Since we've been thinking about family traditions and ways to celebrate the holidays on a budget, I decided it would be fun to make some of these super-simple lollipops. If you are looking for fun, easy, and inexpensive gift ideas, this little jar of lollipops would make a truly sweet treasure for a teacher, a neighbor, or friends who just really don't "need" anything, but you want to remind them that they are loved! Of course, lollipops are not exactly what you would want your kids eating every day ;o( because they are pure sugar. With a little butter and a bit of coloring. . . . and then sprinkled with more sugar! But they really are cute, festive, and charming in a vintage jar with a bit of sparkly ribbon tied around the top.
This is one of the recipes that I have been making for a very long time - since my big kids were tiny tots. Perhaps some of you recognize this cookbook. Either you have one that is as raggedy and tattered as mine . . . or your mother or grandmother has one . . . . or you realize that these cookbooks are truly collectors items! Well, probably not THIS particular cookbook, in such a worn-out condition, but the ones that are mint vintage condition are worth quite a bit on eBay. But mine isn't for sale! I have had this cookbook actually longer than I've had my treasured recipe box. This Betty Crocker cookbook was a wedding gift way back in 1972 ;o)
There, now I've given myself away! But then some of you already know that my oldest daughter is 36 and my youngest daughter just turned 7. So, no secrets around here about my age! I've used this cookbook every holiday season since then, and so many family traditions have come from this book that I will never part with it. I will leave it to one of my daughters so the family traditions will carry on. I've often thought about how family traditions come to be . . . . and why family traditions have been such an important part of my life. Long ago I realized that family and traditions have been so significant in my adult life because that is not something that I have memories of as a child.
Oh, there were a few things . . . . my mama used to make deep-fried "Oolie-Kookins" once in a while. I have no idea where that name came from or what it might mean - perhaps some kind of breakfast bread, as they were kind of like fried sweet dumplings. But that is one recipe that I did not keep in my repertoire mostly because I don't care for fried foods. Not just that fried foods are greasy and supposedly not very healthy (which of course, we didn't think about back then, we were just delighted to have something special!), but fried foods are so messy! I am more of a "tidy cook," and don't like to cook stuff that makes yucky messes ;o) When my mama would make the "Oolie-Kookins" she would take them out of the hot grease in the frying pan and roll them in powdered sugar.
As I think back to my childhood, there are very few other memories of "traditions." Probably because keeping traditions alive takes time .... and money .. . . and energy to make them happen even when times are tough. I don't think that was the most important thing in my mama's mind back then, when she was struggling to keep us fed, clothed, and warm in the middle of the winter in that tiny lake cottage. So, I grew up longing for the security and predictability of traditions. And strong family connections. When it was my turn to be the mama and create and continue family traditions, I decided to create new traditions . . . . and of course, since that was a while ago, those "new" family traditions are now "old" family traditions. So we carry on!
We used to make these lollipops by the dozen! We would make them in every color we could create from our little box of four food coloring bottles. But mostly red and green with candy sprinkles to create various designs, including smiley faces. I can remember watching those little ones excitedly decorate their lollipops and then put them into hand-decorated jars or tins to take to their friends, neighbors, and teachers.
Now, here I am again, carrying on that tradition with our girls. It was so much fun showing them how to make candy, and they dutifully sprinkled the sparkling sugar over the lollipops. So, just in case you want to make something new at your house, of if you are looking for a "new" family tradition, give this one a try!
18 lollipop sticks
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
Few drops of food color
Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, to 270 degrees on candy thermometer (or until a few drops of syrup dropped into very coldwater separate into threads which are hard but not brittle).
Stir in food color. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls over end of each lollipop stick. If desired, while lollipops are still hot, sprinkle or press on candy decorations. Cool lollipops thoroughly before removing from baking sheet.
Makes approximately 18 2" lollipops.To wrap for gift-giving, you can wrap the lollipops individually with Saran Wrap and tie with a ribbon; cover a group of 6 - 8 lollipops with Saran Wrap or clear cellophane wrap and tie with a ribbon; or place in a pretty jar tied with sparkly ribbon and place in a clear plastic gift bag.
Have a blessed Monday, and celebrate the season! There are so many reasons to celebrate, and lollipops are just ONE of the gifts that we have been given as we treasure our family traditions. Later this week I will be posting recipes for our traditional peanut brittle and Great-Grandma's Danish Puff. Chat later, Nina