Licorice is one of my favorite flavors. It’s hugely popular in Sweden, I’d say it’s up there with chocolate as people’s favorite candy. Swedish licorice candy is different from the kind you find here in the US though, much more intense, sometimes salty and very sharp (it will clear out your sinuses!).
That intense flavor comes from real licorice root, which in addition to being delicious has a lot of health benefits (and risks if eaten in excess, which is so often the case with medicinal plants). It’s anti-viral, helps with stomach ulcers, GERD, indigestion, coughs, colds, etc. When I was growing up (in Sweden), you could buy licorice at the apothecary (along with honey, saffron and a few other things you wouldn’t necessarily think of as medicine), and we often bought whole licorice roots to chew on (as candy).
When I was home on vacation this summer, I came down with a horrible cold, I hadn’t been that sick in years, and started craving licorice like mad. One day when we were out strolling around (I just couldn’t spend my vacation in bed, sick or not) I found this very exciting ice cream (to the left) and had to try it – Vanilla ice cream with salt licorice fudge and red (hot) chili licorice sauce. Licorice ice cream is nothing new in Sweden, but I had not seen this particular flavor before. It was amazing!
It seems that licorice has become even more popular in Sweden in recent years. People are using it in new ways, and I found licorice products I had not seen before, among them the granulated licorice root used for this recipe. I have not been able to find anything similar here in the US, but if you want to give it a try, contact me. You can purchase it directly from me.
Note: if you take certain medications, are pregnant, have high blood pressure or certain other medical conditions, you should not eat licorice root. Check here to make sure you’re not at risk before trying this recipe. Please also read the Terms & Conditions page of this site.
And now, the recipe: I used a whole tablespoon of licorice, which gives the ice cream a fairly strong licorice flavor (and a pretty pale taupe color) – it might be a bit much for some, so play around with it to adjust it to your own taste.
1 can coconut milk
½ fresh vanilla bean
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tbsp granulated licorice root
1 tsp vodka (optional, this is just to make the ice cream freeze a little softer)
1. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds from one of the halves. Put the seeds in a saucepan and add the coconut milk and honey (and use the vanilla bean pod for homemade vanilla extract).
2. Put on the stove over medium-low heat and stir until the honey is dissolved. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the vodka. Let cool a bit, cover and put the saucepan in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
3. Once completely cold, put the mixture in your ice cream maker and run. 5 minutes before it’s done, add the granulated licorice root. This disperses it evenly throughout the ice cream; if you prefer streaks of licorice, stir it in once the ice cream is done instead.
For soft-serve, eat right away, or put in the freezer for later.