Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the weather is wintry – rainy, snowy or windy! What better way to spend an indoor afternoon or morning making Valentine Lollipops with your Children. Children very often make paper Valentine’s to give to their friends, but Chocolate ones are even better. They taste good and Chocolate is good for you!
What you will need to make these treats is:
Candy (Heart-shaped Lollipop Molds) – available at your local Cake Decorating Store or Craft Shop such as Michael’s or JoAnn’s.
Pre-tempered Chocolates (Wilton’s)
A sheet of waxed paper or a flat pan to put the molds on.
A melting pot or double boiler If you don’t have either you can make a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.
To make the Pops first set up your molds. Make sure they are clean and dry. Water and chocolate do not mix and your pops will not set up properly. The best thing to do is to wash and dry them 24 hours before you are going to use them. When you are finished with them, wash (DO NOT USE SOAP) just hot tap water and dry and then after 24 hours place them in a sealed plastic bag so that the next you need them they will be ready to go.
Place the molds on the waxed paper or sheet pan. Place the sticks in the molds (make sure that at least one inch of the stick is in the candy portion ) If you are using a Melting Pot place the Candy (the melting pots will hold a 12 oz. bag of candy) in the Melting Pot and set it to MELT. Once the Candy has thoroughly melted turn the setting down to WARM.
Once the Candy has melted you can then spoon it into the molds. Be sure and completely cover the Lollipop Sticks. DO NOT fill the mold to the top. Once they are about 3/4 full, stop and tap the molds to get rid of the Air Bubbles. If there is still space left in the mold slowly add additional candy until the mold is full.
Allow at least an hour for the candy to set at room temperature or about 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator or 15-20 in the freezer.
Once the Candy has set up turn the molds over onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper and gently press on the backs to un-mold. If they are not going to be eaten right away place into bags (lollipop bags can be purchased at Cake Decorating Stores, Party Stores or Craft Stores). Tie with red curling ribbon. These lollipops are a great replacement for Valentines.
For heat loving Valentine recipients you can add a little bit of Chili Flakes (Old Boney Mountain Grotto Dust) available at http://www.oldboneymountainhotsaucecorp.com/
We all want our children to be well-rounded and aware of other people throughout the world. What better way to introduce your children to the variety of cultures than through Holidays and the food associated with them? Every culture in the world has their holidays and customs and food is almost always a part of them. A Holiday or Celebration occurs in almost every month of the year starting with January.
Chinese New Year’s usually occurs in January although sometimes it does occur in February. This year, 2012, it starts on January 23rd and is the Year of the Dragon. There are 12 Zodiac signs that signify each of 12 years in the Asian Culture. In addition, the Dragon has five different elements that are associated with it and give an added dimension to the Dragon personality. They are Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Metal.
In February there is Valentines and Groundhog Day. For most of us, Valentines is a day for Romance and anything with hearts on it is usually part of the celebration along with sweets and roses.
March brings in St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras in some cultures throughout the world. Easter also sometimes falls in March, though most of the time it comes in April.
April is the month in which Passover occurs in the Hebrew Calendar and is also usually the month in which Easter occurs. Passover and Easter are usually both around the same time and often overlap each other.
May brings in May Day which is still celebrated in some areas of the world. In Hawaii, May 1st is Lei Day. The second Sunday in May in the United States is Mother’s Day. In Mexico, the 5th of May is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo which is the day that the Mexican Army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla. May is a wonderful month and is full of flowers and promises of summer to come.
June is the month of weddings and the third Sunday in June is Father’s Day.
July of course is the celebration of the Independence of the United States. Wonderful celebrations occur on the Fourth of July with picnics, festivals and fireworks. Bastille Day which occurs on July 14th in France is also a cause for celebration.
August is a wonderful summer month with vacations, picnics and beach outings. On August 12th in Thailand Mother’s Day is celebrated. The manufacturer’s make T-Shirts which are purchased by many people in Thailand. The theme for these shirts is ‘Love Mom’ and I am fortunate to have several of them which I received from my Thai based son and wife. August 12th has been chosen as Mother’s Day because this is the Queen’s Birthday. Someday when a new Monarch is reigning then Mother’s Day will change accordingly.
September in the United States is Labor Day which for many signifies the end of summer and the beginning of another work or school year. September 16th also Mexican Independence Day. Late September or early October is also the observance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
October brings in All Hallows Eve or Halloween as it is known in Western Countries. The Day after Halloween is known as the ‘Dia del Muerte” or the Day of the Dead in many Latin based countries.
November brings in Veteran’s Day in the United States and of course Thanksgiving which is represented by Turkey Dinners and the pilgrims who created the first Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
December is probably the month most waited for by many people, especially children. During December we have Chanukah, The Festival of Lights and Christmas and Kwanza.
There are many more holidays celebrated throughout the world and in this series I will do
my best to cover them all. Most holidays are cause for celebration and celebration means food for at least 90% of the holidays or observances throughout the world.
Look monthly for our coverage of current holidays and the food customs that accompany them. The first one to look for will be the Lunar New Year which is observed in most Asian countries and is recognized
even in Western countries.
You can also read about the Year of the Dragon and gain a couple of recipes by going to http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Year-of-the-Dragon&id and reading my article on The Year of The Dragon.