For the Love of Licorice: 60 Licorice-Inspired Candies, Desserts, Meals, and More

For the Love of Licorice: 60 Licorice-Inspired Candies, Desserts, Meals, and More

by Elisabeth Johansson


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For the Love of Licorice contains sixty exciting and delicious recipes for everything from licorice fudge and salt licorice ice cream to licorice Tosca cake, licorice-marinated lamb, and licorice liqueur. These recipes are proof that there are no boundaries to how this trendy and healthy root can be used in food and sweets.

Along with recipes, this book also provides facts about the world’s most delicious root and what it can be used for:

• Raw licorice
• Licorice granules
• Licorice powder
• Salty licorice
• And more!

For the Love of Licorice is an informative read that proves not only does licorice taste good, but it’s also good for you!

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Good Books and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of cookbooks, including books on juicing, grilling, baking, frying, home brewing and winemaking, slow cookers, and cast iron cooking. We’ve been successful with books on gluten-free cooking, vegetarian and vegan cooking, paleo, raw foods, and more. Our list includes French cooking, Swedish cooking, Austrian and German cooking, Cajun cooking, as well as books on jerky, canning and preserving, peanut butter, meatballs, oil and vinegar, bone broth, and more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510712935
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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The licorice root's Greek name, Glycyrhiza is a combination of the words glycy, sweet, and rhiza, which are all roots. In English, licorice, licorice root, sweet wood, and sweet licorice are common terms. The British spelling is liquorice, while in American English it is spelled licorice. In Swedish, it's lakrits.

Licorice is made from the root of a bush-like perennial herb that is part of the legume family. It has a branched stem, scalloped leaves, and mauve flowers that grow in bundles where the leafstalk and the stem meet. The fruit itself is a maroon pod.

The licorice plant can grow anywhere along the same latitude, but grows mostly in the Mediterranean region, including Italy, France, and Spain. It can also be found in Russia, China, Iran and other parts of the Middle East, Egypt, and some parts of North America and Australia. Some of the licorice roots used in production today grow in the wild, but commercial licorice is grown in Western Europe.

It is said that the best licorice can be found in Calabria, Italy, where licorice has been cultivated since the eighteenth century. In Calabria, you can enjoy a cup of coffee flavored with licorice and have a scoop of licorice ice cream on the side! Iran is also a major licorice-producing county.

Some Species of Licorice:

Glycyrrhiza glabra is the most common licorice root in Scandinavia and Europe. It grows in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia.

Glycyrrhiza acanthocarpa grows in Australia.

Glycyrrhiza lepidota grows in North America.

Glycyrrhiza uralensis grows in China and western Asia.

Glycyrrhiza inflata grows in China and Asia.

Glycyrrhiza echinata grows in Russia.

The Twin Flavors of Licorice

There is a distinct taste of licorice in anise and star anise. Although these plants are not related to licorice, they do contain similar substances. In anise and star anise, the substance anethole is what reminds us of the sweetness of licorice. Fresh fennel also tastes a bit like licorice, but that flavor disappears if the fennel is heated.

Herbs like chervil and tarragon also taste of licorice — the latter a bit more. This is said to be caused by the substance estragole. In licorice, the glycosine glycyrrhizin causes the special flavor. Because the taste of the glycyrrhizin lingers, it's difficult to find a complementary beverage to pair with it.



Licorice is the raw material. Listed below are the refined products made from it. Use the whole licorice root for cooking if possible. Let it boil in stews or similar dishes, just as you would with bay leaves.

* Licorice roots from different areas also look different. To the left are roots from Iran. To the right are the maroon roots from Italy.

* Ground licorice root is a bright yellow powder made from dried, ground licorice roots without additives. The powder has a mild, natural, sweet licorice flavor and goes well with fish, seafood, pastries, and desserts.

* Raw licorice in sticks, blocks, or diced is hard, one hundred percent raw licorice. It can be grated or crushed and then used for flavoring hot dishes, desserts, and candy.

* Liquid licorice extract may contain food coloring, preservatives, and flavor enhancers, like anise. It's used for confectioneries, ice cream, desserts, and pastries.

* Raw licorice pastilles are mostly consumed as the candy they are, but they can also be crushed and used for flavoring pastries and hot dishes.

* Licorice granules are made by grinding or crushing sticks or blocks of raw licorice. Granules are used for foods, desserts, ice cream, candy, and pastries.

* Licorice powder is made by spray-drying the licorice mass. It becomes a fine brown powder that is easily soluble. It may contain malt sugar and works well in desserts, ice cream, candy, and pastries.

* Salty licorice powder is licorice powder mixed with salmiak salt. Used for desserts, ice cream, candy, and pastries.



In order to experience the origin of licorice and understand the processing of raw licorice from the start, I traveled to the Amarelli licorice factory. The factory is located in the village of Rossano in southern Italy. Amarelli has a long tradition of licorice production and has been making raw licorice for nearly 300 years!

There, in the Calabria region along the coast of the Ionian Sea, licorice grows in the wild. It often grows along the beaches or between fields, but sometimes it even grows between the paving stones!

About forty years ago there were approximately eighty large and medium licorice factories in the region, but today only two large factories remain: Amarelli and Naturmed.

In Italy, licorice is primarily consumed as a candy, but it's also used as a flavoring for grappa, ice cream, and coffee, among other things.

Visiting the Amarelli Licorice Factory Upon my arrival at the factory, I found heaps and heaps of licorice roots, some up to nine yards long. Amarelli buys the roots from neighboring farmers who grow their own and also harvest wild roots. Pulling up the roots is hard work and must be done with a tractor.

When the licorice roots arrive at the factory, they are washed and dried thoroughly. Then they are sorted by size, and the finer roots are cut into six-inch-long pieces. These pieces are then packed by hand.

Juice is extracted from the remaining roots. To extract the juice, the roots are chopped up and steam-boiled under pressure for three to four hours. The juice is boiled at 320° F until it turns into a viscous mass. The mass is then processed with large blades, which also adds oxygen to the mass. This makes the licorice oxidize and it becomes dark brown-black in color.

Next, the mass is pressed together into blocks or sticks. The sticks are cut into smaller pieces and left to dry with the blocks on big drying racks. Some of the mass is used to make licorice pastilles. Most of it is kept natural, but some is flavored, for example, with mint. When the pastilles are made they have a matte finish, but after going through a steam bath the finish turns nice and glossy.

I also visited Amarelli's licorice museum, where you can learn about the factory's fascinating history. Here you will also find a wonderful collection of documents and magazines about licorice from all over the world.

It was a fantastic journey. To see all the steps that go into processing licorice with my own eyes was more interesting than I had hoped. That something so natural can taste so good and be so useful was really eye — and taste bud — opening!

If you ever plan a visit to Calabria, take the time to visit the licorice museum. You can schedule a visit to the museum at



The licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a vigorous and beautiful perennial plant that would look wonderful in any herb garden. It thrives in both sun and semi-shade and grows to about 4 feet in height, but it can grow even taller in the wild. It sprouts in one to three months, and the plant blooms from July to September.

Licorice seeds sprout slowly and very irregularly. The seeds should be started in a well-drained pot filled with a sand and soil mix or Mediterranean soil. Alternatively, the soil can be mixed with perlite. Plant the seeds at a depth of about ¼ inch. February or March is a good time to plant the seeds. Once the plants have sprouted and the leaves are starting to become visible, it's time to replant them in larger pots. It's also possible to sow directly in the ground or into outdoor pots in May through September, depending on your location. Cover with a thin layer of perlite.

1. Licorice seeds.

2. Newly sprouted licorice seeds.

The plants should be covered in winter, and since they are sensitive to cold, they can be replanted into pots (big plastic pots or bottomless buckets) and taken into a greenhouse in milder regions.

Harvesting of the roots should be done once the plant is about three to four years old.

3. Time to change to a bigger pot.

4. The licorice root after two to three years.



People have used the licorice root as a medicinal plant for centuries. For example, in ancient Greece and the Roman empire it was used against asthma and the common cold. It was even more widely used as a medicinal plant in Ancient China ... and its use continues there today.

In the Nordic countries, pharmacies started selling it during the sixteenth century as an expectorant and a cure for ailing stomachs. Licorice was still available at pharmacies there as late as the 1970s.

Internal Use

Mouth: Anti-inflammatory and preventing cavities. Some say that chewing the licorice root was the forerunner to modern-day toothbrushing. Now there is toothpaste that is flavored with licorice.

Throat: Expectorant and inflammation-reducing effects. Among other things, licorice contains saponins, a soap-like substance that lowers the surface tension in mucous membranes. The saponins activate the reflexes in the bronchus, making it easier to expel mucous.

Stomach and intestines: Encourages healing and has been used for a long time for upset stomachs and intestines. Licorice contains large quantities of flavonoids, which are believed to suppress the helicobacter pylori bacteria in sore stomachs. Eating regular quantities of licorice may also have a laxative effect.

Kidney and adrenal gland: Believed to have a stimulating effect.

Liver: Believed to have a positive effect on a damaged liver, but also believed to have a protective effect in general.

Genitals: Licorice is said to be helpful in relieving menstrual cramps and in treating urinary tract infections.

External Use

Skin and hair: Licorice has been used in skin products for a long time. In Asia, it is common to find licorice in products for treating acne and psoriasis. Licorice is believed to have a healing effect on exuding wounds, rashes, and eczema. They also make shampoo with licorice, which can have a positive effect on the scalp. In addition, licorice has been used for a long time in the treatment of herpes, both herpes labialis and genital herpes.

Since licorice has a minor bleaching effect on the skin, skin care products with licorice can be used to help lighten irregular pigments and spots. However, they should not be used when tanning.

The licorice root contains around 20 fungus-reducing substances, which might help in treating athlete's foot.



Throat Tea with Licorice, Sage, and Peppermint

A nice, warming tea that is good for the throat. Licorice is an expectorant and can help calm a cough. The peppermint helps to open the airways, and the slightly antibiotic sage soothes the throat and can speed healing.

1 cup water
Boil the water and licorice root in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the peppermint. Let it steep for a few minutes. Add the sage and let it steep several more minutes. Sift, then add some honey if desired.

For coughs: Chew licorice root or drink brewed tea with crushed licorice root. Another option is to combine some ground licorice root with honey and add it to a glass of hot water, then drink the water.

For throat inflammation: Drink tea brewed with crushed licorice root, dried chamomile, and sage.

Moisturizing Licorice Hand Bath

A moisturizing and beautiful hand bath that is healthy for both body and soul.

½ tsp. ground licorice root
Mix licorice root, salt, lavender, and peppermint oil together in a bowl. Next, add some soap, then add some fresh flowers and start adding the water. Let your hands rest in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, rinse your hands and dry them thoroughly. Rub your hands with an oil or hand cream.



English Licorice Confectionery

* Sweets that are fun to make! And isn't it fun to know how to make your own English confections? Ensuring you have the correct measurements for the ingredients is important when making these sweets, so I've stated the weight of the ingredients for this recipe.


Licorice mass
Let the gelatin for the licorice mass sit in a bowl of cold water for 5–10 minutes. Combine the licorice granules, water, liquid malt, cane sugar, and flour in a saucepan. While stirring continuously, boil and bring the mixture to 185° F or until it starts to thicken. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Take the gelatin sheets from the water, put them in the warm mixture, and stir until the sheets have melted.

Pour the warm licorice mixture onto a silicone baking mat then use a palette knife to spread it out into a thin rectangle. Let it harden for 1–2 days at room temperature.

Finely grate the marzipan, then mix it with the coconut and glucose. Roll out the marzipan filling between pieces of plastic wrap to about the same size as the licorice rectangle. Then put the marzipan over the licorice, leaving about ¼ inch without filling along the upper edge of the licorice rectangle.

Form it into a roll; you may need to add a little water along the edge to make it stick together. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into approximately 20 pieces. This confection will last a couple of weeks in an airtight jar.

Licorice Balls

* Boost your day with energetic licorice balls and a fresh, cold smoothie.


12 soft, dried, seeded dates
Let the dates soak in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain. Blend the cashew nuts finely, then add the dates and blend together. Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil, and licorice granules. Blend into a smooth paste, then put the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, roll the paste into balls. Finely chop 2 oz. of dark chocolate and melt it carefully in the microwave, ensuring that it does not burn. Finely chop the remaining dark chocolate, then mix it with licorice granules on a flat plate. Put some of the melted chocolate in your palm and roll one of the balls in your hand, covering it with the chocolate. Next, roll the ball in the chocolate and licorice mix. Repeat this procedure with the rest of the balls. Place them into the paper molds and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These will last for several weeks.

Peach Smoothie Topped with Raw Licorice and Coconut

* An ice cold and amazingly tasty smoothie.

Dice and core the peaches, then place them in the freezer for 1 hour (or use frozen, diced mango).

Blend the fruit and juice with a stick blender. Pour into glasses and top with the licorice granules and coconut.

Licorice Butterscotch with Chili

* Licorice and chili in a butterscotch as smooth as silk!


1¼ cups cane sugar
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, boil the sugar and glucose together into amber butterscotch. The mix should boil to 340° F. Stir carefully a few times.

Meanwhile, heat the butter, cream, and licorice granules in another saucepan. Take both pans off the stove. Add the cream mixture very slowly and carefully into the butterscotch (note that the butterscotch will sizzle). Put the saucepan back on the stove and boil to 256° F, stirring occasionally. Use caution, as it can possibly boil over and create a mess.

Do a ball test, then add the liquid licorice aroma and/or black food coloring, if desired, and stir.

Pour the paste into a 7 x 6-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Once the butterscotch has hardened a little, sprinkle the sea salt and chili flakes over the top. Let the butterscotch harden overnight at room temperature. Once hardened, cut it into pieces using a knife that has been coated with a neutral cooking oil and dried. Wrap the pieces in plastic or parchment paper. Store the butterscotch in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Chocolate-Dipped Licorice Butterscotch

Cook a batch of the licorice butterscotch, but do not sprinkle on the sea salt and chili flakes. Chop and temper 7 oz. of milk or dark (56–70%) chocolate, (see page 36 for instructions). Cut the butterscotch as described above, then dip the pieces in the tempered chocolate. Sprinkle sea salt over the pieces then let them harden. (See the picture on page 41.)

Salmiak and Licorice Butterscotch

Cook a batch of the licorice butterscotch, but do not sprinkle on the sea salt and chili flakes. Instead, sprinkle with some salmiak salt once the butterscotch has hardened a little. (See the picture on page 133.)

Ball Test

Drip some butterscotch batter into a glass of cold water. If the butterscotch can be rolled into a ball, it is ready. At 250° F, the ball is rather soft; at 255° F it becomes harder.


Excerpted from "For the Love of Licorice"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Elisabeth Johansson.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Refined Licorice Products,
A Licorice Voyage to Calabria,
Grow Your Own Licorice,
Licorice — The Healthy Root,
Household Remedies with Licorice,
Ice Cream,
Wine and Other Beverages,
Licorice Tasting,
The History of Licorice Candy,
Licorice Festivals,
Where to Buy,
Conversion Charts,
Thank You,

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For the Love of Licorice: 60 Licorice-Inspired Candies, Desserts, Meals, and More 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The source and story of this unique flavour and scent. The only thing that would make this full review of the ingredient and its many uses in candies to main entrees . . . Would be to have the pages giving off the scent of this marvellous herb!