This recipe for a delicious, sweet and chewy licorice is simple and awesome. I will get to that. This post was going to be short and sweet, but then a question popped into my head: what's in the other stuff? What is in Twizzlers licorice?
Way back in the day, like most of the candy we enjoy today, there was some natural twist to it. Marshmallows were made from marshmallow root, root beer used actual roots and licorice was derived from licorice root.
As I started digging into the ingredients of Twizzlers, my first surprise was that they were made by Hershey, the company that is best known for making chocolate - chocolate, I might add, that is predominantly harvested from chemical laden chocolate plantations in West Africa that have come under heat for 'employing' children.
"Hershey, which is the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world, gets most of its cocoa from West Africa. The company purchases the primary ingredient in its products from sources notorious for abusive labor practices including forced labor, human trafficking, and child slavery." (Source)
This of course makes Hershey's dedicated page about social responsibility and opening up conversations about their ingredients all the more irritating and misleading.
At Hershey we believe our iconic brands are about goodness and should be simple. For more than 100 years, we built trusting relationships around this principle...Our delicious products are just part of our commitment to goodness. Goodness is making each of our products with ingredients from the best sources around the world. Goodness is using ingredients that are simple and easy to understand...We are committed to leading our industry in openness, clarity and responsibility. Today, people want to know what's in their food and we want to talk to them about it - it's the right thing to do..."
See what they did there? They made us want to cozy up with a mug of tea and a Hershey bar and feel all wholesome about it.
Trust me, I really just wanted to share this new recipe with you, but with the holidays behind us, the season of chocolate, candy, decadence and delights, it's also important to know for sure that our sweets are sweet, through and through. So I couldn't ignore what came up when I began searching for the Twizzlers ingredients.
Here is the "goodness" that Hershey has put into their Twizzlers using "ingredients from the best sources around the world".
Twizzlers Strawberry Ingredients
Corn syrup; enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid); sugar; contains 2% or less of: palm oil; natural and artificial flavor; glyceryl mon ostearate; citric acid; pectin; salt; cornstarch; glycerin; sodium citrate; potassium sorbate (preservative); artificial color (red 40; yellow 5)
I wonder what far off land they visited to find the very best corn syrup and artificial color red #40.
Let's leave this behind, avoid committing the sin of unknowing, and move forward in the direction of truly simple deliciousness.
I clearly need some lessons with the piping bag, but I kind of love that they came out all different shapes and sizes.
I used freeze dried organic strawberries, but you could totally do this with your favourite fruit -- I see watermelon, apple and grape all working really well!
Gluten-Free Strawberry Licorice
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook time: 18 hours
Yield: 18 strips
- 2 cups of medjool dates
- 1.2 oz (34 grams) freeze dried strawberries, or another freeze dried fruit
- 1/4 cup grape, cranberry, pomegranite, beet juice, or water (I used pure grape for this one)
- Soak medjool dates in warm water until they rehydrate.
- Place all ingredients in your food processor or high speed blender until smooth.
- Transfer to a piping bag and squeeze out even rows (or make them wonky like me!) onto your non-stick dehydrator sheet.
- Place in the dehydrator at its middle-high setting and dehydrate for 12 hours. Remove and flip onto basic dehydrator sheet and replace in dehydrator for another 4-6 hours until dry to the touch and firm.
- Store in an airtight container or keep refrigerator if you're in a humid climate.