Friday, January 4, 2013

Homemade Cough Drops for All Ages

This is a really clever way to make your own cough drops, I like it especially because I can give them to my kids without worrying about what is in them.

I'm not sure where I found this recipe; I looked at several different ones.

I like the idea that it just uses herbal tea; I like the Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea!  I think it totally makes sense to use this for making cough drops since it works great when drinking for a sore throat or cough!

-1 to 2 cups boiling water
-1 to 2 cups sugar or brown sugar {use the same amount of sugar as water!  This is where you can use honey too!  Honey really helps with coughs and sore throats.}
-2 to 4 Throat Coat tea bags or other tea {use what you like, adding honey will help sooth a cough no matter what tea you like}
-candy molds, powdered sugar or cornstarch
-you will also need a candy thermometer
I wanted my cough drops to be strong so I used 1 cup water and 4 tea bags.

Make your cough drop molds if using powdered sugar or cornstarch:
1. Pour a bag of powdered sugar into a shallow dish.
2. Press gently with fingers to compress slightly.
3. Use a small object {the size you want your cough drops to be} to press the mold divots into the sugar.
I used the narrow end of wine bottle plug for smaller cough drops.
For larger cough drops I used the bottom of one of those plastic measuring scoops for cocoa mix or baby formula.
Here are my prepared "molds"; I used powdered sugar.
1. Brew tea bags in hot water for about 15 minutes.
2. Squeeze out tea bags and discard.
 I used 1 cup water and 4 tea bags.
3. In a large saucepan combine tea and sugar/honey over medium-high heat; stir until sugar is dissolved.
4. Bring to a boil, and don't stir.
5. Let mixture boil until it reaches 300 degrees F; be sure the mixture reaches 300 degrees, if you don't the cough drops won't harden when cooled!
The mixture will darken slightly as it cooks; I was worried it was burning but the cough drops don't taste burnt at all.  

I think its the sugar caramelizing and the tea becoming more concentrated.
6. After the mixture has reached 300 degrees, very CAREFULLY pour the mixture into your prepared molds.
I ended up with more cough drop mixture than prepared molds, so the mixture pooled around the edges.  Next time I'll just stop when the holes are full and either make more molds or discard the remaining mixture.
7. Allow the cough drops to cool completely, then just run your fingers through the powdered sugar to loosen the hard "candy" cough drops.

The powdered sugar is nice because it adds the powdered coating that prevents the cough drops from sticking to each other with time.

8. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

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