Here we go my second Harry Potter recipe, learn how to make your own lemon drops! And just like last time, it wasn’t what I expected at all.
CANDIES LOST IN TRANSLATION
In my French edition of the book, Dumbledore is offering esquimau to Professor McGonagall, a lemon ice cream. When I read the passage in English for the first time I didn’t notice anything unusual. After all, it was written a sherbet lemon. Sherbet kind of sounds like sorbet, reassuring me that indeed this was all about ice cream. But then I realized that if it was a lemon sherbet then it would be written lemon sherbet, not sherbet lemon. So I turned to google and imagine my surprise when I discovered that sherbet lemons are in fact hard candies with a powder center, commonly called lemon drops. I have no idea why they translated it by a type of ice cream in the French edition but I did feel betrayed that for 18 years I had imagined the scene with the wrong sweet in mind. When I told my sister about the lemon drops she wasn’t surprised at all, actually. She asked me how I thought that Dumbledore could keep ice cream intact in his pocket. I mean he was having a discussion with someone who can turn into a cat so that never seemed too far-fetched to me.
After that came the realization that I had to learn how to make candies, which I had never done before. And let me tell you, I don’t have the greatest relationship with sugar work. Have I made caramel before? Yes. Did I burn it 50% of the time? Yes. Did it crystallize the rest of the time? Quite a common occurrence in my kitchen. Did I ever want to cry after seeing the state of my pans after having burned caramel? YES! However I managed to create a recipe for lemon drops that works for me, with my burned-caramel record, so I am confident that you can manage too. The thing with sugar work is that you need to be patient, well-prepared and pay very close attention to your pan of melting sugar. Everything can change in a second and your thermometer is your next best friend.
HOT TO GET IT RIGHT
I would advise reading this lemon drops recipe a couple of times to make sure that you understand all the steps and are ready to act quickly. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the lemon drops making process you’ll realize it’s actually pretty simple. Especially since we are adding 3 ingredients that prevent the crystallization of sugar (golden syrup, cream of tartar and citric acid). Yes, I’m trying to cover all the bases, and it works.
You should prepare all your ingredients beforehand to avoid panicking or burning the sugar. You will definitely need a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer to know precisely when to take off the pan from the heat. If you let the sugar on too long and it became brown instead of white, there is no way you can salvage it. It means the sugar has burnt and nothing will take out the bitter taste of your lemon drops. You will have to start over with a clean pan.
This is a recipe for lemon drops but technically you could flavor these hard candies however you want. You can use any flavor extract/food coloring and the pairings are endless. So, have fun!
HOW TO MAKE FIZZY CANDIES?
The idea for the fizzy powder comes from this blog. It doesn’t create an explosion of bubbles in your mouth but you can still feel a slight fizziness of your tongue. Public disclaimer: I have never had a sherbet lemon before so I am not sure that the resulting fizziness from my lemon drops is the same as for a real sherbet lemon but to me, it does the trick. If you want to achieve maximum fizziness do not bite into the lemon drops, let them slowly melt in your mouth until you reach the center. I have tried adding more fizzy powder to see if it would increase the fizziness level, but by adding more powder you also add more bitterness so to me it wasn’t worth it. But if you like your lemon drops on the bitter side, be my guest, add as much powder as you can handle.
PICK THE RIGHT MOLD
I encourage you to use oiled silicone molds because it is so easy to get the lemon drops candies out of the molds. You can use any shape but remember that the deeper the molds are the bigger your candies will turn out to be if you fill them completely. And it is not that enjoyable to suck on lemon drops the size of unshelled walnuts.
DO THE CANDIES MELT?
Unfortunately, yes lemon drops can melt over time, which means they can get stuck together. When it comes to hard candies, humidity is your worst enemy. So, to preserve your candies for a longer time don’t skip the last step. Coating the lemon drops with powdered sugar and cornstarch help for a time but nothing beats individually wrapping them with cellophane paper/wax paper. This way the candies can’t get stuck together in the jar.
You can find other Harry Potter recipes here! 👻 🎃Print
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 30 lemon drops 1x
- Category: Confections
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: UK
Lemon drops are citrusy hard candies with fizzy centers, aka sherbet lemon in Harry Potter. Candy making made easy.
For the lemon drops:
200g caster sugar (1 cup)
40g golden syrup (2 tbsp)
½ tsp cream of tartar
120ml water (1/2 cup)
2 tsp citric acid
2 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp yellow food coloring
For the fizzy powder:
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp citric acid
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
Prepare the mold and the fizzy powder. Lightly grease your candy mold or silicone ice cubes tray with vegetable oil. Combine all the ingredients for the fizzy powder in a small bowl and set aside.
Make the first batch of sugar syrup. Put half of the caster sugar, half of the golden syrup and half of the cream of tartar in a small saucepan. Pour half of the water along the edges of the pan. Place the pan over low heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium high and put a candy thermometer in the pan. Let the syrup boil, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 135°C (275°F). Immediately take the pan off the heat. Add half of the lemon extract, half of the citric acid and half of the food colouring to the pan. Mix with an oiled spatula. Carefully pour the hot syrup into the mold, filling each cavity half way.
Fill the candies. Add half a teaspoon of fizzy powder in each cavity. You can add more if you like your candies on the bitter side. Clean and dry your pan, candy thermometer and spatula thoroughly.
Make the second batch of sugar syrup. Prepare another batch of candies with the other halves of the ingredients following the same method. Pour the hot syrup in the cavities, sealing the fizzy powder in the middle.
Cover the candies. Allow your lemon drops to cool and harden completely before removing them from the mold. Roll the lemon drops in a mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch to coat them and prevent them from sticking to each other. Individually wrap the caramels in cellophane. Place the lemon drops in an air-tight container.
The candies keep a long time but place in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 35
Keywords: lemon drop, sherbet lemon, fizzy candy
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