This post is for all the black licorice lovers out there. To be clear, I am not one of them. This is dedicated to my one of my brothers and one of my sister-in-laws who absolutely love the stuff (these two are not married to each other but to other of my siblings). In our house at Easter, there was always the sorting of the jelly beans with swaps of black for red or orange ones. It was my first experience ever with barter and a kind of currency exchange. The rates weren’t all that great.
When I saw this recipe on Food52, I thought, “Meh, why not?” I enjoy making sweets, so this could be another interesting recipe to add to my portfolio. Besides, it could make a unique holiday gift. Turns out, this was super simple to make, just as easy as a caramel sauce or Almond Toffee, and the method is rather similar to cooking each of these: boiling hot sugar and butter and other stuff brought to just the right temperature. Just make sure to have a candy thermometer on hand to test the temperature.
I found black food gel at New York Cake & Baking Supplies, which also has a lots of different colors of sprinkles and food colorings for baking. By some miraculous twist of fate, I did not get black dye all over my kitchen. Instead, the only casualty of this culinary experience was the wooden spoon I’d used to mix everything together. With time, I hope that that will wear off. Here’s how the recipe came together:
I brought in samples for the pastry team at work and gifted some to a licorice-loving friend for his birthday. They all really seemed to enjoy it. Everyone said they would have amped up the anise flavor to at least double the recipe amount and would have added a touch more salt as well. Be aware, too, that moisture does have an impact on the results, so if you are in a humid area, you’ll want to store this in the refrigerator until ready to eat.