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Licorice pipes are chewy candy pieces shaped like a smoking pipe. They typically come in two colors, black and red, and are smaller than actual smoking pipes. The black color is typically flavored with licorice extract or anise extract and tastes like traditional black licorice. The red color is usually flavored with artificial extracts that taste like cherry or strawberry.
Once popular in penny candy stores, licorice pipes are now most commonly found in online shops and candy stores specializing in novelty candy. Individual licorice pipes are typically wrapped in clear cellophane, allowing the patron to see the color. Multiple licorice pipes are usually sold in packaging resembling cigar boxes, complete with vintage designs on the sides. These boxes may contain just one color of licorice pipe, or a certain number of both.
Unlike real smoking pipes, licorice pipes do not typically have holes in them through which one can draw air. The candies are solid all the way through, meaning they cannot be used as novelty straws. They can, however, become interesting decorations for sugar cookies or cakes on game night or for a vintage-themed party. Both adults and children can also enjoy them as party favors because they’re equal parts toy and candy.
Those interested in making their own candy can create licorice pipes at home with the help of a pipe-shaped candy mold and a few simple ingredients. A recipe for hard, black licorice pipes includes 1 cup (229 grams) each of flour and light molasses and several pinches of powdered licorice root or anise extract, to taste. When melted, the molasses mixes quickly and thickens with the flour. One must work fast to pour the mixture into pipe-shaped candy molds that have been lightly coated in cooking spray. Cooks may substitute corn syrup for molasses, add strawberry extract and red food coloring for a red licorice version.
A softer, more versatile recipe includes 1 part each butter and light corn syrup, 2 parts each white or raw sugar and condensed milk, flavoring extracts and food coloring. All these ingredients get creamed together with a mixer on a low setting until the mixture is smooth and the color is evenly distributed. While still warm from mixing, the recipe pours smoothly into lightly greased candy molds. Black food coloring and anise or licorice extract create traditional licorice pipes, while red food coloring and strawberry or cherry extracts create the sweeter, red version. Some cooks may want to play with colors and flavors by using green food coloring with mint extract or using yellow food coloring with vanilla or lemon flavoring.