Hello Jello! – what to do with licorice root powder

Are you a black licorice person? I find people are, or they’re not. I am.

Are you a Sambuca person? If you’re not a black licorice person, you’re probably also not a Sambuca person. If, on the other hand, you are a Sambuca person and you’re not a black licorice person, I know of a 12 step program that may be useful for you. I am lucky enough to be both a black licorice person and a Sambuca person. So I’m livin the life. Highly recommend it. Sipping Sambuca through a twisty black licorice straw. Do you say “Sambuca” or “Zambuca?” Usually by the time you’re indulging it really doesn’t matter anymore, so the appropriate answer to that question is, “Pfft, it’s all good.”

This recipe doesn’t involve Sambuca, unfortunately (although it could. CHALLENGE), but it does involve black licorice, au natural. (Even though licorice is actually flavoured by anise). In my last post I mentioned that The Spice Trader, a new shop in my neighborhood, gave me two free dangerous spices as an introductory gift. The first I chose was Amchur, and the second was licorice root powder.

Licorice root is the most widely used herb in Chinese medicine. It treats nearly every affliction (asthma being my fav because my father and daughter have it) and has been used as a flavouring forever – they even found huge quantities of it in King Tut’s tomb so he wouldn’t run out of it in the afterlife. I know licorice root is good and all, but if you guys happen to be in on plans for my tomb, I’d probably prefer some Sambuca, kay?

But licorice root ain’t half bad. I was inspired by this recipe, but made something completely different. When I first saw that recipe’s picture I thought it was Jello, so I thought, “Huh, never even considered that you could make your own Jello.” Turned out it wasn’t Jello, but I made my own anyway! It wasn’t hard! The Internet can teach you anything. I’m going to start doing my own surgeries, in case you’re interested. They’ll be very reasonably priced, but you’ll have to pay cash up front and I can’t guarantee that the anesthetic (aka aspirin) will be very effective. I expect a lot of business from people protesting Obamacare.

Back to the Jello. You can make your own too, and flavour it any way you want. There’s a great post on gelatin to liquid ratios here, and another on playing with jello and molds and layers here. I got the idea to use condensed milk from this post on making coffee jello.

And here’s how it all went down! Can you believe I found these cute molds

Retro jello moldsbrowsing in an antique store the same day I had been searching jello recipes? The universe wanted me to create this recipe for sure.

Licorice and lime jello with candied lime

Licorice jello

Ingredients (made one 3×6 dish that can be cut into squares, and five small molds. Lots.)

  • 1/2C water and 2 packets of gelatin
  • 1C boiled water
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk
  • 1Tbsp licorice root
  • 1 package green jello
  • 2 limes
  • 1C sugar

Directions: Pour 1/2C water into a bowl, and sprinkle packets of gelatin over it evenly. Let it “bloom” for 5-10 minutes.

Blooming gelatin

In a separate bowl, whisk together condensed milk, hot water and licorice root. Whisk together with gelatin slowly. Pour into molds leaving room in the top for the green layer, and chill in fridge until quite firm, maybe 4 hours. You want it to be firm, but not too firm, or the next layer won’t stick to the first.

Prepare green Jello according to package instructions and pour over top of licorice jello. Chill.

Make candied lime slices according to good ol’ Martha Stewart’s instructions. I let mine go too long and it caramelized, so be careful with that. Take them out when they look see-through.

Remove jello from molds. If they stick, dip the molds into hot water, but don’t do this for too long because the jello will melt and the results will be drippy.

Licorice jelloJello squares


Results: Jello is easy. And a great source of protein. And impressive, when you make it from scratch with whatever flavourings you want. But remember that vegetarians won’t be into it. The “magic milk” (my friend’s dad used to call condensed milk that) became fantastic jello. The licorice root gave an herbal-type licorice aftertaste, but wasn’t overpowering. I might try this recipe again flavouring it with more traditional ingredients. Like Sambuca. Rating: 3 Yums




  1. Leave a Reply

    ThermomixBlogger Helene
    October 19, 2013

    What a fun blog you have here! I’m so glad I discovered you… and all because you spotted my licorice parfait. Thanks for linking back, I LOVE it when bloggers are responsible and link back cuz well… that’s how we discover each other. Love what you do here Ann, but think I’ll pass on the surgeries 😉 Cheers from the west coast – H.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      October 19, 2013

      Thanks!! It was really hard to think of what kinds of flavours would pair with licorice, and if it hadn’t been for your recipe I never would have thought of lime! I’ll definitely keep an eye on your blog in future! Thanks for popping in, and especially for sharing your cool recipe!

  2. Leave a Reply

    October 21, 2013

    The pics look beautiful 🙂 This is so weird because my hubs was just saying how much he likes jello the other day. Serendipitous! I may take a stab at this.

    ps: I too will pass on the surgeries but hey, if you do it, take a video and I’ll watch 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      October 21, 2013

      Thanks! You should take Hubs to the Mandarin buffet. All the Jello you can eat! My kids always take full advantage – it’s a 5 course Jello fiesta. Or whatever the Chinese version of a Fiesta is

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