This week I found myself with a hellishly sore throat and no cough drops in the house.
Normally I *am* one to lay about the house and moan, but dangit, this time I made cough drops myself.
It was surprisingly easy. I followed this delightful recipe from Scootchmaroo on Instructables: Cough Drops. Read all the comments too!
I’m thinking of trying these again in the winter as gifts. What flavours do you like?
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My day went like this:
- Make ginger tea and let it steep.
- Have a nap.
- Start boiling sugar solution. Make lunch while watching sugar. Eat lunch nearby. Check on sugar solution more while washing dishes. Once done, pour sugar into molds.
- Have a nap.
- Wake up: dust off the drops and they are done! Try a drop.
- Finish off with another nap.
Haha ok – some more details:
For the honey ginger flavour, I made a strong ginger tea from boiling ginger in water (some sliced, some minced). I was out of lemon, but I added a couple sprigs of thyme from the garden. I’m wondering how fruit juice with pulp would work…
I strained the tea to get ~ 1 cup liquid. The liquid was cloudy from bits of minced ginger.
Add an equal proportion of sugar. I used ~ 1 cup white sugar but since I love honey, I added a tablespoon of blackthorn honey, a dark aromatic honey. I didn’t realize it at the time but this made the drops taste dominantly of honey, with a kick of hot ginger. Scootchmaru notes that using only honey, less or no sugar, will increase the boiling time for the sugar solution.
If first time with this recipe: so you don’t end up with a huge number of drops, only one cup of liquid was very manageable. This will end up with about a cup of drops.
I also tried rosemary sage drops at the same time, but these were bland with a bad bitter aftertaste. I should have guessed that if the tea was bitter, don’t make it into drops!
Then I set the ginger-sugar solution to boil. I agree with comments to use an extra large saucepot. Once the sugar solution approaches the right temperature, it can froth up to twice the height.
Eek! A smaller pot and this would have overflowed.
Read Scootchmaru’s instructions here: once it boils, do NOT stir or do anything to drop sugar crystals back into the solution. Use a clean thermometer and spoons. Also, it’s dang hot AND sticky, so treat it as if it’s molten lava. (Well, just as if – fellow scientists will point out molten lava is over 1000 F.)
Let the temperature reach hard crack stage, or about ~300 F.
Scootchmaru & Mongpoovian’s powdered sugar DIY molds work great! As per their instructions: pour a mix of powdered sugar and/or cornstarch into a pan, and make holes with any small round object. You have to find a size balance… shallower impressions can give a nice thumbprint drop, but it’s easier to accidently make a joined puddle of syrup. Also make more impressions than you think you need: if you have to set the pot down, the sugar will harden in the pot.
Pour the drops into your molds. Remember you are working with … um, molten lava. Any little drips are fun to eat later.
The drops look really neat once you’ve poured them. Bubbles…
They cool fairly quickly. I had a 2 hour nap to be sure. I dropped them into a strainer to sift off the extra sugar. If powdered sugar collected in the bottom divot, I removed it by either poking it out with a chopstick or violently shaking the lot in the strainer. Whatever reduces the amount of inhaled sugar 😛
Voila! They turned out a pretty gold honey colour.
If you can do this, you can totally make lollipops next!