Now here’s a fun little weekend project; licorice wands! Taken from the Harry Potter universe where Harry encounters them for the first time on the Hogwarts Express, they are surprisingly easy to make at home.
Licorice wands would fit right in served at Harry Potter themed parties or be a nice baking project for any Potterheads out there. They are chewy but not too soft, so you can still have a bite and they are lightly flavored with anise extract. If you’re in the mood for a magical licorice-like treat, then licorice wands are the way to go!
SHAPE YOUR WANDS
You can let your imagination run free and shape your licorice wands however you prefer. I went for a simple design that kind of resembles Hermione’s wand (in the movies) as it was easy to reproduce. Xenophilius Lovegood’s would also be simple to make as you’d only need to twist the base of the licorice wands.
We don’t have much to go on in the books in terms of a description so I imagined the licorice wands to be of medium size. Of course you can make them teeny tiny or life-size. The licorice sticks shouldn’t be too hard when you shape them or they might break. If you notice this happening, leave them to warm up at room temperature for 5 to 10 min.
For this recipe I’ve used a French anise essence called Antésite. It’s definitely not as strong as anise extract so be careful not to put as much as me into the licorice. 1 tsp of pure anise extract definitely goes a long way. Antésite was created in 1898 by Noël Perrot-Berton, an apothecary who wanted to fight against alcoholism by offering an alternative drink to railway workers and on construction sites.
Antésite still makes for a thirst-quenching drink nowadays. You simply need to pour 10 drops in a glass of cold water. A bottle lasts forever and I used to drink Antésite all summer long at my grandparents (I’m pretty sure it was the same bottle, summer after summer).
SWAP THE EXTRACT
So many people hate licorice/anise flavor with a passion. You should have seen the total look of disgust on my husband’s face every time he was popping up his head in the kitchen, only to realize I was testing this recipe, again. You could switch the anise essence for any of your preferred flavorings. There are so many other extracts; vanilla, orange blossom, bitter almond, coffee, strawberry, lemon, pistachio, coconut…
There is so much choice but adjust the quantity of extract accordingly depending on how strong your extract is. I like my licorice wands to be a little bit chewy but if you want harder candies you can add 1 tbsp of flour to the mixture.
One last thing, having a thermometer, preferably a candy thermometer, is primordial for this recipe! Candy recipes aren’t very long but the one thing to keep in mind is to always be aware of the temperature. Sugar work can be tricky because sugar is temperamental. Everything can change in an instant if you’re not being cautious. If the mixture reaches too high a temperature you’ll get harder licorice wands or it might even burn. Always keep an eye on your thermometer, take the pan off the heat at the right moment and you’ll be just fine.
Looking for other Harry Potter recipes? Here are some of my favorites:Print
Licorice wands are surprisingly easy to make at home and a fun baking project for any Potterheads out there! These candies are chewy but not too soft, so you can still have a bite, and they are lightly flavored with anise essence.
- 60g black treacle (3 tbsp)
- 25g butter (2 tbsp)
- 30g milk (2 tbsp)
- 30g sugar (2 tbsp)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp anise essence (I used Antésite which isn’t very strong so for pure extract only put ½ to 1 tsp)
- 35g bread flour (¼ cup)
To make licorice:
- Line a rectangular mold with baking parchment and lightly grease it with vegetable oil.
- Put everything except for the bread flour into a small non-stick pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat while stirring often with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.
- As soon as you spot bubbles, remove the pan from the heat. Sieve the flour over the pan, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing thoroughly before each addition. Mix until you don’t see any more lumps.
- Place a candy thermometer in the pan and place the pan over medium heat.
- Simmer the mixture until it reaches 109°C (228°F), mixing continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent it from scorching. Crush any lumps with the back of the spoon. It might take 15 to 20 min to reach this temperature.
- Put the licorice into the prepared mold and flatten it until it is 5mm (¼ in) thick.
- Cover the surface of the licorice with oiled plastic wrap or overhanging parchment paper. Wait for the licorice to cool down a bit then refrigerate for 30 min.
To make licorice wands:
- With a sharp and oiled knife cut the licorice into thin bars, 5mm (¼ in) wide.
- Roll (with your palms on a clean work surface) half of the pieces into ropes 6mm (¼ in) wide, and the other half into ropes 3mm (⅛ in) thick.
- To shape the licorice wands, take 2 ropes (1 thin and 1 big), delicately pinch the ends together at the bottom to join them and twist the two ropes together tightly.
- With a sharp and oiled knife, cut the tip of the licorice wands to make them pointy. You can also cut the bottom/base of the licorice wands to make them look neater.
- Place them back in the mold, cover again with oiled plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 min.
Once set, the licorice wands can be stored for weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
They might get harder and harder, so allow them to reach room temperature before eating for the best experience.
- Serving Size: 1 wand
- Calories: 76
- Fat: 2.7g
Keywords: harry potter, halloween, licorice recipe