Historic and Traditional
Herb Candy Recipes
Basic Herb Candy Recipe
3 cups strong herb tea
3 ½ pounds granulated sugar (about 8 cups)
Method: Mix sugar and tea in large saucepan (use one a lot bigger than you think you'll need - the mixture foams up and could easily overflow). Boil until mixture reaches 292 degrees (be sure to make adjustments for altitude**.) Pour into large, shallow buttered pan and let cool. Cut into pieces before it hardens all the way. You could also pull it like taffy, if you want a softer, chewier candy.
Using a candy thermometer, see what temperature water boils at your altitude. For example, at my altitude, water boils at about 188 degrees. Subtract that from 212 (boiling point at sea level, which is what almost all recipes use), which is 24 degrees. Subtract that from the temperature in the recipe - 292 minus 24 equals 268 degrees.
Sesame Seed Brittle
6 ounces granulated sugar
1 ounce water
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
oil, as needed
In a small sauce pot cook the sugar and water until caramel in color. Pour onto an oiled sheet pan. Pour the sesame seeds onto the caramel. Allow to cool. Once cooled, break brittle into small pieces. The brittle should be prepared at least 4 hours ahead of time. Cover and store in a cool dry place.
(mixed fruits and nut nougat with egg whites)
8 Oz/250 gr of Sugar
1 Small glass of cold water
1 TBSP/15ml of orange flower water
8 Oz/250 gr of lavender honey
3 eggs whites beaten stiff
7 Oz/200gr of almonds peeled and roasted
4 Oz/100 gr of Pistachios, peeled and toasted
4 Oz/100 gr mixed candied peel
Preparation: Over a gentle heat melt the sugar with the water and the orange flower water in a heavy based pan. Melt the honey in another pan, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon. when a drop of honey in cold water can be formed into a hard ball, remove from heat and mix with the sugar syrup into the honey. Immediately fold in the eggs whites until well blended. Return this to the heat and continue cooking and stirring over low heat. When the nugat is very thick and matt white. This may take about 45 minutes! Stir in the nuts and fruits little by little, after first warming them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Pour the nougat into a well - oiled pan, about 3/4 size but same depth as for the nougat noir ( see recipe below), lined with rice paper. Slice into squares and serve lukewarm.
(white nougat with slices)
1 lb/500 gr of whole almonds peeled
1 lb/500 gr lavender or other honey
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
For the honey into a heavy-based saucepan over a very gentle heat and stir steadily with a wooden spoon. When the honey begins to bubble throw in the almonds and orange zest. Continue stirring until the almonds start to crack and turn golden in the middle and the honey is dark brownish-black. Remove from heat, continue to stir until tepid and for into a well-oiled pan (about 9 x 6 x 1 1/2-in /24 x 15 x 3.5 cm) lined with more rice paper and a weighted board of the same size as the inside of the pan. Refrigerate and slice into small squares when completely cool. Occasionally it is possible to find old fashioned nougat pans with spring-release sides and bases. This makes it considerably easier to remove the nougat from its pan for slicing.
Ancient Roman Recipe
200g fresh or dried dates
50g coarsely ground nuts or stone-pine kernels
a little bit of salt
honey, or red wine with honey (to stew)
Take the stones out of the dates and fill them with nuts or stone-pine kernels. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the filled dates and stew them in honey or honey-sweetened red wine. The dates have to be cooked in on low heat until their paring starts to come off (approximately 5-10 minutes).
Recipe for Crystallized Roses
from 'A Modern Herbal' by Mrs. M. Grieve
Choose a dry day for gathering the roses and wait until the dew evaporates, so that the petals are dry. Before gathering the roses, dissolve 2 OZ. of gum-arabic in 1/2 pint of water. Separate the petals and spread them on dishes. Sprinkle them with the gumarabic solution, using as many petals as the solution will cover. Spread them on sheets of white paper and sprinkle with castor sugar, then let them dry for 24 hours. Put 1 lb. of sugar (loaf) and 1/2 pint of cold water into a pan, stir until the sugar has melted, then boil fast to 250 degrees F., or to the thread degree. This is ascertained by dipping a stick into cold water, then into the syrup and back into the water. Pinch the syrup adhering to the stick between the thumb and finger and draw them apart, when a thread should be formed. Keep the syrup well skimmed. Put the rose petals into shallow dishes and pour the syrup over. Leave them to soak for 24 hours, then spread them on wire trays and dry in a cool oven with the door ajar. The syrup should be coloured with cochineal or carmine, in order to give more colour to the rose-petals.
2 c Sugar
1/2 c Light corn syrup
1/2 c Boiling water
1/4 Ts Cream of tartar
1/2 Ts Food coloring
1/2 Ts Anise oil OR 1 1/2 Ts Anise extract
Directions: Combine sugar, corn syrup, boiling water and cream of tartar in a medium-heavy saucepan. Boil until mixture spins a thread or reaches 200 F on a candy thermometer. Add food coloring and anise oil. Pour into a buttered 9x9" pan. Cut into 3/4 inch squares when partially hardened, or when hard break into jagged pieces. May be rolled in confectioner's sugar.
Cinnamon Hard Candy
1 cup white sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup water
1/4 tsp. cinnamon oil
1/4 tsp. red food coloring
Combine sugar, syrup, and water in a sauce pan. Boil without stirring over med-high heat until it reaches hard crack stage. Use a thermometer or very cold water. I use the cold water. When you put about a teas. in the cold water and let it sit for 10 or 15 seconds you can take it out and it will break with a snap. Towards the end of the cooking time the mixture will thicken considerably and turn a yellowish color. It is essential to watch the pot at this point because it will burn easily and quickly. You may also stir it at this point to prevent scorching. When done, remove from heat and quickly stir in the oil and coloring. Pour into a 9 x 9 metal pan that has been lined with about 1/4 to 1/3 inch of powdered sugar. Let cool until the edges start to firm up and then immediately begin to cut the pieces from around the edges. Keep cutting around the edges as the candy hardens. Cutting takes practice because the candy can harden quickly. Some just let it get rock hard and break it with a mallet but this makes it harder to control the size of the pieces and also the pieces have sharp edges that can cut one's mouth.
1 lb Angelica stalks
1 lb Granulated sugar
The most important thing about candying angelica is to choose stalks that are young and tender. Angelica is only worth candying in April or May when the shoots are new and softly coloured. Trim the young shoots into 3-4 inch lengths, put them into a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Drain and scrape away tough skin and fibrous threads with a potato peeler, rather as you might prepare celery. Return the angelica to the pan, pour on fresh boiling water and cook until green and tender. If the shoots are as youthful as they should be, this will take 5 minutes or less. Drain the stalks and dry them. Put them into a bowl and sprinkle granulated sugar between layers, allowing 1 pound of sugar for every 1 pound of angelica. Cover and leave for 2 to 3 days. Slide contents of the bowl into a heavy-based pan. Bring very slowly to the boil and simmer until the angelica feels perfectly tender and looks clear.
Drain, then roll or toss the shoots on greaseproof paper thickly strewn with sugar, letting the angelica take up as much sugar as will stick to it. Then dry off the angelica - without letting it become hard - in the oven, using the lowest possible temperature. I place the stalks directly on the oven shelves (with trays underneath to catch any falling sugar) and find they need about 3 hours. Wrap and store after cooling completely. Packed into pretty little boxes, home-candied angelica makes a charming present.