Monday, October 18, 2010

Cough Drops

I love candy. And I hate coughing. I also have a fully stocked herb cupboard. And way too much icing sugar.

There are a ton of different herbs you can use to make your cough drops. These contain Licorice root (chest and throat soother), sage (sore throats), peppermint (decongestant and expectorant), elder flower (soothes irritation, and helps unclog sinuses), and horehound (pain reliever, avoid if pregnant).

These are only a few herbs you can use in your own cough drops. If you know of a commercial tea that helps sooth what ails you, steep a good strong pot of it and use it instead.

Mix the tea with sugar on a 1:1 ratio. A cup of tea, to a cup of sugar. I did two cups of tea, so two cups of sugar. I also threw in 1/4 tsp of Cream of Tarter, which helps prevent the sugar from crystallizing.

I threw this together in a nice deep pot, clipped my candy thermometer on, and set it to Med High heat. Use a candy thermometer! This is vital, as sugar that is too hot will caramalize, and sugar that is too cold won't set into nice hard cough drops. It's amazing how quickly these changes can happen!

Only stir until the sugar dissolves. I've found this happens pretty quickly. After that resist the urge to stir! Stirring encourages crystallization, which isn't at all what you're looking for in a cough drop. If you notice crystals are forming on the side of the pot, just push them down with a brush soaked in hot water.

Your mixture will bubble quite quickly up to around 235 degrees, then will hover there for a little bit. Around 20 min to half an hour. So don't panic, go set up your candy molds. All I did was fill a baking sheet with icing sugar, and use a food colouring bottle to mark a whole bunch of little divits to pour the candy into. It's really easy.

Once your candy hits 300 degrees, not a degree below or above, remove it from the heat. At this point, I stirred in 1/4 tsp of Cinnamon extract. I could have also used vanilla, but my extract isn't prepared yet. Go here to make your own too!  Feel free to play around with flavours here. The candy will bubble a bit when you add the extract, so don't panic. Just stir it around and move over to your molds.

Just pour carefully into your candy molds and you'll be fine. I was a little careless in mine, but it's all ok. I did have a little bit left over, which I poured onto a marble slab. It made a little cough drop window.

Enjoy your cough drops! Play around with flavours and herbal combinations to your hearts desire!


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