Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (2024)

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Black Licorice Caramels just like grandma used to make. A creamy, soft caramel flavored with anise. The best black licorice recipe out there!

Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (1)

Growing up, we always went to my Great Grandma’s home for the holidays. There we would find homemade black licorice caramels perfectly wrapped for all to enjoy.

I have to admit, when I was younger anise-flavored anything was not a tastebud pleaser for me as for a lot of kids but as I grow older my tastebuds changed and pallet “matured.” <–I swear that really is a thing.

Although I didn’t take advantage of my grandma’s yummy black licorice caramels then, I do now!

You know, what’s even more fun about these around Christmas time?! They look like a lump of coal. I would totally take a lump of coal in my stocking if it was a piece of this black licorice caramel!

Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (2)

Every holiday season, the girls in my family get together over a weekend and prepare hand dipped and hand made holiday chocolates. It’s a tradition that I can remember doing since I was a very little girl.

Over the past few years, I’ve honed my English toffee, soft caramels, peanut brittle and peanut butter cups as these are the items I’m fully in charge of.

We make so many different kinds of chocolates we include in our boxes. This year we were up to 21 different kinds! Here are a few of my favorites, in addition to the once I’ve already listed above, I’ve shared the recipes for here:

  • Almond balls
  • S’mores Chocolate Boxes
  • Tiger Butter Bark
  • White Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Mint Patties

This anise black licorice caramel recipe is one of my favorites and I’m happy it’s on my list of chocolate making to-does!

If you like caramel and you like soft black licorice you are going to LOVE this recipe so much! This black licorice caramel has been known to win over even the non-anise fan. Seriously!

Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (3)


To make a perfectly smooth black licorice caramel, make sure all sugar crystals are dissolved. Here are a few tips you can use to help avoid crystallization:

  1. Don’t scrape the side of the pot during cooking.
    • Refrain from scraping the sides of the pot with your spoon. scrape the sides of the pot, undissolvedsugar crystals may stick to the sides and cause a reaction (sugar to crystallize) after you pour the caramel into the pan to cool.
  2. Wash down the side of the pot using a basting brush and water.
    • As the mixture boils sugar crystals may spatter up onto the side of the pot. Washing down the sides of the pot help crystals fall back into the pot to be melted. I wash down the sides multiple times throughout the process every 30 seconds to a minute. I also wash down the top of the wooden spoon I use.
  3. Don’t scrape the pot after you pour out the caramel.
    • Once the caramel is done you will pour it into a greased pan of your choice. Make sure not to scrape the sides of the pan when you pour the hot mixture out.
    • If you are adamantabout getting every last drop of that sticky sweet stuff, pour the mixture into the pan without scraping the pot, then scrape the remainder into a jar or other heat-resistant container/pan. Don’t mix them. It’s much more likely for the caramel you scrape out of the pan to crystalize. It only takes a single crystal to trigger a chain reaction and make your smooth caramel goodness go “grainy.”
Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (4)


If you plan to share this black licorice treat as a gift or on a treat platter, wrap individual pieces of caramel using waxed paper. Waxed paper will allow for the caramels to release when unwrapped.

For a small (0.5 x 0.5 x 1 inch) rectangle piece of caramel, I use a piece of waxed paper that’s about 3 inches by 4 inches. This gives me enough waxed paper on each side to twist and seal the caramel inside to help keep freshness.

You can also use parchment paper but it’s thicker quality makes it harder to twist the ends to seal. Place pieces in an airtight container to preserve freshness and keep the caramel soft.

Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (5)


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family, friends and I do. It’s, dare I say it, the best black licorice recipe out there. YUM!


Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (7)

Yield: 9x13 pan, about 60 small pieces

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cooling Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Black Licorice Caramels just like grandma used to make. A creamy, soft caramel flavored with anise. One of the best black licorice recipes out there!


  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 lb dark brown sugar, about 2 1/4 cups packed
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 to 1.5 oz anise extract
  • black food coloring or gel coloring


  1. In a large pot add sweetened condensed milk, dark brown sugar, salted butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium to medium-high heat. Stir constantly to avoid burning bottom.
  2. Using a basting brush and water, wash down sided of pot to help sugar to dissolve. (about every minute or so).
  3. Mixture will begin to bubble and increase in volume. Avoid scraping sides of pan as this can make the caramel crystallize during the cooling phase (and go "grainy" or "sugary.") Using a calibrated candy thermometer, cook mixture to 234-238 degrees F or softball stage (depending on how soft or firm you want your caramels to be).
  4. You can also test how soft or firm it is by dipping a spoonful into a cup of ice water to cool quickly.
  5. Remove from heat and add black food coloring (or gel coloring) and anise extract.
  6. Pour into a butter-greased 9x13 inch pan. Pour quickly and DO NOT scrape sides of pan (this can cause the black licorice caramel to crystallize and go grainy.
  7. Once cooled, wrap individual pieces in waxed paper and store in an airtight container or bag. Will keep for several weeks if kept cool.


  1. You can wash sides of pan using a basting brush and water to help remove any sugar crystals that may have splashed onto the side of the pot. The water helps push sugar crystals back into the pot to minimize the possibility of crystallization (caramels going grainy).
  2. If you want to save ALL the black licorice caramel including what is left in the pan after pouring the majority into the 9x13 inch pan, scrape the remaining caramel into a separate pan or jar. The portion that was scraped is more likely to go grainy do to sugar crystals on the side of the pot. If poured into the rest it may cause the whole batch to go grainy.

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OP: 12.10.19 Re-shared: 12.15.20

Black Licorice Caramels: the best anise caramel recipe - Kitchen Cents (2024)
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