9/15/21

Homemade low carb, sugarfree black licorice (can also be black licorice gummies)

 

Sugar free Black Licorice


Be sure to read the *notes* under the recipe before starting because you have a couple options for anise extract, fennel seeds and the activated charcoal.  I will also explain how this recipe can be both/either gummies or licorice, depending on whether you dry them or not!


Sugar Free Black Licorice
(or Licorice Gummies)

1/4 c unflavored gelatin
1/2 c natural sweetener of choice (I use a mixture of 2-3 for best flavor)
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c water* (see note about if you want to use Fennel Seeds in this recipe)
2 T real butter
1 T molasses
1/2 t sea salt
1 T activated charcoal
1 T anise extract

Prepare candy molds if you want to use them or prepare an 8" pan or 9X13" pan with a piece of parchment paper you've lightly buttered.  If you want nice thick pieces of black licorice, use the 8" size.  The 9X13 will give you a thin later of candy pieces. Personally I like them thicker and will touch on that at the end of the recipe.

In a saucepan on the stove place your unflavored gelatin, sweetener, heavy cream, (fennel or not) water, butter and molasses.  Whisk and stir over medium heat until the gelatine and sweetener are dissolved and it comes to a boil.  Boil about 2 minutes while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and whisk in the activated charcoal and the anise extract.  

Pour into your prepared pan or molds.  Chill in the refrigerator to set for about 30 minutes.  Pop out of molds or slice with a knife into candies.

 ____________________________________

*IMPORTANT NOTES* 

I used a mixture of real fennel seeds and about 1 t anise extract.  If you want to use real fennel seeds in this recipe instead of a whole tablespoon of anise extract, then add about 2-3 tablespoons of dried fennel seeds to the 1/2 cup of warm water the night before or day before you want to make this.  Let them soak all night/day either on the counter or in the fridge.  Use the back of a spoon to gently press them before straining.  (I then saved my seeds and let them sit out on a paper towel to dry and will use them later in things like pizza sauce as they still have flavor to them.)  Your water should be heavily 'anise' smelling by now.  Use it in place of most or all of the anise extract if you wish.  I used a mixture of both.  2 T fennel in 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon anise extract.

The molasses of course does have sugar - it's about 15 grams in the entire tablespoon and this is going to make a whole pan of licorice so the sugar count for each piece is going to be almost nothing.  You would have to eat a quarter of the whole batch to even equal 3 or 4 grams. 

Activated charcoal... I have this on hand at all times because we love CharcoCaps and I use activated charcoal in some of my homemade soaps.  For this recipe I just reached up in the cupboard and used about 6 (?) charcocaps that I pulled apart and used the powder in the syrup.  Without the activated charcoal (which is not regular old 'charcoal' like you find out in your grill!) your licorice will be a weird brown color.  This gives it a nice black color but also has health benefits!

The sweeteners... I have blogged about this numerous times.  For the best flavor in natural sweetener baking I keep a container in my pantry in which I always keep 2-3 different kinds mixed.  Usually  Erythritol and Monk Fruit, some Allulose, Stevia, maybe some Swerve and some Xylitol if I have it on hand.  Xylitol is good in this recipe because of how well it makes any kind of syrup or caramel, but for this batch - the photos and video - I only used  Erythritol, Monk Fruit and Allulose - there may be some Stevia powder in there right now as well, but I don't have any Xylitol right now!  :)

The SIZE OF PAN is super important.  I prefer an 8" or 9" square pan for this to make the pieces nice and thick like real licorice.  When you use the larger 9X13, it makes a very thin layer.  I personally don't like the thin layers as much so right after cutting, I layer 2 or 3 equal sized pieces on top of each other or roll a 4 inch strip into a round.  They stick to each other perfectly to make candies whatever size/shape you like.

Using the 8 or 9 inch pan, cut into typical licorice sized bites.


 

The gummy/licorice comment from above is explained here....

When I first make these they are gummy bites.  Black licorice flavored gummies.  Very yummy if you want gummies!  I don't care for those very much though as I want  a chewy licorice. 

I let them set out at room temperature, on the parchment paper for a few days to dry out.  Bingo!  If you eat these within the first 2-3 days they are gummies.  By letting them lay in a single layer on a piece of parchment at room temperature for 3 or more days, they will dry out more and get that chewy licorice texture instead of being gummy-like.

 

 

 

 

This is the brown syrup as I am adding the activated charcoal powder....

 

 

 A video of stirring in the activated charcoal


 

 A quick video of pouring the black licorice syrup into the pan


 

 
What it looks like in the pan before chilling.

 
 
A 9X13 pan makes a thin piece. I preferred to stack 2 or 3 finished slices to make a nice thick
bite but if you like them thin, you can use this large of a pan. 

 
 
YUM!!!


Homemade Sugar Free Black Licorice 

 

 

I've included links to some ingredients above in the recipe list, but if you don't want to make it homemade and it's in your budget to purchase it - (good sugar free black licorice can be pricey) here are some links to a few options on Amazon! 

 

 

Darrell Lea Sugar Free Black Soft Australian Made Licorice 4oz Bag - NON-GMO, Palm Oil Free, NO HFCS & Kosher | Made in Small Batches with Ethically-Sourced, Quality Ingredients

SweetGourmet Finnska Sugar Free Soft Black Licorice Candy | 1 pound

Kraepelien & Holm Sugar Free Licorice Bears, 2.2-Pound Bags (Pack of 3) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly and PDF

9/12/21

From my Instagram Photos: Try Canning Potatoes! It's really not hard, I promise! (And top 3 pressure canner picks)


We eat sugarfree and low carb so potatoes are something I pretty much never keep on hand.  But we do  love them!  We just don't regularly eat them due to the starch/sugar/carbs.  Once in a while I'll incorporate them into some of the food we serve when we have non-lowcarb guests over.  I always have to plan ahead for those meals, to allow time to run to the grocery store to get the food items that we don't usually have in the house.  (Think; morning hash browns, potato salad, potatoes with roast, mashed potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, baked potatoes. Yum!  We love potatoes, so sometimes having guests over and serving them is a treat for us too!)

Having canned potatoes on hand in various forms is awesome because I don't have to plan ahead.  I don't have to run to the store.  I simply grab a can of potatoes, open it, and use them.  They are already cooked, often are sometimes canned already seasoned, and cut to size.  So easy to simply pop open a can, and serve with with the roast beef, or quickly throw together a potato salad, etc.

But now let's go one step further.  Your pantry and longer term food storage.  Potatoes are such a comfort food!  For our 'longer' term storage pantry having canned potatoes on hand is a blessing because if the power is out or there are other natural disasters, I have foods (not just potatoes) on hand, already cooked - which means I don't need access to tons of fresh water to cook or make them.  Also, in the event of a time where money is tight, a job loss or any number of other things that happen in life (especially now under our current President) having some emergency food in your pantry is just something you should have.

If you haven't tried pressure canning or have been scared of trying it... do it!  I promise it's not hard and not intimidating at all once you have just a couple canning sessions under your belt. 

 


If you've never canned anything before and don't know where to start, truly the only thing you really need to can something are canning jars and lids.  If you have a simple canning jar and a lid/ring, you can can things like jam, jelly, salsa, tomatoes, peaches, pickles, etc. because you don't need any special pressure canner.  You can your jar of tomatoes, peaches, etc. by boiling that jar in any pot large enough to cover it with water and boil it in.

Canning low-acid foods requires special care. This includes red meats, fish, poultry and all vegetables (except for tomatoes).  A pressure canner heats food to high temperatures (240-250 degrees F or higher) and destroys the spores that produce the botulism toxin. A boiling water bath canner, heats food to boiling temperature (212 F), which is not high enough to ensure safety for canning vegetables and other low-acid foods.

Potatoes are one of the many food items that must be pressure canned.  Yes, this involves a pressure canner purchase, however your pressure canner can also be used as a water-bath canner so it's a good investment that has you covered no matter what you want to home can.

 

 

 

This is the pressure canner I personally own and use.  For years I was too intimidated by them to buy one, but wanting to can more than just salsa and tomatoes, I put a pressure canner on my wish list based on reviews I read and watched online (not this one).  When it came time to invest in one, I saw the one I had had on my wish list was not good to use on glass top stoves due to the weight with water in it.  When I looked up other options, THIS ONE was highly recommended, loved by many AND best yet?  It was about half the price of the other one.  It also was less intimidating looking (ha ha). 

This is the one I ended up buying and LOVE it.  I can do two layers of canning jars too - which I love! 



Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker  

 

 

This is the All American Pressure Canner I had on my original wish list.  I know many love it but it's heavy - and a lot of people review it saying it's not safe to use on a glass top stove (others say they have) but when it came time for me to purchase my canner, I didn't want to guess or hope.  Also, once I found the Presto brand (above) I realized the Presto was half the price of the All American and since I couldn't afford the All American yet, I went with the Presto.  I love my pressure canner, but many, many canners love this one and will only use All American.


All American 921 Canner Pressure Cooker, 21.5 qt, Silver


Now let's make it MORE easy... a newer option is the Smart Pressure Canner from Nesco.  I wasn't looking for a new pressure canner because I love mine, but one of the online sites I was watching doing some canning was using this one.  She has been canning for about 40 years but moved to a smaller home and wanted to downsize.  She decided to try a small electric canner since she wasn't doing large batch canning anymore and regularly only canned a couple jars at a time. 

This one looked so easy to use, is highly recommend and reviewed by thousands of happy people and although its small in size, if you aren't doing a lot of canning, or are intimidated by the larger pressure cookers, this looks to be a great option!

NESCO NPC-9 Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker, 9.5 quart, Stainless Steel
 

 

No matter which canner or style canning you want to do, you will need one item.  Jars.  Canning jars and lids are really the first purchase you need to start canning and if you are only doing tomatoes or salsa, peaches, pickles or jelly - you only need a jar to start!  Any pot you have at home that is tall/deep enough to cover your jar with water to boil will work.   

Ball Glass Mason Jar with Lid & Band, Regular Mouth, 32 Ounces, 12 Pack 

 

 

These are awesome to have... especially the jar lifter and funnel but are not absolutely necessary.  However they are pretty cheap and if I had to tell you to spend a couple bucks to get one item, it would be jar lifter!  (The tall item in the photo below.)  It easily and safely lifts your burning hot jars from the canner or water in it's rubberized grip.  It's not absolutely neccessary but I wouldn't want to can without it.  I even have a back-up in storage just in case mine is ever lost or ruined in some way!

 
Norpro Canning Essentials Boxed Set, 6 Piece Set  

   
Lids.  Up until a few years ago, the canning jar companies made lids reuseable.  Of course that didn't make big enough sales for them so they switched how they were made and now the rubberized portion is very, very thin and the lids are made for one time use.  (You can still usually reuse them another time or two but you can't be positive of a good seal and might have to re-can those that don't seal). 

There is a better option!  Yes, it involves an investment but back in the 1970's this company started to make reusable lids. Now that lids and rings are HARD TO FIND (thanks Covid shortages) these babies are worth their weight in gold to canners.  Ha ha.  They are two part pieces that can be used over and over again.

A lot of canners started to try them recently due to Covid shortages in finding lids and rings for sale.  But they neglected to read the instructions and tried to use them like they had been using the metal lids for years.  They complained they weren't all sealing correctly.  USER ERROR.

Read instructions.  The amount of tightening and the tightening step immediately after removing them from the canner makes all the difference.  I've never had one NOT seal.  I love them.

Authentic Tattler E-Z Seal Reusable Canning Lids - Wide Mouth - 1 Dozen (12)


Ok!  I've chit-chatted long enough on this post and need to hit "PUBLISH" and be done with it.  Ha ha.
Basically... canning doesn't have to be scary.  Try it!



Print Friendly and PDF

9/8/21

From my Instagram: I've been dehydrating again... Dehydrating Lime Peels, Whole Limes and Cabbage

 

I (like most all of you) are so so so busy lately that I never find the time to pop in to post - even though I obviously cook and bake daily.  Three or more times a day.  But I often don't bother to take photos - or I start to take them but forget to take a 'finished' product picture - or I do take photos and then they live in my computer files and never see the light of day because.... too busy.

A couple weeks ago I was doing some dehydrating.  I had limes leftover from a weekend of guests, and I didn't want them to go bad before I could get around to using them.  So, I juiced the limes to get the juice for my favorite chicken marinade and then used the peel to get a nice little bottle of dried lime peel.  I like to keep dried lemon peel, lime peel and orange peel on hand for baking and cooking.

I also had extra cabbage on hand - which lasts forever - so I didn't need to hurry really, but there have been times when I wanted cabbage and we didn't have any so I decided to dehydrate a head of it so I'd have it ready in the pantry for beef stew and boiled cabbage, etc.

 
 
There really is no recipe for drying cabbage.

You don't have to blanche it or do anything to prep it. 
Just slice into thin strips or small pieces, place them on your dehydrator trays, and let them dry until the pieces are dry, small and ready to put into a mason jar or container of your choice.







For the limes I used half of them to make dried lime peels for the pantry and then used the rest to dry 'whole' and grind up into dried lime powder.  You can buy dried lime powder and dried lime slices online but they are sooo simple to make yourself!  

For the dried peel, just peel the zest off your lime (the green part) and lay them out to dry on your tray.  When they are brittle, you can pop them into your container, or chop them a bit first, or spin them in a small food processor first to chop them quick and easy.

To do the lime slices, just wash your limes well and slice thin.
Lay the slices out and dry until brittle.
They will turn quite dark.
You can use them as is to cook with (laid under chicken and fish is nice!) but I grind mine up and use the dried lime powder in marinades.

  



I just reuse old spice bottles and repurpose them to whatever I need at the time.
This one now holds dried lime zest.



This is a close up of whole dried limes ground into powder.




Notes about my dehydrator, the one I plan to buy next and some items related to the post you might be interested in, available through Amazon:


I've mentioned a few times in the past 10 years of posts that I have a super cheap, basic dehydrator.  My husband found one on clearance at a hardware store for $50 and brought it home.  The thing is, it's been a great dehydrator, it's been fine for pretty much everything I've needed it for.  No, it has no bells and whistles, I can't adjust the temperature all over the place and it didn't come with fruit leather trays or anything.  Yet, I've managed to make everything from beef jerky to dried lime peels, fruit leather (fruit roll-ups), dried vegetables, dried fruits...

Mine is a little basic model similar to this one:


Weston 75-0601-W Dehydrator 

 

Having said that, mine has finally, after 10 years, gotten a cracked lid.  It actually happened when it got smashed and pressed down - so it was user error so to speak - but after 10 years I'm sure the plastic is getting a bit brittle anyway.   It still works perfectly of course, and the trays are sturdy, but it got me researching for 'new' dehydrators.

Part of the reason I'd like to invest in a new one is I'd like to be able to control the temperature, and I personally like the square trays better than round.  No particular reason other than my quirky OCD type issues!  Ha.  But after a lot of research I decided I probably will get the Cosori version (unless they stop making it before I can come up with $150 to buy one).

COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine(50 Free Recipes), 6 Stainless Steel Trays with Digital Timer and Temperature Control for Beef,Jerky,Fruit,Dog Treats,Herbs,ETL Listed/FDA Compliant 

 

 

I also like the similar Magic Mill.....

Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine (10 Stainless Steel Trays) Digital Adjustable Timer | Temperature Control | Keep Warm Function | Dryer for Jerky, Herb, Meat, Beef, Fruit and To Dry Vegetables 

 

 

Nesco and Presto are loved by many... and I considered them as well as I have both Nesco and Presto appliances that I LOVE so I know I trust the brand.

NESCO Gardenmaster Pro Dehydrator, FD-1018A, White

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator, Standard 

 

 

 

Amazon also has a LOT of food dehydrating books if you are interested!

 

The Food Dehydrating Bible: Grow it. Dry it. Enjoy it! 

 

 

The Beginner's Guide to Dehydrating Food, 2nd Edition: How to Preserve All Your Favorite Vegetables, Fruits, Meats, and Herbs 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly and PDF

MY AMAZON PICKS