Versa-Candy

Unprofessional CookeryInspiration comes from the strangest places.

I was looking at a bag of licorice tonight that my friend was eating (of which none I was offered) and I thought to myself that I could easily make better flavored licorice than the standard strawberry or anise.  As I watched him contemplatively chew his candy ( while still not offering me any..) different flavor profiles were dancing in my head. Coffee?  Cinnamon?  Blood Orange?  Juniper?  Lavender?  The vibrant flavor options flew through my head at lightning speed, much like how my friend plowed through the rest of that bag without even tempting me with a bit.

So I went home and made my own damn candy instead.  None of which I will share.  She who laughs last…

Versatile Licorice

Base Ingredients:

-1 cup light corn syrup

-1/2 cup cane sugar

-1/2 to 1 cup cake flour, sifted

Flavoring Suggestions:

Cinnamon Spice

- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

-Zest of one orange, grated

-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

-1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Coffee

-3/4 cup Nescafe Cafe De Olla Instant Coffee (Yes, you really need instant coffee for this.  I also highly recommend this one.)

Lemon Mint

-Zest of one lemon, grated

-1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract (taste as you go)

How To:

1. Combine the corn syrup and the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepot.

2. Choose your flavorings (or come up with one of your own) and add them EXCEPT for any extracts, which will be added at the end of the cooking.  Extracts can ignite and explode, as I have experienced firsthand.  Better safe than sorry if you like your eyelashes.

3. Turn the stove on VERY low.  While whisking the pot constantly and vigorously, heat the contents to about 215-220 degrees farenheit.  Do not stop whisking until the thermometer reaches this point.  Small lazy bubbles should appear if the mixture is at the right temperature.

4.Remove the pot from the heat.  Sprinkle on half a cup of the flour and whisk thoroughly.  At this time, also add any extracts if necessary.  Then continue to add more flour (while whisking) until the entire mixture becomes fairly stiff yet pliable.

5. Switch over to a wooden spoon and continue stirring the pot until the candy becomes just warm enough to handle.

6. Roll or shape the candy as you wish.

7. Allow the candy to cool completely before eating.

Traditional Licorice

Ingredients:

-1 cup blackstrap molasses

-1 cup cake flour, sifted

-1 teaspoon groud licorice root

-1 teaspoon ground anise

Procedure is the same as above.

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