Café de Olla Alegría
Amaranth is a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor: It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.This take on alegría, a traditional Mexican candy made from puffed amaranth seeds, features the flavors of café de olla, a Mexican style of coffee brewed with cinnamon and orange peel and sweetened with piloncillo, a raw brown sugar with rich molasses flavor. Here, maple syrup and granulated sugar stand in for piloncillo, adding a rich chewiness. The pan is hot enough to pop the amaranth when a few drops of water evaporate on contact.
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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.