Monday, February 5, 2018

Lemon Drops

Sweet and sour lemon drops anyone? A dash of citric acid gives a traditional hard candy a pucker.

Sweet and Sour Lemon Drops

I've never been a huge candy fan. Hard, soft, taffy, gummy... none of them really float my boat, and if chocolate's in the vicinity that battleship is sunk. I make two (or is it three) exceptions to this rule - caramels and sour candy. The possible third is fudge, but since I only like chocolate fudge I generally exclude it from the "candy" category, like I exclude chocolate covered strawberries from the "fruit" category. At any rate, my adoration for both caramels and sour candy runs deep - caramels were a favourite of my Grandpa, and it was him that introduced me to them by slipping me one or two gold-wrapped hard caramels as we drove home from school. The sour candy didn't become a favourite until I was old enough to go to the corner store with my friends, sans adults. There, a few nickels could get you a baggie of sour keys or Warheads that would last the afternoon.

While sour keys were definitely a favourite, and I never turned down Sour Patch Kids, I still preferred the drawn out experience of sucking on a sour hard candy. Since making hard candy is drop-dead easy (and looks so impressive!) I decided to make my own sour lemon drops on a whim, pouring the molten sugar into a teeny-tiny ice cube mould to set. The small size meant popping two or three at once was possible, and coated your whole mouth with the lemony tang - something I definitely consider a plus. Unlike most other hard candies, this also doesn't use corn syrup at all, relying on cream of tartar to prevent graininess.

This is a small batch, which worked for me, but if you want to make more it will double well (though I wouldn't try tripling it). The gel food colouring is optional - you candy will be essentially clear without it however (good for pranks... just saying). If it is humid the day you want to make candy - or in your kitchen for that matter - cook the candy just a few degrees hotter (302F-ish) and make sure to coat the candy in icing sugar or they will get sticky. Goes without saying, but don't put it in the fridge either, unless you like melted sugar goo.

Lemon Drops
Makes ~8 oz of candy, 16 (1/2 oz servings)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tbsp lemon extract
1 tbsp citric acid
yellow gel food colouring
super-fine sugar (or icing sugar if humid), to coat
  1. Bring sugar, water and cream of tartar to a boil over medium/medium-high heat. 
  2. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 300F. 
  3. Immediately remove pan from heat, stir in the extract, citric acid and food colouring (mixture will foam). 
  4. Spoon drops of the candy onto a silicone mat lined pan or pour into a silicone candy mould.
  5. Cool completely, then toss in sugar to coat.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 47.6
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 12.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g