Black Liquorice - or “drop” as the Dutch call it - is the candy equivalent of crack cocain in the Netherlands.
On average the Dutch eat 2 kilo’s per head each year of this black salty / sweet stuff (!), leading the pack of
drop affecionado countries around the North Sea.
Drop is surely an acquired taste, and it is said anyone living west of Frankfurt (Germany) will gladly eat it,
and to the east people just spit it out. But don’t worry: this classic cinnamon dusted drop is easy on the tongue.
This is a great introduction to drop for all candy adventurists out there.
Try it - 16 million Dutch can't be wrong!
Corn Starch, for molds
Rubber stamp (non-inked!) or small figurine as the mold positive
Ingredients for 100 grams of candy
320 ml Water
50 g Liquorice-root slivers or shavings (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
20 g Brown Sugar
6 g Wheat-flour, Corn flour or Potato flour
4 g Salmiac (Ammonium Chloride NH4Cl)
4 g Gelatin powder, or 2 sheets
0,2 g Activated carbon (eg. Norit™)
Step 1: Preparing Molds & Skipping the Hard Part
You can keep it simple, as I did, and fill a pie-tin with a thick layer of Corn Starch, compressing it with a roller and
punching a rubber stamp into the starch to form molds.
Or, if you want to get all production-line fancy pantsy, follow Sandds’ very effective “Corn Starch Candy Molds ” Instructable.
(Great job, Sandds!)
If you want to skip these preperations and step 10, consider using flexible ice-cube molds.
The results will look quite professional.
To skip Steps 2, 3 and 4, you can weigh 3 grams of Laurel Liquorice pieces into 100 ml of water. Don’t be ashamed of using these “blokdrop” pallets. Nobody in the industry is ;-) They’ll save you lots of time and work.
Or skip this step and follow Steps 2, 3 and 4 instead.
[NB. Laurel Liquorice doesn’t contain any laurel these days. Blocks of blokdrop (litt. “block liquorice”) used to be
packaged with laurel leaves in between, to keep them from sticking together. The aromatic taste of laurel was
considered a bonus. Today “blokdrop” and “laurel liquorice” are actually synonymous, the blocks are packed
in paper or plastic.]
Step 2: Cut the Liquorice-root
Step 2: Shave, whittle or cut 50 grams of Liquorice-roots into slivers or shavings.
Pro tip: (ab)use an old pencil-sharpener :-)
Step 3: Boiling, Boiling, Boiling...
Step 3: Boil the Liquorice-root slivers in 300 milliliters of water for 10 minutes.
Do not fully close the lid on the pan. Stir occasionally.
Longer boiling times will yield a stronger extract.
Step 4: Strain the Extract
Step 4: Strain the Liquorice-root extract into the second pan.
Press the pulp to squeeze out more extract.
Step 5: Add the Tasties
Step 5: Add the Brown Sugar, Salmiac and Active Carbon.
Stir and boil to dissolve.
Boil the extract on low heat, until concentrated to 70 - 80 ml of black syrup.
Further concentration will yield a much stronger tasting product.
Step 6: Prepare the Binders
Step 6: Meanwhile, soak the Gelatin and Flour in 20 ml of cold water in the first pan.
Heat and stir this mixture to melt the Gelatin and gel the Flour at boiling point.
Vegans can use 5 grams of Agar-Agar powder instead of Gelatin.
This batch was made with Agar-Agar.
Step 7: Mix the Binders and Syrup
Step 7: Take both pans off the heat and mix the Gelatin/Flour gel with the Liquorice syrup.
Quickly stir the thick mixture until it’s thoroughly mixed.
Step 8: Make and Fill the Molds
Step 8: Push the stamp into the Flour to form molds.
Pour the hot, thick mixture into these Corn Starch molds.
(No, those in the picture won't win any beauty contest :-)
Let the candies cool and set overnight, in a cool and dry environment.
Step 9: Check the Product
9 Next day (or next week, when using Agar-Agar), pick a single candy from it’s mold and break/tear it apart.
If the core is still liquefied, the candies need more time to cure.
Repeat until the remaining batch is proven to be fully cured.
Eat the evidence :-)
Step 10: Clean the Candies
Step 10: Take the candies from their molds and brush off the Starch.
You can re-use the starch to form new molds.
Step 11: Dust 'em Good!
Step 11: Give your Liquorice candies a tasty brown dusting of Cinnamon Powder.
(The spice must flow!)
You can do this quickl & clean by shaking them in a sealed bag, along with a dose of cinnamon.
Step 12: Suggestions
Kept cool in an airtight container, these dark beauties will keep for months.
If you like a stronger cinnamon taste, consider adding it to the water at step 0 or 1.
Next time try dusting the candies with a 1:1 mixture of Sugar and Salmiac.