Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Aniseed Obsidian

With all the rich food and indulgences the holidays bring, it's understandable that we tend to come out of them feeling a little... full. I know that personally, for days after the big meals (we do three in a row - Christmas Eve dinner and both brunch and dinner on Christmas Day), all I want is soup, plain rice and simply done veggies. That said, I count myself lucky - cooking only for myself, taking into account my restrictions, meant I had very few leftover to contend with. However, the energy and stress of the events takes its toll on all the systems of the body, and while I wasn't stuck eating rich stuffed salmon or turkey with my grandma's to-die-for potatoes and cheesy broccoli four days in a row (sorry, Mom), I emerged on this side of New Year's Eve with an intense desire to lighten up my palate and my stomach.

Aniseed Obsidian

While a divisive flavour, one of the best foods for easing the gut and helping to return digestion to its optimal performance is licorice. Real licorice has proven, time-tested soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits, and has been used for millenia to aid many ailments. However, it should be noted that the root has the tendency to increase blood pressure in the already hypertensive - leading to it becoming very difficult to find around here. Luckily, we can still reap the benefits of the flavour, since any anise-like food is naturally refreshing and bloat-reducing.

Since nothing makes "medicine" go down like a bit of sugar, and I have a few colleagues and friends who absolutely adore the black licorice flavour, I decided to take the ingredient to the candy pot. Boiled sugar, corn syrup and molasses made a bittersweet base for the anise oil - which, even added in the amount of less than 2 millilitres, packed a massive punch of flavour and aroma that was bracingly pungent. While it was blowing snow outside, I still found the need to open the kitchen windows to avoid my eyes watering excessively! To evoke the "black licorice" feeling, I whisked in some gel food colouring and sprinkled the liquid candy with aniseeds as well, adding a little texture to the glassy-smooth shards. 

A small piece of this "obsidian", as I called it, melts slowly on the tongue and takes its time to flow through the body, warming up the cold extremities and cooling down any fire in the tummy. Whoever said candy always had to be bad for you?

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Aniseed Obsidian
Serves 10
6 oz (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp molasses
¼ cup water
½ dram anise oil
tiny dollop black gel food colouring
½ tsp anise seeds
  1. Line a cookie sheet with Silpat or heavy parchment
  2. Combine sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
  3. Boil, without stirring, until temperature reaches 300F.
  4. Remove from the heat, add anise oil and food colouring and mix in thoroughly.
  5. Pour onto the cookie sheet and top with seeds. Let cool until hard, then break into shards

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 87.7
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 10.0 mg
Total Carbs: 23.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

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