Learn how to make your own old-fashioned licorice hard candy with this recipe for Hard Licorice Drops. They're deliciously sweet and perfect for gifting.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Butter the foil; set baking sheet aside. Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In the saucepan combine sugar, brown sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook over medium-high heat to boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugars. This should take 6 to 8 minutes. Avoid splashing mixture on sides of pan. Carefully clip candy thermometer to side of pan.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 290 degree F, soft-crack stage. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over the entire surface. Reaching soft-crack stage should take 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat; remove candy thermometer from saucepan. Immediately stir in the anise extract and the red or black food coloring. Drop the candy mixture from a teaspoon onto the prepared baking sheet, forming round patties.
Let licorice drops stand about 30 minutes or until firm. Remove licorice drops from the baking sheet. Wrap each licorice drop in clear plastic wrap. Makes about 48 pieces or 1 pound.
Up to 1 week ahead, prepare and wrap drops. Store in a cool dry place in a tightly covered container.