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Red Hot Lollipops
Say goodbye to red dye no. 5—these scarlet suckers are naturally colored with dried hibiscus flowers. Lollipops owe their clarity and hardness to a lengthy cook time; the resulting evaporation allows the sugar molecules to pack tightly together, yielding these long-lasting treats. Cinnamon oil (and optional cayenne for spice lovers) brings warming flavor to these lollipops. If making the hibiscus dye ahead of time, let it come to room temperature before using to prevent the lollipop mixture from seizing. Stir leftover dye into cocktails or tea to add festive color. To package these for gifting, individually wrap dried lollipops in cellophane and secure with a decorative string or twist tie.
Brown sugar pulls double duty in this brittle: slightly acidic, it combines with alkaline baking soda to produce the thousands of tiny bubbles that are crucial to this brittle’s airy texture. It also gives this candy a deeper caramel color and flavor with a shorter cook time, resulting in a more tender snap. Quality saffron is key to both the flavor and color of this vibrant, crisp brittle that has great crunch. A striking contrast of green pistachios and pink rose petals makes it a visual treat, too.