I am loving agate's huge comeback. I am constantly perusing home decor and seeing gorgeous agate slices being put to use in unconventional ways -- knobs, lamps, bookends, small table tops, instead of the more traditional and typical ways of using agate on necklaces and as coasters/trivets.
More than I love home decor ideas, I love working on food ideas. So when I saw online that Jolly Ranchers are being crushed and melted into very random lollipop blobs, I couldn't help but try to make something more purposeful with the method. I thought, why not intentionally layer crushed candies in rings to make pretty edible agate? And there's no need to play around with melting sugar and sugar temperatures and coloring sugar and flavoring sugar. Candy is all you need -- it's as easy as that!
In my first experiment, naturally I tried arranging rings of crushed candy (of various brands, colors, and opacity) all in one go, but the rings all melted together and lost definition. So I experimented just a little more and was satisfied with the realism of this method and it is simple! You can do jumbo 5" diameter agate lollipops, as I've done here, or simple agate candy slices that can be used in many ways (I'm thinking cupcakes and cake decor!).
Step 1: Go Get Some Candy!
What You'll Need
Candies -- a variety of them, especially in different opacities. Jolly Ranchers, generic fruit candies, and starlights all make for some pretty colorful fruity agate. Clear mints, butterscotch, Werther's Hard Caramels all make up the amber agate (and such a delicious flavor combo, too!). I was pleased to discover my dollar store carries Jolly Ranchers Smoothies (opaque, creamy Jolly Ranchers), as well as other creamy starlights. Head to your dollar store and your supermarket candy aisles where you can find bags of generic brand candies for $1. Since each candy brand has its own colors and opacity, I find using at least 2 different brands per agate adds more color variety to the rings.
Lollipop sticks (preferably 8", as these agate are quite jumbo)
Edible shimmer dust + brush from your craft store's cake decor aisle (optional).
Step 2: Sort & Crush
Sort & Crush Candies
1. Sort each candy type into a sandwich bag. I found that 4 types of candies and 2-3 pieces of each candy are sufficient to make one 5" agate.
2. Crush candies on a chopping board with a mallet or meat tenderizer. No need to crush them too fine. For reference, they can be crushed the size of sea salt or rock salt.
I sorted and crushed all of my candies by color and flavor to make the baking process quicker and more efficient.
Make sure to note which crushed candies are opaque/creamy, so you can add them where you specifically want them.
Step 3: Parchment "Molds"
I came up with the molds after baking an experimental batch directly on a sheet of parchment where the agate slices got too thin because the melted candies spread out too much. The walls of the mold stop the candy from spreading and the agate slices have a little more thickness, than if baked without. And the mold also helps you to precisely control the finished shape.
1. Cut random agate shapes in parchment. Mine were about 5-1/2 to 6" tall as I wanted it large enough to include several layers of candy for a good ring effect.
2. Snip 1/2" around the circumference at about 1" intervals. If you prefer agate with a hole in the center, cut a hole through the center and snip 1/2" around the circumference at about 1/2" intervals.
3. Fold to make side walls for your "molds".
4. Put your parchment molds on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Step 4: Layer & Bake & Layer & Bake
Now for the fun artistic part!
1. Arrange desired crushed candy as the first "ring". I use a teaspoon to carefully place the crushed candy and use the back of the teaspoon to push the candy in and ensure there is no stray candy elsewhere on the mold. When using molds without a hole in the center, simply put a solid candy piece in the center. I worked on 3 molds on one baking sheet.
2. VERY CAREFULLY slide in the oven. Bake at 300F for approximately 4 minutes (note that every candy brand is different and some candies require more time to melt than others), keeping a close eye until the candy is mostly melted, but does not spread too thin. If using a solid candy piece for the center, you can take it out of the oven if it's not entirely melted because it will continue to melt after each successive bake.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, arranging crushed candy and baking for approximately 4 minutes (or until melted), for each and every layer, until the mold is filled.
4. After the last layer is baked, immediately place a lollipop stick and fold the stick over to coat, while the candy is still hot.
5. Let cool for 10 minutes. Peel off parchment molding. I prefer to use the baked underside as the "top" of my lollipop because it is more flat and flush.
6. Optional: Dilute edible shimmer powder in water and paint the edges of the candy. I used copper and silver shimmer powder.
7. Admire, eat, share, and enjoy!