Mom, aka Nana, was always the "room mother" in each of our classes at school. She was in the PTA, in charge of "Junior Great Books", ran the "Book Fair", and so much more. Yup, she was one of those Mom's! Only better! One of the fantastic things that she always made were valentine's day suckers. You wont find these anywhere! They are so darling, and for us they hold so many memories. We gave them out to EVERYONE! Now we are lucky enough to make them for our own kids to give out. She has these fantastic molds that she uses to make them. I have no idea where our Mom got hers but she has had these molds our whole lives (30ish years...hee hee hee). You can buy these kind of sucker molds here, at getsuckered.com. How cute is that name!? This is not where she got hers, and we have not bought from here. But they look very similar! The above picture shows our Cherry suckers that we made today. Isn't the cup they are in cute? Growing up, we always had cute cups like that. I can remember going to our Grandparents house (actually, on both sides) and having to use the special dishes they had for us. Now my kids go to my parent's house and also request their special dishes (at Nana & Papa's house they are dishes that are kids size).
This is a recipe card that I made about 10 years ago. Each of us gets a bee in our bonnet at some point, to make a family recipe book. We have so many variations, this was one of my first (I have probably done this 3 times myself!) The best part of these suckers is Nana's genius idea of putting conversation hearts into the middle of the suckers! Brilliant!
To get started, you want to grab your tin of Potato Flakes that holds your sucker molds and other assorted sucker making supplies. Don't have one? Me either, that's why I always have to make these with Nana. Yes, I could buy my own but that wouldn't be much fun, would it!?
Lovely Nana's hands putting the metal molds into the pan. You line these metal molds up along the outside edge of the pan, with the sticks towards the center, for easier pouring when you are filling them with your candy mixture. Make sure to spray your pan and metal molds once they are lined up and put together. Nana's tip is to not spray the whole pan, just where the molds are. Otherwise your sucker sticks will end up with the oil on them.
Now is the fun part. Actually make the candies. Add your Sugar, White Karo Syrup, and 1/2 C Water to a boiling pan (smaller pan, what's the name?). Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally (actually, stir more than occasionally, but less then constantly)Make sure to let the mixture get to 300, on your candy thermometer (or your Mom's thermometer!).
This is the hard crack stage. Add your flavor and color. Nana uses about 3 drops of food coloring. For our suckers today we did 3 drops of red for our cherry, which ends up being a pink. Then, we did about 7 drops of red for our Cinnamon ones (so that we could tell them apart). The rootbeer ones did not need food coloring.You quickly pour this mixture into the molds, just going around the outer edge of the pan where the molds were placed. You will spill outside of the molds. That is ok. After that, you immediately push conversation hearts into each one of them.
Ok, Nana tip here is to not put a conversation heart into all of them. Some people might want suckers without the conversation hearts. Nana has always (as long as I can remember) used both round and heart shape molds for her Valentine Suckers. She would put the conversation hearts into the round ones, and not in the heart ones. That way all of them have hearts and therefore are true Valentine Suckers!
Use extract and not concentrate as the flavor wont be as strong. Also use as fresh of extract as you can, for the same reason. For the amount of molds that we have, we always end up with extra mixture. So, Nana always pours it into another pregreased cookie sheet. This would be what you would do if you were just making stained glass candy. There are 2 reasons for doing this. The first is that you can then test for when the suckers are set up, by checking your candy on the extra pan. We always pull some off while it's still gooey and warm, to check the flavor. There is nothing you can do about the flavor at this point, except do another batch. However, we are always anxious to taste it! The second reason for doing this is so you don't waste it! We break it up and put it into a bowl. Then, you and your kids have something to munch on, instead of eating the suckers all up before you can give them out! Once the suckers have set up (really this is only about 10 minutes) you break the suckers out of their molds. This is a really fun part for some reason. As you take the molds off, the suckers literally do break out because of the mixture that hardens on the outside. You usually have to tap these molds on the pan to get all the extra mixture to break off. These extra bits you just add to your bowl of extras that you already have from the extra pan. We have plans to make with these suckers and we'll show you that, during our 14 days of February! Fun fun fun! Here's the actual recipe for this"
2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. White Karo Syrup
2 tsp Extract or 2 TBL concentrate
3-7 drops of food coloring
Pour Sugar, Karo Syrup, and Water into pot. Bring this to boil and stir until your candy thermometer reads 300, or hard crack stage. Add color and flavoring. Pour onto greased cookie sheet.
Linking to It's So Very Cheri Celebrations party