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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Graduation lollipops

Last year, my friend told me that she didn't think I should bake for my own birthday, but should instead have someone bake for me.  I ended up making 2 different varieties of mini cupcakes -- Kit Kat and S'mores -- for my own birthday celebration.  I enjoyed doing it -- I really did -- and wouldn't have expected anyone else to have done it.  So now that my graduation is approaching, I figured I should make some graduation treats.  And although I'm sure that some would recommend that this be another time that someone else should be making the treats, I disagree.  First of all, I finally have some free time again (thanks to submitting my doctoral portfolio on May 6th!!).  Secondly, I spent an obscene amount of money at the baking store this week, including the purchase of some graduation-themed goodies.  And lastly, I have about 300 graduation celebrations over the next week and a half, and wanted to try to bring some to each event.  OK, so 300 may be an overexaggeration, but I do have a bunch of graduation-related celebrations.

I started off with 4-colored chocolate lollipops, with both milk and dark chocolate graduation caps.  I colored white chocolate yellow and red - yellow for the tassle and red for the ribbon on the diploma. 

Then, after I made the lollipops, I made a few graduation hat and diploma chocolates (not lollipops) that I thought would make some cute cupcake toppers (sorta like the ones I made for my sister's Law School graduation last year) - but I digress.

Since there are no "recipes" for these, I figured I would give you some helpful hints for making detailed, multicolored chocolates (lollipops or otherwise).

Here are my words to the wise:

1. When making colored chocolate, you need to use powdered food coloring.  You can't add any liquid or moisture to the chocolate (ie. liquid or gel food coloring) - it ruins the chocolate.

2. Despite the simplicity of them, my favorite "tools" for details when making chocolates are toothpicks and lollipop sticks (depending on how small the details are).

3. When layering chocolates, I always put the mold in the fridge for a few minutes before adding the next layer.  I find that if the first layer is still wet when I add the next layer, there is a tendency for the color to bleed.  And that's not pretty.

4.  Always put the lollipop stick in at the very end, and roll it so that it is covered in chocolate.  Don't put the stick in and then fill with chocolate.  It's just the way I do it, and it works.

5. After all the cavities in the mold are filled, gently bang it on the countertop a few times to get the air bubbles out.  It makes the finished product look so much nicer!

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