I don’t know about you, but when I was little my favorite memories were being in the kitchen helping my mom make Hand Painted Chocolate Easter Pops! They’re so easy to make and make great gifts!
Painting chocolate lollipops requires a bit of patience, a little practice, and a willingness to have some fun. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years. I am sure I have created well over 20,000 of these little lollipops. Well, I have been making them for (gulp!) over 30 years now.
It was the very first thing I learned to make in the candy class I took as a kid and although I have learned many more chocolate making techniques over the years, it is still one of my favorite things to do in my candy kitchen.
During that candy making class, so many years ago, we spent three hours learning how to paint with chocolate. We made lollipops, Easter bunnies, cute lambs and chicks. At the end of the class when the teacher told us we could have 30 minutes to make whatever we wanted and would be allowed to take home our creations, no matter how few or how many, I bypassed all the painting and just filled molds with candy.
Hey, I was a 13 year old kid who swam for 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, had a huge appetite, and an even bigger sweet tooth. Going home with a big bag of milk, dark, white, peanut butter, and butterscotch chocolates was the coolest thing ever (I’m channeling my pre-teen self, here.)
My mom and Nana took the class with me and they spent their 30 minutes doing more painting, so we had quite a nice assortment of painted Easter pops to bring home and share with everyone. We proudly displayed our creations in a lovely Easter basket which we shared with my family.
The great thing about making chocolate lollipops is that you really don’t need any candy making experience to make wonderful looking lollipops. I will walk you through the entire process, showing step-by-step pictures, and sharing all of my troubleshooting tips.
I do recommend that you read my post on making chocolate (click here to read post) before you begin. For this project you will use confectionery coating/candy melts which are very easy to use and easily available from craft and candy decorating stores. They can be purchased in white, milk, and dark varieties and even in colored and flavored varieties.
To make lollipops for Easter, you will want coatings in a rainbow of colors. You can either purchase the colored wafers or you can color white wafers using candy colorings. I do a bit of both. The colors you need will depend on the candy molds you choose to use, so purchase your colored wafers or your candy colorings based on the lollipops you plan to make.
- Most white candy melts have a cream or slightly yellowish tint. When you add coloring to this coating, you wont get a pure color (ex. – blue will have a slight green tint.) If you want a pure white candy melt, Guittard makes a really vibrant white wafer, called Vanilla Apeels and Merken’s has Super White which I’ve not used, but assume based on the name that it is true white.
- For some reason white candy melts that are colored with pink candy coloring tend to fade over time (meaning a few days), so I always buy the pink colored wafers. If the wafers you buy are really hot pink, as are the Merken’s wafers, just add a bit of white coating to it to tone it down. Wilton has a nice light colored pink candy melt.
I use Peter’s confectionery coatings ( Peter’s White Caps, Peters Westchester-Milk, Peters Eastchester-Dark) to make my lollipops, but there are several other brands including Guittard, Merkens and Wilton that may be easier to find at your local craft stores and candy/cake decorating stores. I’ve been using Peter’s products as long as I have been making candy and really like their flavors the best, but use what you like.
Hand painted Chocolate Easter Pops
Confectionery Coating/candy melts in white, milk, dark, and colored varieties
candy coloring (you can not use grocery store variety food coloring to color the candy)
*each small lollipop will take approximately 1 ounce of candy and larger pops will take about 2 ounces, so purchase your coatings according to the number of lollipops you would like to make
Special equipment needed:
electric skillet (this will make this process so easy)
glass jars, coffee mugs, or glasses
paint brushes (use new or food only brushes, I recommend plastic handle brushes)
candy molds- Lamb, Eggs, Easter Assortment, bunny, Carrot, bunnies, hatching chick (here are a few links to purchase some of the molds, but you can also find them at craft stores and candy decorating stores)
You will need to melt and color your confectionery coatings. There are several different methods to do this, listed below. When I am making a lot of lollipops I use an electric skillet filled with warm water to keep small jars of colored chocolate melted.
That way I don’t have to continually re-melt my candy. I usually make a lot of lollipops at one time, so I melt a big bowl of white coating in the microwave, then pour the melted coating into small jars and color them. If I’m only using a small amount of colored candy melts, I will just melt them in a jar in the skillet.
Melting chocolate or confectionery coating in a microwave:
Every microwave is different so this is just a guideline, but it is safest to go slow and stir often. I always use high power for short busts of time. Pour 16 ounces confectionery coating wafers into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high power for 30 seconds, remove from microwave and stir. Your wafers wont look melted much at all at this point (1),(2) but if you stir vigorously the chunks will indeed start to become liquid (3). Continue to heat for 20
seconds. Now your candy will look more liquid (4), but you will have chunks remaining. Stir vigorously and the heat from the melted chocolate will indeed melt the chunks (5). If, after stirring for a while you still have chunks of chocolate remaining (6), heat for 10-15 second intervals, stirring in between each until melted (7). Do not rush this process. Candy coatings burn easily. If you do burn the coating, throw it away and start over in a clean bowl. If, once melted, your candy coating is really thick (due to it getting too hot in the microwave or it having been exposed to varying hot and cold temperatures in storage), add vegetable oil a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon at a time, stirring after each addition, until the coating is thin enough to work with.
Melting Confectionery Coating in a Skillet:
Fill your skillet with some warm water and set the temperature to “WARM”. Fill glass jars, coffee mugs, or ramekins with the confectionery coating wafers. Place the jars in the water filled skillet. Make sure the water comes up about half way on your shortest jar.
You can keep your coatings melted all day using this method, just stir the coating throughout the day to keep the coating near the top of the jar from hardening. And be sure to replenish the water as it evaporates. Most importantly, be careful that you don’t spill water in the chocolate, or it will seize up and become too thick to use.
So, if you pick up a jar to move it closer to you, put a towel under the jar as you move it, so drops of water don’t end up in other jars of coating.
Coloring Confectionery Coating:
Pour some melted white coating into a jar. Squeeze in some candy coloring (start with a drop or two if you aren’t familiar with the strength of the coloring.) Stir. If you are using candy coloring (icing coloring) from a jar, stick a toothpick into the jar, pull out some coloring and stir it into the candy coating.
DO NOT put the toothpick back in the jar of coloring or you will contaminate the coloring. Use a new toothpick every time you want to get more coloring.If you add coloring and your coating becomes thick, add a 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil or some Paramount Crystals stirring after each addition until thin and smooth.
Create all of the colors you want to use in your lollipops. For Easter, I like to use pastel colors for some of the pops and more vibrant colors for others. You can adjust colors while you are working by adding more coloring (for brighter colors) or by stirring in some white candy coating (for more pastel colors).
Get your candy molds and paintbrushes together and clean our your freezer, so you have some space to place the molds. Before you begin painting, decide what colors you want to use for the features and what color you want for the background.
If you choose to make a white bunny, do not paint any of the features white, as they will just blend into the background color.
You can paint all or just some of the features on your mold. Here I started by painting the mouth with bright pink coating. Dip a paintbrush into the coating and dab it into the indentation on the candy mold. Add more coating to your brush as needed to fill in the entire indented area.
By dabbing the chocolate (as seen at the top of the picture) you will end up with a nice opaque area. If you brush the chocolate on (bottom of picture), it will harden, streak, and leave you with a see-through area. Also, always dip your brush down into melted chocolate and not along the sides of the jar, to pick up nicely melted chocolate. If you end up with hardened chocolate on your brush, just dip it in the melted chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute to melt away the hardened chocolate from the brush.
Using a different paint brush for each color, paint more details on the candy mold. I used a lighter pink for the bunny’s nose and milk chocolate for the eyes. I wanted to create a layered effect for the bow tie. In order to layer the colors, I first painted on the yellow polka dots, then put the mold into the freezer for 2-3 minutes to harden the yellow dots.
When you remove the mold from the freezer, it will be very cold and look very cloudy. Allow it to warm to room temperature before proceeding.
For the areas that require two colors, paint the next layer of color directly over the first layer. I painted purple on top of my yellow polka dots. Carefully turn the mold over and look to see if you have covered the entire area.
I have a bit of purple yet to paint onto my bow tie (see the lower right side of the bow.) After fixing the bow tie, I painted the ears (not shown) then put the candy mold back in the freezer for a few minutes.
Before filling the mold, allow the mold to warm up to room temperature. Then spoon whatever colored coating you’ve decide to use for the background into the mold. I usually spoon some in, then tap the mold gently on the table, allowing the candy coating to spread and fill in areas like the ears.
It’s best not to overfill the mold, so tap as you go. Once the mold is filled, you need to tap it on the table a few times to remove any air bubbles that may have formed.
- Don’t fill in the indentation that is for the lollipop stick.
- If you do overfill your mold, you can use your finger to wipe off the excess candy or wait until the candy is hardened and you will be able to shave it off with a knife.
Add a lollipop stick by setting the stick in the indentation and gently pressing it into the candy. Use your finger to roll the stick around so it gets completely coated in the candy.
Place the lollipop in the freezer for 5-8 minutes. It may take a bit longer, if you are opening and closing your freezer a lot during the process.
As the candy coating cools and hardens it will shrink slightly and retract from the mold. You can tell if the lollipop is hardened by carefully holding the mold up over your head and checking to see the the candy is one even color.
If you see dark spots, that means the candy is still wet in those areas. Freeze the candy a few minutes longer. You can also check to see if the lollipops are ready by very gently tugging on the lollipop stick. If the chocolate moves, it should come out of the mold easily.
If it sticks, it is not ready. Don’t tug too hard, or you may pull a lollipop out before it is completely hardened.
To un-mold your candy, you have a few options
- Gently tug on the stick and pull the candy out of the mold
- Place your hand over the candy, turn the mold upside down and allow the candy to fall out of the mold into your hand.
- Place a baking sheet over the candy, turn the mold and the baking sheet upside down allowing the candy to fall out onto the baking sheet.
If you have overfilled the candy mold and the lollipop has excess chocolate around the edges, allow the candy to warm up to room temperature. Then use a small knife to carefully cut off the excess candy.
If you have a lot of excess chocolate and it is very thick, you may want to heat up your knife by running it under really hot water (then drying it) or by holding the knife blade over a flame. Then as you cut off the excess the knife will melt the chocolate, as you go, making it easier to remove. Brush off any crumbs using a pastry brush.
Store your hand painted chocolate Easter pops in a cool place preferably in an airtight container. You can package them in clear cellophane bags and tie them with a colorful bow. Add these adorable pops to your Easter baskets or give them as gifts. This same technique can be used to make Easter bunnies.
I oftentimes will paint my candy molds with this colored candy coating, then fill the molds with pure tempered chocolate. Sometimes the painted features pop off, but for the most part it works.
So, go have some fun painting lollipops for Easter or any special occasion.
Some of the products used in this project: (commission earned for sales)