So I picked a patch of pansies on Sunday. Following a recipe for violet syrup
, I washed the flowers, put them in a little mason jar, poured boiling water over them and let 'em steep for 24 hours. Monday, the liquid was a slightly disturbing dark-Windex blue (the pansies were a purplish variety - "Dynamite Wine Flash"). I put it in a pan.
Also in the pan were two cups of sugar, one cup of light corn syrup, and a dash of artificial vanilla. Stirred until the sugar dissolved, and then let it alone until my trusty candy thermometer registered near the "hard crack" stage (300 F). At this point, a spoonful of bubbly sugar-liquid dropped in cold water will make hard, brittle threads, like the one on my candy thermometer:
I had to lick it clean when I was done.
Last step was to pour off the mixture into a pie pan (liberally sprayed with Pam beforehand, natch), leave it in the fridge to cool and harden, and smash it into pieces with the butt of a knife.
Pansies have a rather subtle, delicate flavor, so the finished product tastes mostly of corn syrup. I've bought another couple flats of plants, though, so next time I might be able to make a more concentrated solution.
Also next time... I want molds, and individually wrapped pieces! I think it'd be way cool to have a pansy (or viola, to keep it bite-sized) embedded in translucent hard candy - good as little Christmas package-toppers. Has anyone ever made hard candy in molds before? And what kind of paper can I use to wrap the candies?