“The market in the little town was a tiny one, not more than a dozen shops and stalls and half of them seasonal. She was able to buy a short coil of sturdy line, a long slender boning knife, and then, because there was so little left of her money and life, she now knew, was an uncertain thing, a packet of honey drops for the boy. He’d never had candy before and could scarcely bear to put even one of the bright-colored drops into his mouth. When she finally persuaded him to try a pale green one and saw his face light with surprise at the taste of honey and mint, she folded the packet up tight and put it into the bag. ‘Later, you can have more,’ she promised him…”
–Inheritance, by Robin Hobb
These are lovely. Hard candies that soften in one’s mouth, bursting with mint-honey flavor. I struggled a bit to come up with a recipe that satisfied the description- pale green, minty, and made with honey. They’re not quite as pale green as I’d hoped, but they are very tasty. In developing the recipe, I wanted to use only common historical ingredients, as might befit a fictional world. As such, the food coloring is optional, but adds a nice tint. Before commercially available food coloring, green could be obtained from clover, or lawn grass in a pinch. I have a recipe for pistachio ice cream that uses such a method; very quirky, but a must-try in my opinion!
These drops would also be absolutely wonderful as individual sweeteners for tea!
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 sprigs of mint
- green food coloring (optional)
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or waxed paper, and set aside. Combine the vinegar and mint leaves, and puree in a food processor. If you like, you can strain out the mint, but it’s also nice and easier) to leave it in.
Add the honey to the minty liquid in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until it reaches just about 300 degrees F. Be careful to keep from burning it, and if it looks like it’s turning at all brown at the edges, remove from heat immediately. When you take the candy off the heat, immediately stir in the food coloring, if you’re using it.
Before it cools, spoon drops about the size of a quarter onto the prepared baking sheet. Allow to cool, then toss with some powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to one another. In drier weather, they should keep fine with just powdered sugar, but in more humid months, it’s best to store them in the freezer.