By Miche Bacher, owner of Mali B Sweets and author, Cooking with Flowers
Every time we make these at Mali B, they elicit oohs and ahhs from our clients and customers. I like to make them free-form (without a candy mold), but you can use hard-candy molds if you prefer perfectly formed pops. This is one of those recipes where you have to decide whether to use organic sugar. We do, but it gives our pops a less-than-clear look. So if it's clarity you want, go for refined sugar. A silicone baking mat (such as Silpat) is a necessity if you don't use hard candy molds.
What You Need: Lollipop sticks 12 to 18 (about 1 cup) viola flowers 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup corn syrup 1/3 cup water
1. If you're using a mold, coat it with nonstick spray and insert pop sticks in the cavities. If you're making free form pops, line a baking sheet or a piece of marble with a silicone baking mat. Place lollipop sticks about 3 inches apart. Put 1 viola flower in each mold or at the base of each lollipop stick on the baking mat.
2. Place a large metal bowl full of ice cubes next to the cooking surface. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Then let it come to a boil and insert a candy thermometer. Boil syrup mixture without stirring until the temperature reaches 305 degrees. Remove from heat and immediately place the saucepan on top of the ice to stop the cooking.
3. Carefully pour hot syrup into candy molds or drizzle it over flowers. Let pops cool completely, about 20 minutes, before moving. Makes 10 lollipops.
Pansy petal pops are best stored standing up. Use a piece of styrofoam or poke holes in the lid of a plastic food container to keep pops upright and separated. Keep away from humidity.