I’m a lightweight when it comes to cough drops. The industrial strength menthol ones are intolerable to me. I’ve always felt like such a weinie about it, but I can’t understand how so many people willingly put those things in their mouths. For a dare, maybe. For money, certainly, if the price were right. Voluntarily? Not me.
So I’m left with the ones that are essentially candy. I was introduced to Luden’s cherry cough drops as a child, and it was almost worth the pain of a sore throat to get a bag of those. I love them still. But, they’re made of sugar, of course, and artificial color.
I know honey is good for the throat, and I’ve tried sipping on a teaspoon of honey from time to time, but it’s just gone too soon, so I thought I’d try to make that teaspoon of honey last a bit longer. Here’s the result:
Honey Cough Drops
1/2 cup honey
Put honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring constantly, bring the honey to a boil.
Put in the candy thermometer and continue stirring until the honey reaches a temperature of 300 to 310 degrees F. Honey burns fast, so don’t leave it, reduce heat to a simmer if necessary (if the honey seems to be heating up too fast, or you get a whiff of scorched honey).
(Almost there . . .)
Immediately remove from heat.
Check for the right consistency by dropping a few drops of the cooked honey into a cup of ice water. Let it get cold, then feel the drops. They should feel like hard candy. If the honey is still soft, return to the heat and cook a little while longer, and do the ice water test again. Do this until it’s right.
Continue to stir, off heat, until the honey cools enough to drop by teaspoonfuls onto a well-greased solid surface. It still needs to be runny, but a little less runny than when you first took it off the heat. Don’t wait too long or the honey will be impossible to remove from the pan. Work quickly.
Don’t skimp on the greasing or you will have a permanently cough drop-coated surface.
If you have a flexible, non-stick mat like a Silpat or something similar, it will help to release the drops from the surface once they are cooled.
If you are a candy-maker you probably have some non-stick molds for this, but for the rest of us, a mold isn’t necessary.
Allow the drops to cool completely. Don’t do what I did and put some in the refrigerator to hurry them up. They got too hard and cracked when I tried to release them from the plate. Room temperature is good. When they are cool, take a dinner knife and pop them loose.
They can be individually plastic wrapped. They stick to waxed paper, so stay away from that. They also stick to each other. Store in a cool, dry place.
P.S. Use your imagination to come up with add-ins. I’ve thought of crushed, powdered vitamin C, perhaps, or herbal infusions.