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.
Covered hibiscus dye will keep in refrigerator up to 1 week. Store lollipops in a cool, dry place up to 2 months.
Cinnamon oil can be purchased on amazon.com. Be sure to use cinnamon oil and not extract, as the latter will evaporate as soon as it hits the hot candy syrup rather than infusing it with flavor.