My wife has been very sick this week with a sinus/upper respiratory/bubonic plague infection. So it only made sense to use her as a human guinea pig for my culinary madness.
I think, by now, we can all agree, I have no idea what I’m doing. Nonetheless, we can only get better through trial and effort. This weeks humble offering is a Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drop.
Never mind the fact that my cough drops resemble a Warshak Test (those tests always look like alligators in thigh-high stockings anyway… but that’s probably just me). Just the same, the cough drops actually came out pretty good — If I would have had a candy mold they would have been perfect. They are a bit dark but that is mostly because my honey is naturally dark… maybe they got a little too dark… maybe. Either way, cooking them was a bit of an ordeal.
The Original Recipe
The original recipe is quite simple with just three ingredients. However, for all intents and purposes, we are making honey candy. To do this, the recipe said to get the honey up to 300°F. However, according to Wikipedia, the temperature at which caramelization begins varies, depending on the composition, but is typically between 158°F and 230°F… and Wikipedia is all knowing.
Once you have the temperature up to around 200°F the mixture will begin to bubble into a flaming tarball of death. I used a small sauce pan and even though it did not boil over, it still splattered welding slag on my hand and stove top. The next time I make this, I am going to place tinfoil on the stove top and wear knight’s gauntlet.
The recipe also said “Drop a bit of the mixture into a glass of ice water. If the mixture forms a hard, crunchy ball, it’s ready!” However, mine never made a hard ball, even at 300°F. However, while attempting to drip it into the glass, I bobbled my spoon and dropped it. Luckily it didn’t get on the floor – instead, it welded to my pants leg. And while it might not have hardened in the glass of water, the hot tar on my leg hardened like tempered glass.
I say all of this to say, this recipe might need a little trial and error. There is a fine line between hot enough to make candy, burning your honey, or creating a medieval weapon capable of fighting off hoards angry villagers. I think next time I make this, I will stop at around 280°F and see how that does.
As for the final product, the cough drops were very tasty. The overall flavor was honey but it had a little bite at the end from the ginger. My wife liked them and said they opened her sinuses (at least until the drop dissolved).
- ½ cup of raw honey
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (one fresh lemon will do it)
- 1 teaspoon ginger juice (freshly grate ginger root and then squeeze it into the spoon)
- You will also need: a candy thermometer, a candy mold with small openings or you can make the cough drops without the mold by pouring it onto a sheet of tinfoil. Let it harden, and then break it up into small pieces or you can drip them into powdered sugar (see step 4.).
- Mix the honey, lemon juice, and ginger juice into a saucepan.
- With a wire whisk or spoon, stir the mixture as it heats to a boil. It will become foamy and try to boil over, so remove it from the heat and continue to whisk it until the foam reduces and then put it back over the heat. Repeat this until it reaches 300°F. Honey can scorch easy so remove it from the heat as soon as it reaches 300°F but before it burns (which is a dumb thing to say because how do you know it’s about to burn until it actually burns).
- Remove from the heat and continue to stir it until it cool slightly to the consistency of syrup. Then, very carefully, drizzle the candy into the mold (or onto the tinfoil). Let it cool at room temperature (not the fridge) until the cough drops are hard. When they are hard, press on the back of the mold to release. Or, if you’re not using a mold, break the cough drops up into pieces.
- Optional (to prevent sticking): To coat them, drop the cough drops into a small bowl of powdered sugar. Pour the sugar and cough drops into a sieve and sift to remove extra sugar.
- Store in an airtight container or in the fridge for best results.
Just a tip. In one of the recipes I read, it warned against putting cold water on your utensils when cleaning up. Instead have a small pot of water boiling on the back burner and pour that over your pot and utensils, then run hot water in the pot until it is clean. I don’t have any idea for getting the splatter off the stove top – I’m still trying to get it off of mine!
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