When my good friend Danielle Davis from This Picture Book Life asked me to come up with a recipe to showcase FRED, by Kaila Eunhye Seo, I couldn’t resist. You see, my cocker spaniel’s name is Fred, and I’m simply and magnetically drawn to anything Fred-related. After reading this delightful book and noticing a very matcha-looking green lollipop gracing it’s cover, it was time to roll up those sleeves for some candy-making!FRED reminds us of the power of a vivid imagination. As a little boy, the main character creates a colorful, imaginary world filled with all kinds of friendly critters. But as Fred grows up, he loses this sense of magic. It’s an iconic lollipop that serves as a good luck charm of sorts, reminding him (and us!) to always make time for play, no matter what age we are.
Candy making often involves a touch of whimsy and creativity, and this recipe for Milky Matcha Rice Candy is no exception. The taste of green tea is deliberately rich here, bittersweet the same way caramels are. The green tea is added at a later stage in the recipe to preserve its clean, pure taste. Rice powder tapers the direct sweetness in these confections and lightens their density, creating a slightly chewy texture somewhere in between a Tootsie Roll and candy corn.Milky Matcha Rice Candy is pillowy-soft at room temperature. Like I do with many other candies, I prefer these straight out of the fridge, with a firmer bite. Once the cooked mixture has had time to cool, shaping this candy into a lollipop is a cinch. A rope-like coil, a stick through the center, and some chill time in the fridge and you’re done.I like that this Milky Matcha Rice Candy dough can be played up or down, transformed into lollies or simple drop candies depending on your crowd. These are homey enough to please kids, yet fancy enough to a finish any gourmet meal. For the young at heart and those of us who’ve had the pleasure of reading FRED, the choice is clear: lollipops are always the way to go!A big thanks to Danielle Davis of This Picture Book Life for inviting me to post on FRED! Please check out her awesome site for this book review and a look at Kaila Eunhye Seo’s gorgeous illustrations!Milky Matcha Rice Candy
Makes 25 lollipops or 75 drop candies.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup culinary matcha, sifted
1/4 cup sweet rice powder, plus more for coating candies
9″ square baking pan, greased with oil spray
1 tsp measure (for drop candies) or 1 Tbsp measure (for lollipops)
large baking sheet lined with parchment
lollipop sticks (optional)
1. Place the sugar, honey, butter, salt, condensed milk, water, and vanilla in a medium pot, then set on low-medium heat. Constantly stirring, bring the ingredients up to 250 degrees F.
2. When the mixture comes up to temperature, take it off the heat, then mix in the rice powder. After the mixture is homogenous, pour it into the greased baking pan. Let the mixture sit and come to room temperature, then sift the matcha on top. Mix everything together, then place the pan in the fridge for several hours to cool.
3. On a work surface, shape 1 tsp blobs of candy into round balls. Roll the balls/drops in a light dusting of sweet rice powder to prevent sticking, then place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Allow the balls to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, uncovered, to set their shape.
Lollipop Variation: Alternatively, roll 1 Tbsp blobs of the candy into a long 6″ snake. Coil the snake in on itself, then place this coil on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Stick a lollipop stick into the side of the candy coil to make a lollipop, then lightly dust both sides with sweet rice flour to prevent sticking. Allow the lollies to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, uncovered, to secure the sticks.