As you scroll through to the bottom of this recipe, the preparation list may look long and seem complicated. It really isn’t. Let me speak in third person just for a sec, “Amie Sue don’t do complicated!” lol I just made clear step by step instructions and shared some tips. So, please don’t be intimidated. :) After making these, I decided to dip them in chocolate, this is purely optional. If you choose to, you could dip half of it, all of it, or even put the chocolate in between the layers. There are so many ways that you could dress them up or not! I for one enjoy the unadulterated flavor of black licorice. :) I have run this wonderful “candy” past several black licorice lovers and they gave approving moans and groans. To me, when a treat leaves a person speechless, I know it is a winner.
My dad and mom were shocked to find out that the licorice flavoring ingredient used was fennel! Fresh or dried, fennel is very good for you. Fennel seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber. Much of this roughage is metabolically inert insoluble fiber, which helps increase bulk of food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation. In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol in the liver) and decrease its re-absorption in colon, thus helping lower serum LDL cholesterol levels and eliminate stomach-ache and stimulate digestion.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let me know if you try it. Blessings…
Ingredients: yields 19 suckers
- 3 cups Mejol dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp ground fennel seeds
Decorating with Chocolate Ingredients:
- Have two dehydrator trays ready, fitted with the teflex sheet. Set aside.
- Remove the pits from the dates as you put them in the measuring cup.
- Tip: Be sure to inspect each date as you tear it in half to remove the pit. Mold and insect eggs can infect dried dates. I don’t mean to gross you out, you just need to be made aware of this.
- Place the dates in the food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Add the water and ground fennel. Process until the dates turn into a creamy paste. This will take some patience and you will need to stop the machine every once in a while to scrape the sides down.
- Once the paste is formed, using a rubber spatula, place the paste in a sturdy piping bag.
- Tips: Use a cloth or silicone piping bag for this recipe. You will be using a good amount of hand pressure to squeeze it out and you don’t want a plastic bag to pop on you. I used Fat Daddios Piping Bag and Tips. When piping, this is a good time to call in your strong partner. Good hand strength is needed. Hold the piping bag tip about 1/4″ above the teflex sheet and slowly guide the lines of date paste down the sheet. Don’t hold it to high or you will create a squiggly line. Keep a constant pressure on the piping bag as you squeeze out the paste. This will ensure an even thickness of the line. After each completed line of date paste, stop and retwist the piping bag, working all paste towards the tip. This will eliminate air bubbles in the bag and give you a solid grip.
- Place the tray in the dehyrador and dry at 115 degrees for 8 hours (+/-). Check in on them periodically, you should be able to roll them back forth without sticking to the teflex or your fingers. At this stage, start to make the wheels, rock the rope back and forth to make sure that it isn’t stuck to the teflex sheet.
Tuck the tip of the rope inwardly towards itself. Gently roll them into a tight coil while they remain flat on the teflex until you reach the end. Place on the mesh sheet to continue the drying process. If the ropes keep sticking to the reflex or your fingers, they need to continue drying a bit longer. But be careful that they don’t get to dry to where they keep breaking apart as you try to roll them.
- Continue drying for 6-8 hours or until they no longer have any stickiness to them.
- To make the sucker pops sandwich place a popsicle stick in between two wheels. I dipped my finger in water and brushed the inner layers of the wheels, this helped them to stick together.
- Dip all or 1/2 of the pop into chocolate. I took 3 oz Dixie cups and made a little slit in the bottom of it to use it as a stand for the pop while the chocolate was drying. See photos below.
- Store in an airtight container, single layered with wax paper in between layers or place in small gift bags.