The beautiful flavour and aroma of cherry blossoms fill these sweet and salty lollipops. They are the perfect treat to celebrate spring.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products that I use and love. All opinions expressed are my own. Please see our Disclosure Policy.
The cherry blossom trees will soon be blooming here, but this spring is already feeling much different from the rest. With travel bans and cancelled events, there will be no cherry blossom viewings or picnics in the park. Our plans to visit Japan this spring have been cancelled and lately my days at home have been filled with dreaming about all the things I loved the last time I was there. One of the many things were the traditional handmade candies in Kyoto. They were so intricate, tiny and beautiful. This was my attempt to bring a piece of that memory and a little bit of springtime-in-Japan home to me.
These Cherry Blossom Lollipops turned out to have the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. Cherry blossoms come preserved in salt which needs to be rinsed off but a small amount of salt will remain, giving the lollipops a wonderful balance of flavours.
Salt preserved cherry blossoms can usually be purchased seasonally at Japanese grocery stores but I like to buy mine online here. They are very reasonably priced, arrive quite fast and are always well packaged.
The first step is preparing the cherry blossoms. This can be done a day or two in advance. The blossoms need to be soaked for 15 minutes to rinse off the salt.
When I remove them from the water I like to make sure the petals are unfolded and fanned out into a pretty flower shape. The shape they’re dried in is the shape they’ll be in the lollipops. Gently press flat and pat dry. They can be used right away or left out to dry longer.
Most lollipop recipes call for corn syrup, but an easy substitute is lemon juice or cream of tartar. I prefer the latter because I found lemon juice turns the lollipops a darker colour as it cooks.
Another tool that you need is a thermometer. I’ve recently switched from a regular candy thermometer to a digital thermometer Thermapen One (pictured above) and let me tell you it has made my life so much easier! The old candy thermometer that I had used a handful of times became impossible to accurately read because the red part separated into small pieces. Since I’ve switched to a digital thermometer, I’ve had no problems at all! It’s simple, quick and easy to clean. It’s totally worth the investment and I am officially converted to digital thermometers. You can find my favourite one here.
Homemade lollipops are actually very quick and easy to make. They’re a better choice than store bought lollipops which usually have artificial flavour, colouring and corn syrup. With a few ingredients and the right tools along with some simple tips I have written below, you can make effortless and beautiful lollipops everytime!
Tips For Success
- Have all of your tools, molds and flowers prepped and ready to go before you start cooking the sugar. Once the sugar is ready, you have to work quickly!
- Be patient. Don’t rush the sugar by turning the temperature on high, it will burn.
- Once the mixture starts to bubble do not stir, just let it do its thing.
- If you want clear/glass lollipops use a brush dipped in water and wipe down the inside of the pot every few minutes as the mixture cooks. If not, the cooled lollipops will have white crystal specks in them.
- Take the sugar off the heat at around 295°F instead of 310°F. Let it sit for 2 minutes. This helps to minimize the amount of bubbles that form in the lollipops.
- And most importantly be careful, the sugar mixture is extremely hot!
Looking For More Cherry Blossom Recipes?
These Cherry Blossom Lollipops are sweet, salty and bursting with the most beautiful cherry aroma and flavour. Skip the corn syrup, artificial flavours and colours, these all natural lollipops are a sweet reminder that spring is in the air! I hope that your spring is filled with lots of joy and happy eating always! xoxo
Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Lollipops
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 13 salt preserved cherry blossoms
- 1/2 teaspoon beet juice or natural red food colouring
Prepare the cherry blossoms
- Fill a small bowl with water and carefully add the cherry blossoms. Let soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Before removing them from the water, gently shake the flowers from the stems to open any folded petals. Fan out the petals and place the flowers on a paper towel. (The way the petals are laid out on the paper towel is how the flowers will look in the lollipops.) Firmly pat dry until most of the moisture is gone and gently press to flatten.
- Keep any petals that have fallen off the flowers. Pat dry and chop into tiny pieces. This is optional but I like having some little pieces in the lollipops along with the whole flowers.
- Place the dried flowers and chopped petals on a dry paper towel. They can be left overnight to continue drying or they can be used right away.
- Arrange the lollipop sticks in the lollipop molds. Place the prepped cherry blossom flowers and chopped petals beside the molds. Have all of your tools ready to go.
- In a heavy bottom, non-reactive pot place the sugar, cream of tartar and water. Stir well.
- Wipe down the inside of the pot with a bit of water to remove any sugar left on the sides from stirring. If using a candy thermometer that has to be placed into the pot put it in now. Turn to medium high.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil every few minutes use a brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the pot. This removes any sugar that will form into crystals (which will look like white specks in the cooled lollipops). This step is optional, however if you want clear lollipops I recommend it. If using a digital thermometer periodically take the temperature. Do not stir as the mixture boils.
- Once the temperature reaches 290°F (about 15 minutes) remove from the heat. Add the beet juice and stir. Let sit for about one minute until most of the bubbles have stopped coming to the surface. (See notes)
- Working quickly but carefully, fill one mold half way up with the hot mixture. Lay a cherry blossom flower and a few of the chopped up petals on top. Slowly and carefully pour more of the mixture on top making sure it covers the flower and the stick. (The flower may bubble up a bit when the hot mixture touches it but it will flatten out when set.) Repeat for each mold. (If you don't have enough molds, you can also use a Silpat following the same steps. You will end up with rustic looking circles.)
- Once all of the molds are filled let cool for 1 hour or until set. Remove from the molds, wrap individually and store in a cool dry place. Enjoy!!
- White sugar works best for this recipe. Organic sugar cane can be substituted but the lollipops will have a darker, more yellowish colour. You may want to adjust the amount of beet juice/food colouring.
- I juiced a beet to use for the food colouring. You can buy natural food colouring but you may have to experiment with the amount.
- The temperature on a candy thermometer reads 310°F for hard crack/lollipops. I like to take the pot off the heat earlier, between 290°F – 295°F and let it sit for 2 minutes. This way the bubbles have time to release and the mixture will continue to cook since the pot is still very hot. If you pour the mixture right off the heat, the lollipops will have a lot of bubbles in them.
- Since these lollipops do not contain corn syrup they are slightly stickier than conventional lollipops. Make sure to wrap them as soon as they are set as air exposure and humidity creates more stickiness.
- To clean up, soak the pot (and any other tools that have the candy on them) immediately in hot water with a bit of dish soap. All of the candy will dissolve. If the candy has already hardened you can boil water in the pot and it will dissolve.
- This recipe makes about 12 large 2 inch wide lollipops or about 30 small 1.5 inch wide lollipops.