And Other Important Facts About Licorice
First off, let's start with a little bit of background on licorice - also spelled liquorice, and both ways are correct. The name translates to glycyrrhiza glabra, an ancient Greek word meaning "sweet root".
And it's the licorice root that got the wonderful licorice plant discovered in the first place. So if you're interested in how licorice candy is made (and other licorice facts), this post is for you!
A Brief History - The Roots
Dating back in history all the way to King Tutankhamun in Egypt, large amounts of licorice root were found in his tomb, though no one knows exactly why. What we do know is that the Egyptians made a sweet drink called "Mai sus" from licorice root, and believed it to have many healing properties.
There is also evidence of it being used by the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, the Babylonians, and the Brahmans in India! Many ancient people knew about chewing licorice roots for the healing properties it contains.
Origins of Licorice Candy
The manufacture of licorice in confectionery began in the 13th Century when it began appearing in cakes and recipes for a variety of delicious sweets. But black licorice candy began in Southern Asia, then spread to the Middle East and Southern Europe and in England, the licorice plant was found growing at a monastery.
From there, the United States and beyond. Different parts of the world enjoy licorice candy in different ways, however. In 1908 an ad for black licorice candy appeared by a place called the National Licorice Company, in a wide variety of different shapes including cigarettes!
How is Licorice Made?
Today, there are a variety of recipes that use the root still, such as liquorice root tea. Real licorice manufacture starts by making licorice paste. Liquorice extract or licorice root extract is another major ingredient. It is said that licorice extract has a flavor that's 50 times sweeter than sugar!
Sugar, corn starch, rice flour or wheat flour (typically), a binder, ammonium chloride, dark molasses, gelatin, salt, and other flavorings, etc., make up the general recipe for manufacturing the delicious black licorice flavored candy.
Then, the mixture is cooked and extruded through a specialized nozzle that creates the different shapes and ropes, before packaging. Of course, there are other steps depending on what kind of black licorice candies are being made, and even recipe variations in flavor.
Homemade Licorice Candy
Did you know you can make homemade licorice candy, right in your own kitchen? You can make black licorice, or if you prefer the taste of red licorice, you can make that, too!
Some people don't care for the black licorice flavor, and other flavors of licorice candy are made with a totally different recipe. So if you love the black licorice flavor, come visit us at Licorice.com, where licorice lovers unite!
We have 50+ flavors and numerous varieties of licorice candy from all over the world. But if you just can't wait for your order to arrive, you can DIY.
You Will Need
To make black licorice candy at home, make sure you have a candy thermometer so you can tell the temperature of the liquid as you heat it. If you heat it too much or too little, it won't be the right consistency.
You will also need parchment paper (or wax paper), as the parchment paper will keep the chewy mixture from sticking when you cool it down.
You'll use a bread loaf pan to pour the mixture until half-filled. You don't want it filled more than that, or you won't be able to cut it into the desired length easily with a pizza cutter, which works best.
Lastly, you'll need an airtight container to store it in, in your refrigerator. This will allow you to have about a week to eat your licorice candy.
Instead of a recipe, as there are multiple variations, here is a list of common ingredients in black licorice made at home:
- Black licorice extract
- Anise extract (Today, many types of black licorice are actually flavored with anise because anise is tolerable to more people.)
- Sugar, or refined sugar
- Corn syrup (corn syrup is another type of sweetener)
- Molasses (blackstrap molasses for most intense flavor, but regular molasses will also work)
- Corn starch (a starch is necessary for thickening, primarily)
- Wheat flour (You don't have to use wheat flour if you want gluten-free licorice use brown rice flour. Rice flour is gluten-free and a healthy substitute for wheat flour.)
- Butter (butter is used in the recipe and then you'll need more butter to grease the parchment paper)
- Sweetened condensed milk (this ultra-sweet milk comes in a can)
- Dark syrup or honey is sometimes used along with sugar
You'll be able to find a good recipe online for the kind of licorice you like best. The above list and information give you a good general idea of what you're looking at. If you aren't too fond of the strong, bittersweet flavor of black licorice, try the anise extract instead.
If you prefer the taste of red licorice instead, basically you will omit the molasses entirely, as well as the licorice extract (or anise). You can use strawberry, cherry, or raspberry flavors. Other instructions or recipe variations are possible as well.
Many believed health benefits are associated with licorice root, going back to ancient times. King Tutankhamun, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Caesar (ancient Roman Emperor), India's prophet Brahma and ancient Chinese Emperor Shennang are all known to have found licorice root beneficial in different ways.
Some of the believed properties and health issues it helped were things like vitality and anti-aging qualities, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory issues, hydration, and more.
Health Benefits and Risks
Today it is still used in lozenges and cough syrups for easing sore throats and respiratory problems as well as gastrointestinal issues and as an anti-inflammatory.
Those who have high blood pressure should be aware that the combination of this health condition and daily consumption of 2 oz. or more of real black licorice candy, is associated with an increase in blood pressure and should avoid eating too much of the candy.
To simply have one of our delectable licorice candy selections delivered right to your front door, check out our varieties right here on this website, today! Each order comes packed in a shipping tube containing approximately one pound of soft, chewy licorice. Gift baskets and gift cards are also available and make a terrific and thoughtful gift.
We ship worldwide, and our prices are very competitive. When you really need a 'licorice fix', come to Licorice.com. Licorice is our passion, here at Licorice.com - where licorice lovers unite!