I have recently bought myself a book about making old fashioned sweet shop sweeties and have been so excited about trying a recipe out.
Unfortunately a couple of things have slowed me down in being able to make anything, as yet.
The first was that I needed a scraper – this is a bit like one you use to take off wallpaper but longer with a flatter handle. It is for when you are making hard sweets, like pear drops, the sugar mixture is too hot to touch with your own hands but needs to be worked very quickly on a cold marble.
I have now acquired this from my husband who bought it as a present for me.
So I bought the other ingredients I need to make sweets, such as the right type of sugar (yes, there are loads out types out there!), got my sugar thermometer ready and was about to begin my journey of sweet making.
I decided that I really wanted to make aniseed flavoured sweets as they are my husbands favourite but I have hit one major problem… buying anise extract in the UK!
If anyone has a good website or shop they know of that you can recommend then I would very much appreciate it. On first look it appears you can buy it fairly easily, but when you read into the finer details it becomes apparent that you need to order a large amount or the companies simply don’t ship to the UK or they charge ridiculous postage.
Because of this I decided that I would use the tub of star anise I have bought to make my own aniseed extract. It is quite a simple task to do involving lots of star anise and some good vodka.
I put all of the star anise into a clean jar and poured the vodka over the top till it just covered. After only a few days it is starting to look a very dark brown colour and the star anise has also doubled in size due to being re-hydrated.
The only thing I need now is some patience… it takes 3 months to make and after looking at the date I started it, I still have well over 2 months to go.
Unfortunately I haven’t been blessed with the most amount of patience in the world – I guess that’s why I wouldn’t make a good doctor*. Hopefully in 2 months time I can update you on how my sweet making endeavour has gone but for the moment I will have to think of something else to occupy my time. Hmmm, coconut ice anyone?
*sorry about the terrible joke.