Laces of licorice are thin strands of licorice candy that look like shoe laces. Licorice laces are prepared by boiling an extract of licorice root while mixing in different flavorings along with artificial colors to match the flavoring. The most common form of this lace candy is black, tasting of the standard licorice flavor, or red, which is usually strawberry flavored. This candy, however, also comes in just about any flavor imaginable. Many consumers of licorice laces enjoy combining several flavors by braiding laces of different flavors together.
Licorice laces are usually about 30 inches (76 cm) long with a diameter of about 1/8 of an inch (0.3 cm). The name "licorice lace" comes from the similarity of this candy to a shoelace string. Most laces are sold in packages of about 10 or 13 laces per package.
The flavoring and sweetness of most laces of licorice comes from licorice extract, sugar, and molasses. This candy’s substance comes from flour, oil, and often some form of wax. Once the ingredients have been combined in the correct ratio and the optimal consistency has been reached, the licorice substance is forced through an extruder to form the laces. The extruder is similar to a pasta machine, with the licorice dough forced through tiny holes to produce long strings or laces of licorice candy.
The most common types of licorice laces are black and red. This type of candy, however, can also come in a variety of other flavors. The alternative flavors for this type of candy are typical fruity, such as raspberry, cherry, and grape. Flavorings for the laces of licorice are matched with an appropriate color that suggests the flavor of the lace. For example, blue raspberry laces are bright blue colored, cherry laces are red colored, and grape laces are purple colored.
Many people who love licorice laces enjoy mixing the different flavors to make unique tastes. This is usually done by braiding the different flavored laces of licorice together before eating them. Many candy stores offer a package of licorice laces that contains all the different flavors available. This allows consumers to taste different and new flavors before they buy a package of just one flavor.
Laces of licorice don’t have to be just eaten; they are also good decorations for food. Their flexibility and availability in a variety of colors has made laces of licorice a popular accent used by bakers on their sweet creations. Licorice laces can be used as whiskers on a bunny- or cat-shaped cake, as tails on a mouse-shaped cookie, or as the garland on a Christmas tree–shaped cookie.