Don't be intimidated by this recipe just because it calls for a candy thermometer. If you have a bit of patience lemon drops are easy!
Since I had never made lemon drop candy before I wanted to use an existing recipe instead of trying to come up with my own. I found this one that looked easy enough to follow. I used a half recipe from what the blog did and I formed them differently. So here is the recipe with my take on shaping them.
Lemon Drop Candy - (From chocswirl.wordpress.com - Adapted from Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 c. water
1 t. citric acid
1/4 t. lemon extract
yellow food coloring
powdered sugar for rolling - 1-2 T.
Coat a plastic scraper with butter and have a silpat ready. If you don't have a silpat a marble slab was recommended in the original recipe.
Preheat oven to warm.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat combine sugar, cream of tartar and water. Stir just until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and attach a Sur La Table Candy & Deep Fry Thermometer (Google Affiliate Ad) to the side of the pan. Continue boiling mixture until it reaches 300 degrees F (or hard ball stage).
Pour hot mixture immediately onto silpat. Silpats come in different sizes. Pick on that fits in one of your sheet pans. I like the silpat brand - Sur La Table® Silpat® Baking Mats 8.25" x 11.75" (Google Affiliate Ad). Sprinkle citric acid, lemon extract and coloring onto the sugar mixture.
Using a buttered scraper (of some kind) mix ingredients until combined. The mixture will initially stick all over the scraper but will eventually come together into one cohesive glob of sugar!
While the mixture is still hot pull or cut pieces off and roll them in your hands to form a sphere or egg shape. Be careful not to burn your hands. The mixture should feel hot but not hot enough to burn your skin. If it is, wait for it to cool some.
Since the mixture is hot the lemon drops will ultimately be flattened on one side. Or at least mine were!
Roll the formed lemon drops in powdered sugar (or cornstarch) to coat. This way they will not all stick to each other!
Tip - If you find that the sugar is hardening too quickly to shape the pieces put them in the warm oven to reheat the sugar. You will be able to shape them again once they soften a bit.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!