Lollipop Love: Sweet Indulgence with Chocolate, Caramel and Sugar by Anita Chu with yummy photographs by Antonis Achilleos is exactly the kind of cookbook I love. Even though it's made for adults, it is sweet, simple and sure to grab the attention of young culinary artists and curious kids alike. Also, like the amazing Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make cookbook I reviewed last year, the fruits of Lollipop Love: Sweet Indulgence with Chocolate, Caramel and Sugar make gorgeous gifts come holiday season - or any time of the year.
In my decades as a parent and a bookseller, I learned that the best cookbooks for children also require a close, constant adult presence in the kitchen, whether assisting or just supervising. Some less than others, but ultimately, who wouldn't want to spend time in the kitchen cooking with - or watching - a kid cook? Chu begins Lollipop Love: Sweet Indulgence with Chocolate, Caramel and Sugar with an introduction for adults and kids to read that includes the history of the lollipop, which dates back to Dickensian England when the candy was a sugar candy sold by street vendors and not yet on a stick. While there were more than a few companies who claimed to be the first to put candy on a stick, the term "lolly pop" was trademarked in 1931 by George Smith of the Bradley Smith Candy Company. While candy making might seem daunting, Chu makes it seem fun and easy, noting that "the ingredients for a simple lollipop can be found in nearly anyone's cupboard, and even without lollipop molds you can still make some pretty pops." Achilleos's picture prove this to be true!
Chu covers ingredients, techniques and equipment and tools in a very straightforward, easy to understand way. Having tried to make caramel and toffee before and failed, I especially appreciated Chu's candy making temperature guide and the descriptions of each stage and instructions on how to clean hardened sugar out of a pot. Then she breaks the recipes down into three sections: sugar, caramel and chocolate. Some of Chu's recipes do have some adult tastes, including champagne and glitter, beer, saffron and rose water and maple, bacon and walnut, but there are plenty of tastes kids will love. If you are new to candy making or want to start out with the easiest lollipops to make, start with the chocolate. The Swirled Chocolate Lollipops are fun to make and very unique looking. Having enjoyed a chocolate, chile and Pop Rock chocolate bar before, I can guarantee you that the Chocolate-Pop Rock Lollipops are sure to be a hit! There is even a recipe for making your own marshmallows and turning them into chocolate covered pops. The caramel pops and the flavors Chu blends into them, like passion fruit, espresso and pumpkin pie spice are a bit more on the adult side, but the really fun stuff comes when you dive into the chapter on sugar lollipops.
The way Chu creates them, these sugar lollipops are little works of art on a stick. Not only are they a treat to look at, Chu comes up with fabulous flavors like root beer (always my favorite DumDum) and double vanilla as well as super lemon and peppermint - for Christmas lollipops.
I can't to make a few lollipops from each chapter with my kids, and I really can't wait to pop them in my mouth when they are done!
More books by Anita Chu:
Source: Review Copy