All Natural Cinnamon Spice Cough Drops
A recipe for homemade cough drops using honey, cinnamon, ginger and cloves!
If you read my previous post here on the benefits of garlic, then you know we have been pretty sick this winter, and I have been trying to fight it all naturally. Caleb loves cough drops when he is sick or has a sore throat. Who doesn't?! Most traditional cough drops are made just like any other candy, using sugar, corn syrup, colors, and flavors, then they will also usually have menthol. Menthol can be derived from a form of mint oil, such as peppermint, or it can be synthetically made. The menthol triggers the body to create a natural cooling effect, which is why your throat feels more sensitive and cold when we suck on a cough drop (source). Though menthol can be sourced naturally, the other ingredients in cough drops such as the colors and flavors, may not be natural. When making your own cough drops, you can control exactly what goes in, use a more natural sweetener such as honey, and experiment with different herbs and infusions to suit your tastes and needs. There are endless combinations out there for different flavors and effects! After seeing a few different cough drop recipes on Pinterest (follow me on Pinterest here!!) I decided to make my own!
Honey is naturally soothing, while cinnamon, ginger, and cloves each have their own benefits, even be it just for the flavor! In recent research honey has been shown to relieve the pain associated with a sore throat (source). Honey in a warm cup of tea has been well known for years to soothe a sore throat or minor cold! Also, the honey is a wonderful replacement for the corn syrup or sugar that's used in name brand cough drops. Cinnamon contains a number of different antioxidants and has been shown to be anti-inflammatory. Keep in mind that you can have any kind of brewed water that you like; you can brew your favorite throat soothing tea, a different combination of herbs, add lemon juice, etc. Make it what you want! Try to include flavors that you will like and herbs/brews that are soothing or healing. Just make sure to keep the water to honey ratio the same.
Now, some real talk. Man oh man, did I have a difficult time getting these cough drops right. It took me THREE different attempts. I don't think I will sugar coat it and tell you this is an easy recipe or process. It was actually pretty challenging, but I am so happy I stuck with it and finished it because I was really pleased with the end result. Also, how fun to be able to say you've made your own cough drops before?! The biggest challenge when making these is the time. Not only does it take quite a bit of time to get the mixture up to the correct temperature, but once its there you are very limited on time to pour your drops. It took about 40-45 minutes of watching and stirring my mixture before it was ready to be poured. Just make sure you are prepped and ready and have the time set aside for paying attention to it. I guess it it just the same as making candy, so if you have ever made candy before you will be golden. This was my first time!
Now, I think its important to note that these cough drops will not look or taste exactly like the Hall's kind you purchase at the store. Natural is different, but it doesn't mean its not just as good! These cough drops are very tasty! They definitely have a flavor punch. Though they are hard like a normal cough drop at first, they get soft much easier and take on the texture of a hard caramel as you suck on them longer. You can of course use candy molds to get a perfect shape for each one, though I like a more natural, rustic look;) You can also try pouring the entire mixture into one pan, letting it harden just slightly, and then use a knife that has been in cold water to cut it into your desired shapes. I tried this with mine, but found it was much easier to just drop them into circles onto my cookie sheets. I coated ours in powdered sugar (something more natural like Tapioca powder would have been preferred, but I didn't have any) but you can also wrap them individually with wax paper. I would love to hear if you all try these! I can't wait to try ours the next time this sickness rolls around.
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup honey
tapioca powder or powdered sugar (you may also use cocoa powder if you are okay with a chocolate flavor)
Prep your area by placing out 2-3 cookie sheets or 3-4 9x13 pans. (Some of the recipes I saw suggested using parchment paper, but I found that my drops stuck to the paper. You could try greasing your paper though!) Grease the bottoms of the cookie sheets or pans with coconut oil. You can also keep the sheets/pans in your freezer until just before you are ready to use them. This will help the syrup to cool and harden much quicker, but it is not necessary. Just make sure that the area you are working in is clean and ready for them, as the process will get very time sensitive, and you will need the pans ready right away.
Place cinnamon stick, ginger, and cloves in a medium size bowl. Boil 1 1/2 cups of filtered water, and pour over cinnamon stick, ginger, and cloves. Let sit 30 minutes or so, or until water has cooled. Place one cup of the brewed water into a medium saucepan with high sides, and add the one cup of honey. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat until your candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring constantly. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It took mine about 40-45 minutes. Once your mixture has reached the hard crack stage (300 degrees) remove from heat. Quickly run your candy thermometer and any other utensils used under hot water so that none of the syrup hardens on it. Using a spoon, drip quarter sized drops onto your pans. Its okay if some of them run together, you can pull them apart later. You will need to do this very quickly as your syrup will start to harden fast. Once finished, run your pot and anything else used under hot water until the syrup is washed away. Allow all of your drops to harden completely before coating in powder (the powder will keep them from sticking together). Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
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