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Old Fashion “Black Licorice” Date Wheels

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Old Fashion 'Black Licorice' Date Wheels served in an antique ice cube tray

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free ~

Ok, so these are not black, and they don’t contain licorice, BUT they TASTE just like black licorice!  And trust me,  you are looking at a black licorice expert.  It is by far my all-time favorite candy, black licorice, and I have a long-time love affair.

You see, it started when I was in my mother’s womb, seriously.  Through the duration of her pregnancy, she craved black licorice 24/7, and she ate it, 24/7.  It’s in my blood.  I used to tell people if you were to cut me open, my blood would run black.

The smell alone will put me into sensory overload.  I do, however, realize that not everyone feels this way about black licorice, Bob, for instance. People either love it or hate it.  Is there not enough hate in this world? Can’t we all just love it? hehe

Several years ago, as I attempted to clean up my diet,  I had to turn my back on my beloved licorice.  Sniff sniff.  There isn’t anything good for you in those darn candies.   They are typically made of; Brown sugar syrup, wheat flour, corn syrup, starch, licorice extract, salt, artificial and natural flavors, fractionated coconut oil, beeswax coating, and carnauba wax.

But today is a new day, and at 4:00 A.M.,  I woke up, staring up at the dark ceiling, and it hit me, “Why can’t I make black licorice out of my date bits recipe and add fennel…or anise… fennel?…. anise?  What’s the difference?”  I knew my mind wouldn’t rest until I had thoroughly researched this question.  So I stumbled out into the living room and snuggled up on the couch, hoping that I wouldn’t wake up my true love.

After “thumbing” through site after site, learning all about anise,  I knew what I had to do… use ground fennel seed.  Why? Because that is what I had in the spice cabinet. Lol Fennel is actually 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 the bulk of food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation.

Also, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol in the liver) and decrease its re-absorption in the colon, thus helping lower serum LDL cholesterol levels and eliminate stomach-ache and stimulate digestion.  Enough research, let’s head to the kitchen!


Yields 38 candies

  • 3 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp ground fennel seeds


  1. Have two dehydrator trays ready, fitted with the teflex sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Remove the pits from the dates as you put them in the measuring cup.
    • 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.
  3. 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.
    • If the dates that you have are moist, you can start without the water. It’s better not to have it, but sometimes the dates are too dry to get a smooth paste.
    • This step will take some patience, and you will need to stop the machine every once in a while to scrape the sides down.
  4. Once the paste is formed, using a rubber spatula,  place the paste in a sturdy piping bag.
  5. Pipe the date wheels:
    • Use a canvas 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.
    • When piping, this is an excellent 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 into a spiral formation. Make it as little or as large as you want the candy piece.
    • Keep constant pressure on the piping bag as you squeeze out the paste to ensure an even thickness of the line.
    • After each completed candy, 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.
  6. Dehydrate at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for 8 hours (+/-).
    • Check-in on them periodically, once they are dry enough, you will want to transfer them to a mesh sheet to speed up the drying process.  It’s a long one, but well worth it.
    • Continue drying for 6-8 hours or until they no longer have any stickiness to them.
  7. Once cooled, store in an airtight container, single-layered with wax paper in between layers.

Culinary Explanations:

  • Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F)?  Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
  • When working with fresh ingredients, it is essential to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).
  • Don’t own a dehydrator? Learn how to use your oven (here). I do, however honestly believe that it is a worthwhile investment. Click (here) to learn what I use.

19 thoughts on “Old Fashion “Black Licorice” Date Wheels

  1. Mandy Pena says:

    These look so yummy. I love licorice also. What size tip do you use on these.

  2. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Hallo Amie-Sue.
    Sie haben mir ein ganz großes Geschenk mit diesem Rezept gemacht, heute ist für mich Nikolaus, Weihnachten, Ostern und Geburtstag zusammen mit dieser Lakritze.
    Ich konnte es so viele Jahre nicht mehr essen und es hat mir sehr gefehlt.
    Ich freue mich so es zu versuchen, vielleicht mache ich noch ein wenig Süßholz dazu das ich ganz wein mahle, das müsste da passen oder was denken Sie.

    Vielen Dank Amie Sue!
    Viele Grüße,
    Jesse Gabriel

    • amie-sue says:


      Hi Amie-Sue.
      You have made ​​me a very great gift with this recipe today is for me Nicholas, Christmas, Easter and birthday with this licorice.
      I could eat so many years and it no longer has me sorely lacking.
      I’m so happy to try it, maybe I’m a little licorice to which I grind whole wine that would fit there, or what you think.

      Thanks Amie Sue!
      Best regards,
      Jesse Gabriel

      Guten Morgen Jesse,
      Nun, das klingt wie ein Geschenk, das sich selbst erneuert. :) Ich beschloss, zu versuchen, in Ihrer Muttersprache zu antworten. Mal sehen, wie das funktioniert.

      Ich bin ein bisschen noch auf, was Sie fragen verwirrt. Bitte formulieren Sie es ein……

  3. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Amie Sue ich habe einen Rechtschreibfehler gemacht, ich meinte nicht wein mahle sondern fein mahle, sorry!

    Jesse Gabriel

    • amie-sue says:


      Amie Sue, I made a spelling mistake, I did not grind it fine wine grind, sorry!

      Jesse Gabriel
      Not a worry Jesse. It makes life more interesting between us. hehe

  4. Patricia M says:

    I love licorice, but this recipe seems rather labor intensive. Couldn’t you just mix the recipe, then make licorice drops and dehydrate the drops? And how long would you dehydrate that. Looking forward to making them. Thank you.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Patricia… it’s really not that labor intensive. I just wrote it out in great detail to help give tips for the first time making it. But you could make drops if you wanted to… It’s all up to you and how creative you want to be. If you did drops, you might need to dehydrate for 8-10 hours? Depends on how big. little, thick or thin you make them. You will need to keep an eye on them and pull them out when the desired dryness is reached. Have fun!

  5. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Amie Sue,
    ich zeige ihnen was ich meine, sie können es ja wieder löschen.
    Ich meine Süßholz dieses hier
    ich versuch es so
    Das möchte ich dazu geben was denke sie?
    Hoffe jetzt wissen Sie was ich meine.
    Viele Grüße,
    Jesse Gabriel

  6. Jesse Gabriel says:

    Amie Sue,
    danke das Sie sich so viel mühe mache um mir zu helfen!
    Ich werde ihr Rezept nicht verändern nur ein wenig von dem Pulver dazu, ganz wenig.
    Es ist ja ein reinen Pulver aus der Süßholzwurzel, ein Naturprodukt.
    Noch mal danke für die Mühe.

    Viele Grüße,
    Jese Gabriel

    • amie-sue says:


      Amie Sue,
      thank you so much trouble doing to help me!
      I will not change her recipe just a little of the powder to very little.
      It’s a pure powder from the licorice root, a natural product.
      Thanks again for the effort.

      Best regards,
      Jese Gabriel

      No problem. :) I love exploring new ideas. I was at a really neat grocery store today and they had chopped licorice bark in bulk. I was surprised to find that it didn’t smell like licorice at all, but it could have been old… or not sure, I am going to keep my eye out for this herb in general and time play with it. Have a great night. amie sue

  7. Daniela says:

    This looks wonderful, Amie Sue! I have fond childhood memories of these licorice wheels and to see a raw vegan version that delivers the same wonderful flavour makes me very happy! I can hardly wait to pop a batch in my dehydrator and then savour the flavour. Om-gnom-gnom… Thanks for being so creative. :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Enjoy Daniela! I am relieved and thrilled that we have so many black licorice lovers out there. hehe Keep me posted how they turn out! amie sue

  8. Jan says:

    Hello Amie Sue, I too am a licorice nut. Whenever we got jelly beans or gum drops as a kid, I searched for the black ones. But the whole family loved licorice so if you didn’t get to them first………. You get the picture. My question is about the piping bag. I have a cheapie and I need a better one. I looked at Fat Daddio’s and I didn’t see the little metal tips. So does it come with those, or do you just use the slicone bag and the thickness that comes out is always the same?

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh me too! LOVE LOVE LOVE black licorice! I should have the Fat Daddio piping bag on the Amazon store and the tips too, but they are sold separately. I have used this bag and tips many times over now and love it. Have a happy day!

  9. Rachel says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I have a pasta extruder that connects to my Kitchen Aid mixer. I think I might try that instead of piping. I will let you know how it goes.

    Do you also love salted licorice like they have in Scandinavia? I LOVE that stuff.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Rachel,

      Oh yes please, keep me posted. It might be too wet and sticky but its worth the experiment. :)

      I do enjoy salted licorice… but I haven’t worked myself up to the hard core stuff just yet. Have a blessed weekend, amie sue

  10. maria says:

    why did you use fennel instead licorice? is licorice bad for health?

    thank you very much,

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Maria,

      From what I have read licorice isn’t bad for your health but does come with some cautions. Frankly, I haven’t ever used it because I haven’t ever seen it in stores where I shop. I am in love with fennel so I tend to use it often when looking for that licorice flavor. Have a blessed evening, amie sue

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