Black Licorice Caramels just like grandma used to make. A creamy, soft caramel flavored with anise. The best black licorice recipe out there!
Growing up, we always went to my Great Grandma’s home for the holidays. There we would find homemade black licorice caramels perfectly wrapped for all to enjoy.
I have to admit, when I was younger anise-flavored anything was not a tastebud pleaser for me as for a lot of kids but as I grow older my tastebuds changed and pallet “matured.” <–I swear that really is a thing.
Although I didn’t take advantage of my grandma’s yummy black licorice caramels then, I do now!
You know, what’s even more fun about these around Christmas time?! They look like a lump of coal. I would totally take a lump of coal in my stocking if it was a piece of this black licorice caramel!
Every holiday season, the girls in my family get together over a weekend and prepare hand dipped and hand made holiday chocolates. It’s a tradition that I can remember doing since I was a very little girl.
Over the past few years, I’ve honed my English toffee, soft caramels, peanut brittle and peanut butter cups as these are the items I’m fully in charge of.
We make so many different kinds of chocolates we include in our boxes. This year we were up to 21 different kinds! Here are a few of my favorites, in addition to the once I’ve already listed above, I’ve shared the recipes for here:
- Almond balls
- S’mores Chocolate Boxes
- Tiger Butter Bark
- White Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Mint Patties
This anise black licorice caramel recipe is one of my favorites and I’m happy it’s on my list of chocolate making to-does!
If you like caramel and you like soft black licorice you are going to LOVE this recipe so much! This black licorice caramel has been known to win over even the non-anise fan. Seriously!
TRICKS FOR MAKING PERFECTLY SMOOTH BLACK LICORICE CARAMELS?
To make a perfectly smooth black licorice caramel, make sure all sugar crystals are dissolved. Here are a few tips you can use to help avoid crystallization:
- Don’t scrape the side of the pot during cooking.
- Refrain from scraping the sides of the pot with your spoon. scrape the sides of the pot, undissolved sugar crystals may stick to the sides and cause a reaction (sugar to crystallize) after you pour the caramel into the pan to cool.
- Wash down the side of the pot using a basting brush and water.
- As the mixture boils sugar crystals may spatter up onto the side of the pot. Washing down the sides of the pot help crystals fall back into the pot to be melted. I wash down the sides multiple times throughout the process every 30 seconds to a minute. I also wash down the top of the wooden spoon I use.
- Don’t scrape the pot after you pour out the caramel.
- Once the caramel is done you will pour it into a greased pan of your choice. Make sure not to scrape the sides of the pan when you pour the hot mixture out.
- If you are adamant about getting every last drop of that sticky sweet stuff, pour the mixture into the pan without scraping the pot, then scrape the remainder into a jar or other heat-resistant container/pan. Don’t mix them. It’s much more likely for the caramel you scrape out of the pan to crystalize. It only takes a single crystal to trigger a chain reaction and make your smooth caramel goodness go “grainy.”
WHAT DO I USE TO WRAP THE BLACK LICORICE CARAMELS?
If you plan to share this black licorice treat as a gift or on a treat platter, wrap individual pieces of caramel using waxed paper. Waxed paper will allow for the caramels to release when unwrapped.
For a small (0.5 x 0.5 x 1 inch) rectangle piece of caramel, I use a piece of waxed paper that’s about 3 inches by 4 inches. This gives me enough waxed paper on each side to twist and seal the caramel inside to help keep freshness.
You can also use parchment paper but it’s thicker quality makes it harder to twist the ends to seal. Place pieces in an airtight container to preserve freshness and keep the caramel soft.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CANDY?
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family, friends and I do. It’s, dare I say it, the best black licorice recipe out there. YUM!
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE AND DIRECTIONS HERE:
Black Licorice Caramels
Black Licorice Caramels just like grandma used to make. A creamy, soft caramel flavored with anise. One of the best black licorice recipes out there!
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 lb dark brown sugar, about 2 1/4 cups packed
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 to 1.5 oz anise extract
- black food coloring or gel coloring
- In a large pot add sweetened condensed milk, dark brown sugar, salted butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium to medium-high heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning bottom.
- Using a basting brush and water, wash down sided of pot to help sugar to dissolve. (about every minute or so).
- Mixture will begin to bubble and increase in volume. Avoid scraping sides of pan as this can make the caramel crystallize during the cooling phase (and go "grainy" or "sugary.") Using a calibrated candy thermometer, cook mixture to 234-238 degrees F or softball stage (depending on how soft or firm you want your caramels to be).
- You can also test how soft or firm it is by dipping a spoonful into a cup of ice water to cool quickly.
- Remove from heat and add black food coloring (or gel coloring) and anise extract.
- Pour into a butter-greased 9x13 inch pan. Pour quickly and DO NOT scrape sides of pan (this can cause the black licorice caramel to crystallize and go grainy.
- Once cooled, wrap individual pieces in waxed paper and store in an airtight container or bag. Will keep for several weeks if kept cool.
- You can wash sides of pan using a basting brush and water to help remove any sugar crystals that may have splashed onto the side of the pot. The water helps push sugar crystals back into the pot to minimize the possibility of crystallization (caramels going grainy).
- If you want to save ALL the black licorice caramel including what is left in the pan after pouring the majority into the 9x13 inch pan, scrape the remaining caramel into a separate pan or jar. The portion that was scraped is more likely to go grainy do to sugar crystals on the side of the pot. If poured into the rest it may cause the whole batch to go grainy.
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OP: 12.10.19 Re-shared: 12.15.20
Yes, caramels take a surprising amount of anise flavoring to taste like licorice. If you can find oil it takes less to get there but alcohol based flavoring or extract does take a lot.
I have made licorice caramels many times only using heavy cream instead and have found it takes lots of Anise flavoring to taste like good licorice.
Yes, that is correct. If you are using anise extract which is the less expensive flavoring (I recently bought a 2 oz bottle for about $4). If you are using an extra strength or oil you can start low and increase if desired. If you’re still worried about it being too strong, you can start with 1-2 teaspoons and adjust to your liking. My family prefers a black licorice flavor that is distinct and not just a hint. This caramel tastes like licorice but has the texture of caramel. If you enjoy black licorice, you will love this caramel. Thanks for stopping by.
Is that extract measurement correct, 1 to 1 1/2 oz? That’s half my bottle! I looked up other recipes and they all say teaspoons so I’m hesitant to put an ounce in.
Did the caramels in the pan go hard but are still smooth or hard as in grainy or sugary? Either way, I think it CAN be saved. If you heat the mixture up again in a saucepan and add 1/3-1/2 cup of water. Stir and wash down the sides as you reheat the mixture to the correct temperature. pour out into a new, clean pan. Make sure you don’t scrap the pot when you pour it. If there are any grains of unmelted sugar it will cause the mixture to form sugar crystals (and harden while being very grainy rather than smooth).
My caramels in the pan turned super hard and I can’t cut them – I didn’t go over in the temperature!? So I’m confused why they did this. Can I save them some how or am I doomed.? They were so yummy when they first got cooked abs were soft .
I totally understand! I love that this caramel has an amazing texture, so soft and smooth, and a sweet anise flavor. Some black licorice candies almost have a bitter flavor… not these. So yummy!
I don’t really care for black licorice, but I love black licorice caramels. I think that I am going to try this recipe. Wish me luck