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What Are Licorice Pipes?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 16, 2024
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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 pipes are typically wrapped in clear cellophane, allowing the patron to see the color. Multiple 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.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1004370 — On Jan 25, 2021

I read about licorice pipes in "Still Life" by Louise Penny and am learning about them since I am a licorice lover!!

By anon1004243 — On Dec 21, 2020

This article is brilliantly written and answered all of my questions.

By anon991025 — On May 21, 2015

Both pipes and cigars are readily available in Canada, at least in B.C. at about one-third the cost of internet suppliers.

By ysmina — On Sep 15, 2013

@MikeMason-- I'm not surprised that you found them in Europe. Aren't licorice pipes originally from Finland? I think that's where they still come from. Licorice candies have been popular in Europe for centuries and they have so many varieties.

I love licorice pipes too but more than the flavor, I love the shape. I once used a licorice pipe as part of my Halloween costume. I needed a pipe and didn't have a real one. At least I got to eat it later.

By stoneMason — On Sep 15, 2013

@ankara-- Yes, they are still being made but it can be tough to find them. I recommend just buying them online. There are numerous online stores selling older candies that most of us grew up eating. When I say old, I mean candies that have been around for a while, the products have to be fresh obviously.

I found licorice pipes at a candy store in Denmark of all places. I went there last month to visit a friend and being a candy lover that I am, I walked into a candy shop in Copenhagen only to discover licorice pipes. I bought a box full of them, I still have a few left.

By bluedolphin — On Sep 14, 2013

So are these candies still being made? It's been forever since I've had them. They were one of my favorite candies growing up.

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