Making horehound drops

Yield: 1 batch

Measure Ingredient
1 cup Fresh horehound leaves
1 cup Water
2 cups Sugar
2 tablespoons Corn syrup or honey

Put the horehound in a small nonreactive sauce pan and add the water.

Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, or 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove horehound and squeeze out all the liquid. Add the sugar and corn syrup or honey to the pan, stir with a wooden spoon while bringing to a boil, then turn heat down to a gentle simmer. If bubbles threaten to overflow the pan, reduce heat slightly and stir.

Boil to the hard-crack stage. If you have a candy thermometer, this is in the range of 330 F, but even so you'll need to test often toward the end of cooking to get the hardness right. Keep a shallow cup of cold water nearby. Stir the liquid occasionally, and watch how it falls from the spoon. When it forms a thread, begin testing for hardness by allowing a drop of the mixture to fall into the cup of cold water. Don't trust your fingers to examine the now-hardened drop in the cup; bite it. If it's at all gooey or sticks to your teeth, keep cooking. When it's hard enough to crack when you bite it, remove the pan from heat immediately.

If the mixture crystallizes, just add a cup of water and an extra tablespoon of corn syrup or honey to the pan, scrape all the crystalline chunks into it, and begin again.

Lightly butter a candy mold, cookie sheet, or other heatproof baking pan, and pour in the hot mixture. If you're using a flat-bottomed pan, score the surface of the candy after it has cooled enough to become firm. This will help in breaking it apart, which should be done as soon as the candy can be handled.

After individual "drops" are formed, sift granulated sugar or powdered sugar over them to keep them from sticking together. Store in a moisture-proof container.

Source: The Herb Companion - February/March 1993 Typed for you by Karen Mintzias

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