Confectionary Geodes and Crystal Magic
If you’ve ever had the experience of cracking open a geode, you understand the magic contained within. A seemingly-boring brown rock can contain a multitude of sparkling crystals, causing wonder and joy for whoever discovers them!
There’s lots of magic to be found in crystals, even beyond their sparkling beauty. From the piezoelectric effect that turns quartz crystals into tiny batteries and makes them capable of accurate time keeping to galena’s ability to function as a semiconductor extracting music and voices from radio waves, crystals can be used in all kind of helpful and seemingly-magical uses. Diamonds are the hardest-known material on earth and are often used for cutting, grinding, and polishing. Crystals containing high amounts of uranium are radioactive, and other crystals fluoresce or phosphoresce.
Many cultures have revered crystals as being beautiful and valuable, and some even went beyond that to believe that crystals contained a life force or healing power. The first historical reference to the use of crystals comes from the ancient Sumerians, who used crystals in magic formulas. Some myths state that the mysterious lost city of Atlantis was run on crystal power. Crystals are often seen as a connecting point between earth and aether. Even today, many people believe different kinds of crystals hold an inherent power or energy.
I was inspired by the feeling of wonder that crystals elicit to explore the theme of geodes further, this time in the form of sparkling and flavorful confectionary geodes meant to flavor extra special hot chocolate! (Though if you just ate them on your own, I certainly wouldn’t judge you for it.) Yes, you read that right. These geodes are completely edible and deliciously flavored and colored with natural ingredients. There is not a drop of food coloring in any of these colorful shimmering gems. Instead, I relied on other wonders that spring from the earth: roots, plants, and even algae. I was inspired by the endless beauties of various gemstones: citrine, amethyst, peridot, topaz, the list goes on!
It feels like some kind of magical alchemy to be able to infuse these crystals with the colors and flavors of plants and herbs. The finished confectionary treats are a reminder that we live in a wonder-filled world, from the perfume of saffron to the sparkle of a geode. These would make an absolutely wonderful gift for anyone who needs a little wonder. They take a few days to create, so plan ahead - but the actual labor of making them is quite easy.
Here are the tea blends I used, but feel free to invent your own:
Citrine: licorice root blended with wild fennel and chai spices for a strong, herbaceous brew.
This was paired with turmeric, bee pollen, and yellow beet white chocolate.
Garnet: hibiscus petals and wild roses for a tart and floral punch
This was paired with raspberry or beet white chocolate
Ruby: Dried beets steeped in tea water with a bit of rooibos
Paired with beet and maqui berry white chocolate
Amethyst: butterfly pea flowers with lavender and wild rose for a very floral flavor
This was paired with maqui berry and cornflower white chocolate
Sapphire: butterfly pea flowers and cornflowers and lavender
This was paired with butterfly pea, cornflower, matcha, and blueberry white chocolate
Peridot: Ultra-floral saffron and elderflowers paired with blue butterfly pea flowers
Paired with matcha and turmeric white chocolate
Emerald: green tea, pineapple weed, saffron, and butterfly pea flowers for a grassy, floral, uplifting brew
paired with matcha, turmeric, and peppermint or lemon balm white chocolate
Carnelian: rooibos tea with freeze-dried raspberries
Paired with bee pollen, cinnamon, and beet white chocolate.
*Note: these color codes can be useful when developing other projects using natural colors and dyes. I’ve included little bottles of powdered natural spices, veggies, fruits, etc. in the photos as well so you can see the wide variety of colors that can be obtained completely naturally!
8 oz marshmallows (any size)
1 lb powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
tea blends (above), plus lots of sugar
First, make your fondant. Grease your bowl, then add the marshmallows and vanilla and heat briefly in the microwave until melted. Start mixing briskly while adding the powdered sugar in a steady stream. You may not need the whole bag, especially if you live in a dry climate. Try adding 3/4 of it and mix in well before adding more. You want a soft and workable clay that might stick slightly to the world surface but shouldn’t stick too much to your hands. It will also stiffen as it cools to room temperature, so if it’s a little on the softer side you can wait until it cools down before kneading in more powdered sugar. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature while you prepare the next step.
You need to make the molds to form your geodes around. Do this by crumpling up a small piece of tinfoil, then wrapping that well in plastic wrap. Repeat until you have several lumps formed. They can be any size from a golf ball to a tennis ball, though the smaller ones are a bit easier to work with.
Roll out your fondant between 2 layers of plastic film wrap. You want it to be about 1/8” thick. Wrap this around your aluminum foil forms to create an even layer. Be sure to add small pieces of fondant anywhere it looks like it’s getting too thin. Place these in a dry area where they won’t be disrupted to dry for a couple of days. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to use a dehydrator, but be sure to use one that is fan only, not heat. Rotate them every few hours so they dry evenly.
When the fondant lumps are dry, carefully cut a straight line around the middle and pull them apart, being careful not to break the fragile halves. Prop these up in a muffin tin with bits of aluminum foil so they sit flat - you’re going to be filling the insides with a saturated solution, so you want to make sure you can fill them to the brim without spilling. Keep the two halves of each geode near each other as you do this to prevent confusion later.
“Seed” the geode halves: brush them with a little sugar syrup and sprinkle the whole surface with granulated sugar. This is what your crystals will grow on. You can even use some larger chunks of rock candy sugar if you want bigger crystals in certain areas. Let dry completely. Pour off any excess sugar that didn’t stick.
Make your tea: pour boiling water over your ingredients of choice and let them steep for at least 20 minutes, and up to overnight if you want them very strong. Strain.
Make your super saturated sugar solutions: Bring 1 cup of your strained tea to almost boiling in a small saucepan. Add 2 cups of sugar to the pan and stir until dissolved. Continue adding sugar to the solution one spoonful at a time until no more sugar will dissolve.
Transfer the solution slowly to a clean glass (make sure it’s one that can withstand the temperature difference, like a pyrex measuring cup!) If there is any undissolved sugar in the sauce pan, be very careful not to transfer that into the glass. Let the solution cool slightly until it is just warm to the touch but not hot.
Pour the supersaturated solution into your geode halves and place the tray somewhere it can remain undisturbed for a few days. The crystals should begin growing in a few hours, thought it can take up to overnight.
Once the crystals have reached a size you’re happy with or don’t seem to be growing anymore, dump out the extra syrup liquid (which you can save for other uses if you’d like! They’re delicious in cocktails.) Let the crystallized fondant pieces dry completely again, which may take a day or two.
Now it’s time to coat the outsides with chocolate. A note on chocolate: for crisp, hard chocolate, it should be tempered, but that doesn’t matter too much in our application since it’s just going to melt into hot chocolate anyways. If you’d like to temper it, you can look up directions on how to do that. You can also do it the “cheater way,” which is much easier but not always successful: place 2/3 of your chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 20-second increments until it is melted (do not overcook!). Add the reserved 1/3 chopped chocolate pieces and stir well until they’re all melted. If a few lumps remain, that’s okay.
Using your hands (this will be messy) coat the outside of the geodes all over in dark chocolate. Let harden in the fridge (you can prop them up on toothpicks if you want to avoid flat spots.)
Coat the geodes in another layer of chocolate, this time a different color. I think it’s nice to incorporate some of the interior crystal color into the coating, so I used colored white chocolate for a thick layer. Let cool. (To make colored white chocolate, just mix a powdered herb or spice into the melted chocolate until it’s the color you want. Notes of what I used are listed above in the gemstone colors section.)
Continue layering dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate until your geodes have a pretty thick coating on them. Let harden one more time and dust with cocoa powder (for brown) or black cocoa powder mixed with powdered sugar for gray.
When your geode half is coated in enough layers of chocolate, carefully use a sharp knife to trim the edges to reveal clean layers of crystals, fondant, and chocolate.
You can now eat your geodes as is, or add pieces of them to hot milk to make a luxurious hot chocolate.
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