Candy Trees make fantastic centrepieces and table decorations. Not only do they look good, they taste great too! But they are very expensive to buy, and in spite of their child-friendly appearance, many of them contain toothpicks that mean that kids have to be supervised around them. Mine is safer, as well as cheaper, and looks good enough that it could grace any table! It can be created to match any colour scheme and any taste. These also make lovely gifts or can be sent instead of flowers.
I have chosen to use marshmallows for this one, but you can make them with most candies a similar way. If your candies are wrapped, you can paint the inner ball then attach the sweets with hot glue, or if you use lollipops / suckers you can push the lolly sticks straight into the inner ball. These are a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat!
You will need:
- Pretty plant pot
- 10 inch length of dowel
- Powdered filler
- Ribbon or washi tape
- Polstyrene ball 6-8cm diameter
- Glue (preferably hot glue)
- 50g chocolate
- Heatproof bowl or jug
- Something to melt chocolate - either microwave or bowl of hot water
- 400-500g marshmallows
- Pastry brush
- Cellophane or clingfilm (saran wrap)
Step 1: Secure the Stem
The first thing to do is secure the stem into the pot you are using. I use standard filler, mixed fairly thick, in the bottom of the pot. You do not need to use huge amounts - the higher the filler level, the longer it will take to dry. Use only what you need to secure the dowel.
If you wish to reuse the pot for other things, grease your pot with petroleum jelly (vaseline) before using the filler - it will make the filler easier to remove once you're done.
Mix the filler to manufacturer's instructions for a thick consistency. I mixed mine with water to a ratio of 2.5 : 1. Put the filler in the bottom of the pot and firmly add your dowel, ensuring that it is stood straight. Do not worry too much about the appearance of the filler, it will be covered.
Leave the filler to set according to manufacturer's instructions. Mine was left for about eight hours before moving onto the next step.
Step 2: Secure the Ball
Next, secure the polystyrene ball on top of the dowel. Press it down firmly and this should create an indent for the dowel to sit in, but ensure that it goes on straight. Then remove the ball from the dowel, add some hot glue to secure, and replace.
Step 3: Decorate the Dowel
The dowel doesn't look too pretty as is. Wrap with ribbon or washi tape - I used homemade ribbon washi tape. Wrap it round so that it looks pretty, securing ribbon (if using) with a little glue to stop it from unravelling.
I do not recommend decorating the dowel by painting it unless you know your paint to be non-toxic and food safe.
Step 4: Paint the Ball With Chocolate
Next, paint the polystyrene ball with a thin layer of chocolate. This layer is not intended to be eaten but rather to hide the polystyrene and give the marshmallows something to adhere to.
Melt your chocolate in your preferred method - either over a bowl of hot water or in the microwave. If you use a microwave, use low power and check your chocolate frequently, stirring well each time, to prevent burning. Vigilance is required, it can burn in seconds.
Once your chocolate is melted, use a pastry brush to spread chocolate onto the polystyrene ball until it is covered, but not too thickly.
Step 5: Begin Attaching Marshmallows
Once your ball is covered, you can begin adding marshmallows.
Most brands of marshmallows have two flat faces, one slightly larger than the other. Fix the narrower end to the ball - this will help with the overall shape and form of the tree.
The first few marshmallows should fix on without any additional chocolate. Simply press on and hold gently in place for a moment until it sticks without sliding off. Start by adding one right at the top of the ball. Then move on to the next, adding marshmallows in circles from the top of the ball.
Once the chocolate on the ball has started to harden, you will need to add a dab of melted chocolate to the bottom of the marshmallow with the pastry brush to help hold it in place (the pool of chocolate should stay molten far longer, but if necessary you can heat it briefly to melt it again).
Step 6: Finishing Off
Make sure that you cover the ball in marshmallows, right down to the dowel.
Using cellophane or clingfilm (saran wrap), cover the filler then fill the pot with marshmallows.
Once you have finished, you can leave your candy tree as is, or you can embellish it further with ribbons, edible glitter, or bows. Wrap in cellophane if giving as a gift, or display on your table.