When you’re gluten free, there’s that moment when you realize that … you can’t have traditional licorice. But then there’s that moment when you find out that you can make your own gluten free red cherry licorice at home—and it’s easy!
Really good gluten-free licorice is not an easy thing to come by. There are a few packaged brands, but they’re crazy lunatic expensive, not to mention just plain awful. If you freak out at the thought of cooking sugar, stop that right this minute! We’ll be together every step of the way. You do need a candy thermometer, but those are super cheap and really very useful. Without a thermometer, you will either cook the mixture too long (and burn the butter or end up with hard candy), or too little, and the candy won’t harden. Look at what you have waiting for you. Gorgeous, glorious gluten free red cherry licorice. Better than any licorice you have ever had, even B.G.F. (before.gluten.free).
Red cherry licorice was always my faaaaaavorite. And then there was an incident with overeating Twizzlers when I was a kid. The aftermath wasn’t pretty, and wasn’t easily forgotten. But now I’m back, baby, and I’m loving every minute of it! Licorice is that strange candy that generally has wheat flour in it. It helps to stabilize the candy, and make it less like soft caramel without making it into hard candy.
I love you so much that I’m even willing to show you these less-than-gorgeous photographs of the sugar mixture, as it cooks. Told you I’d be with you always and forever.
Oh, and I tried cutting the candy into strips with every manner of knife – from sharp to dull, clean to serrated. Then I tried kitchen shears. Bingo!
If you’re really into black licorice, you need black food coloring + anise flavoring oil. No biggie. LorAnn flavoring oils are all gluten-free, and they’re very true-to-taste. Me? I’m all about the gluten-free red cherry licorice.
RECIPE NOTE: I don’t like using molasses in this recipe because it has a very strong taste and color, both of which I end up having to overcome with more food coloring and more flavoring oil. If you don’t have/can’t find/don’t want to use Lyle’s Golden Syrup, try honey.