & Noble published Cookies by Pamela Clark, originally called for doing these with round cutters (perfect for little boys too).  I don't have graduating round cutters, so I though the flowers would be a good alternative. 

The recipe also called for sugar-free lollipops, but I beg to differ.  I started using Dum-dum pops, but there were two issues.  The first is that there are so many flavors in a bag of Dum-dums, you'll be hard pressed to find enough of one flavor to fill more than one cookie.  The other is that despite crushing, the candy didn't melt thoroughly enough to create the colored glass effect.  Luckily I figured this out early enough and was able to run out and get a bag of Jolly Ranchers which crushed and melted perfectly.  I couldn't be happier with the end product.  I picked up the popsicle sticks and treat bags from Michael's and individually wrapped the cookies as favors for the girls.  The cookie is very tasty and the lemon peel helps bridge the gap between cookie and candy.  They froze fine and will be perfect for the party.

Stained-Glass Flower Lollipops


Ingredients

1 stick butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (I used the Lemon Peel from Penzey's and reconstituted it myself)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 2/3 cups flour
1 egg white
nonpareils or rainbow sprinkles
popsicle sticks
1 bag individually wrapped Jolly Ranchers



Cream butter with an electric mixer and then add lemon zest, almond extract, sugar and egg, beating until combined.  Stir in sifted flour in two batches (I used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer to slowly incorporate the flour).


Knead dough on floured surface (or dough mat) until smooth.


Divide dough in half and between sheets of parchment, roll to 1/4 inch thickness.  Transfer to baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, using a rolling pin or meat mallet, crush candies while still wrapped.  Unwrap into small bowls separated by color.



Remove dough from fridge and transfer to dough mat or clean counter/table.  Using your largest (or 4 inch) cutter, cut dough and transfer to parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.


Then, take your next graduating cutters (3 inch, 2 inch and 1 inch) and cut concentric shapes in the 4 inch piece.



Remove dough between the 2 and 3 inch cutters and the 1 inch center.  Repeat with remaining dough.


Note: My cutters didn't have enough graduation to do 4 concentric flower shapes, so I did three and just removed the middle flower.  Then I used that flower to create a smaller lollipop. This eliminated a lot of rerolling.

Slide a popsicle stick under each cookie, being sure to go all the way to the center.


Brush half the cookies with egg white and sprinkle with nonpareils.


Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.  Remove from oven and fill the gaps with crushed candies.


Bake for another 5 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheets.



This shows the difference between the crushed Dum-dums and the Jolly Ranchers. These are both post-baking.  See how clear the Jolly Ranchers (above) are?  The Dum-dums didn't get nearly that melted.

Note: Using the Silpat, it was very easy to peel the cooled candy off the pan.  At minimum, use parchment paper, otherwise you will wait a very long time for the pan to cool and run the risk of breaking the candy or the whole lollipop.

When completely cooled (I allowed them to sit a bit longer on racks), place each lollipop in a treat bag and tie with a bow.


Makes 12 large and 12 small lollipops.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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