Serious Eats: Talk
Back to the test kitchen...licorice. Tips?
Every once in a while I get a wild hair. Last Christmas it was bacon. Now it's licorice.
I eat soft licorice with reckless abandon. Kookaburra red, Darrell Lea mango, and yes, nibs. We're talking a bag in a sitting.
A while back, I started wondering what it would entail to make licorice, thinking it wouldn't be too bad. I've had a little candy experience, mostly making caramel of various sorts. I was wrong.
First off, there is little information of much use on the interwebs about the subject. I spent a reasonable amount of time looking. Then, I stumbled upon a post from a cheesemaking blog cheeseaday. The author has a link to SE, so right off the bat, he earned some credibility.
He listed a "master recipe" for any type of fruit licorice, stating that he had tried kiwi, mango, and raspberry with great success. The recipe is fairly straightforward, but I managed to botch it the first time trying to make peach.
He uses 1c sugar, 1/2c fruit puree, 3/4tsp citric acid, 1/8tsp salt and 1/2c flour. He mixes everything but the flour and states that you should let it gently come to 265F; just shy of soft crack. He neglects to mention you've got to stir to keep your sugar from scorching.
That produces a confection more like a now-and-later than any licorice I've tasted. It also looks nothing like the picture he posted. When I got up there with two different batches, they both started turning pretty brown. Which was very different from the soft yellow mango to the bright green kiwi and deep red raspberry. The texture is way off of what I'd like it to be, and you can for sure taste the raw flour.
The final product on round two was better than round one, but it still is not what I want. I'll be testing out another batch at a lower temperature, like 220F or less, closer to soft ball territory, to try to achieve the desired texture. I also may muck around with the citric acid a bit and see how much flour I can get rid of.
Any ideas to this point?