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Anise candy is a hard candy flavored with anise oil. The candy can be made at home. Made primarily from corn syrup, water and sugar, other key ingredients such as tartar, anise oil and food coloring are used to make the anise candy. Typically cut into squares and rolled in powdered sugar after it has hardened, anise candy has a strong licorice taste and aroma.
Anise is an annual herb, and anise candy is made from oil derived from the plant's seeds. Also known as sweet cumin and aniseed, anise has a long history of being used in food, candy and medical applications. Commercially, anise candies are one of the oldest hard candies available and they are a traditional Christmas candy. They are still offered at candy stores, general retailers and online. As anise candy has such a long history, some companies offer "retro" or throw-back versions of the candy with wrappers reminiscent of days gone by.
The candies are typically colored red with food coloring, although the candies may be white, green or turned another color, as desired. Anise candies are often individually wrapped in a signature red cellophane paper. The treat is a traditional Christmas candy in many parts of the world. Anise candy is usually small in size, as it is meant to dissolve in the mouth and not to be chewed or broken into smaller pieces before eating.
In addition to being a culinary treat, anise candy also serves other purposes. Hunters typically eat anise candies to help mask their breath and body scent while hunting deer and other animals. Some fishermen use anise oil to scent salmon eggs used as bait while fishing for salmon and steelhead. Bears are attracted to the anise scent, so caution is advised when eating the candy in bear-inhabited woods.
Anise candies are also used by some people to help relieve sore throats and other ailments. They are also used to freshen breath and for digestive issues. Other licorice or anise-flavored candies include Black Jack® gum, Crows® and Good and Plenty®.
In addition to anise hard candies, anise is used to flavor other types of candies. Anise-flavored dinner mints are available, as are anise-flavored gummy bears with a sugar coating. Anis de Flavigny are pastille candies which have been made in Flavingy, France since the 9th century. They are made by taking an aniseed as a center and coating it in layers of anise-flavored sugary syrup. The process takes 15 days. Hard candy drops and liquorice twists are also flavored with anise.