Chocolate licorice is a chewy, sweet candy that tastes like chocolate and is dipped in a brown shiny coating. This type of brown candy developed from the traditional black licorice, which for many years was the only kind of licorice available. Over time, the manufacturers of licorice candy developed many flavors of licorice by introducing a variety of additive and flavors, including strawberry, cherry, blue raspberry, sour apple, and chocolate.
Chocolate licorice combines two favorites that have long been sought by candy lovers, a smooth chocolate taste with the chewy goodness of licorice. The product is manufactured by different candy makers, including gourmet confectioners, and can be purchased in shops or over the Internet. Some cooks enjoy making their own version of chocolate licorice to delight their families. A chocolate licorice wand, for example, consisting of a traditional black licorice stick or whip covered in white chocolate, makes a sweet substitute for a magician’s wand at Halloween or just for fun, to the delight of children. Other candy makers flavor their chocolate licorice with anise, which has a flavor similar to licorice.
Cooking with licorice has been popular since the Middle Ages, when it was used to flavor a number of different recipes. Modern cooks use licorice less frequently today, confining licorice mainly to recipes for candy and sweets, including chewing gum. Licorice extract has a history of medicinal use in the treatment of bronchitis, colds, coughs and sore throats. Some people enjoy a tea made from licorice, steeping a piece of the licorice root in hot water.
Licorice is grown as a perennial, and its root is valued because of its intense sweetness. The sweetness is derived from an acid contained in the root and known as glycyrrhizic acid. The ingestion of too much glycyrrhizic acid has been known to cause such side effects as water retention, headaches, potassium loss, heart problems and elevated blood pressure. Licorice extract has been included in cosmetics, lozenges, teas, tobacco, food, and alcohol. A relative of the common pea, licorice originated in Asia and Europe before spreading to other parts of the world.