In winter time, nothing better than some low-calorie, strongly flavored candy. It works against germs, improves general health and well-being, and preparing such candy yourself is fun, and you can make them ‘extra-strong’.
That’s how it works. First, you need to get some isomalt. Isomalt is a sugar alcohol – much less (about half) of the calories than regular sugar, it doesn’t attack your teeth, and is slowly metabolized by the human body (doesn’t lead to spikes of you blood sugar level). It is sweet, but not quite as sweet as sugar. No metallic after-taste, it is purely sweet. And, it is non-hygroscopic (it will not absorb water when stored), resulting in less sticky mess, and eliminating the need to wrap each and every candy separately.
This makes isomalt a nearly ideal ‘carrier substance’ for any flavor.
Take about 150-200 g of isomalt, and melt in a small cooking pot. Ideally, use an electric stove – don’t overheat! Stirr!
Once everything is molten, pour onto a silicon baking pad, or siliconized/non-stick (lightly oiled – vegetable oil) paper.
Watch out! This is dangerously hot stuff – it can cause severe burns! Keep children away! I always wear a pair of cotton gloves for isolation, and a pair of rubber gloves on top.
Now, the tricky part. Using a metal blade, knife, or similar tool, move the molten isomalt around, outside in, until it is cooling down a bit, and getting more viscous. This requires some practice.
Next, most important step – addition of the flavor.
The flavor – a saturated solution of (-)-Menthol in Eucalyptus oil (this is about a 1:1 ratio). This is best done directly in a pipet bottle, very handy for easy dosing. The active ingredient of Eucalyptus oil, 1,8-Cineol is a really great compound, it kills bacteria of all sorts, and constitutes about 80-85% of the oil.
The right time to add the flavoring is reached when the viscosity is just about high enough to handle the molten isomalt with your hands (make sure to thoroughly lubricate the gloves with neutral-taste vegetable oil).
The flavoring is put directly on the semi-liquid isomalt, and folded in from the perimeter, to the inside of the melt.
Then, take the candy in your hands, and pull it, fold it, pull it, until it is cool enough to be portioned into candy pieces. Can be a bit hot, but never mind. Once the right temperature/viscosity is reached, timing is everything! Now things have to happen quickly!
Using a strong pair of scissors, with some vegetable oil applied, cut the candy into pieces of adequate size. Rush!
Best use some non-stick paper, and let the candies cool down.
The final step – put them into some nice metal containers for storage. I never store too many in a single container, because they will lose favor more quickly, with a large container being opened all the time to take out a few candies only.
The result of a single batch – you can handle up to 250 g of isomalt in one batch with some practice.