Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homemade Cough Drops and Cough Drop Lollipops


Homemade Cough Drops and Cough Drop Lollipops
Fall is officially here and with it came the beginning of my family’s cold season. Sigh. I was hoping we wouldn’t get sick quite so soon. However, with three kids and multiple kid filled events per week it was bound to happen.

There is one advantage to getting sick so early in the game; I now have an excuse to start making all kinds of home remedies. Some home remedies make the cut and some don’t but the ones that do I am going to share with you!

Cough drops can be a wonderful thing. Anyone with a sore throat or nagging cough will tell you that they love a good cough drop. The funny thing is that many cough drops are full of ingredients that aren’t good for you. Sugar, food dyes, soy can all be found in common cough drops. Do you really want to be using a cough drop with those ingredients?

The good news is that cough drops are incredibly easy to make!

I found the original recipe at Little House in the Suburbs and when I saw someone mention lollipops and idea was born. Naturally kids need cough drops too but I don’t like giving my kids itty bitty pieces of hard candy. Cough drop lollipops are a logical solution. Cough drops on a stick.

Cough Drop Lollipops

½ cup to 1 cup honey (honestly any amount would do probably)
Candy thermometer (optional)
Lollipop mold (although if you do not have a mold you could make free form lollipops by pouring the honey over the stick on a non-stick surface)

Cook-

Pour honey into small saucepan and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and bring honey to a boil. If using candy thermometer, insert in and continue to stir the honey until it has reached a temperature of 300 degrees. Remove from heat and move to test phase. If not using the candy thermometer then continue cooking and occasionally test. Just don’t wait too late to test; testing too early is better then testing too late.

Test –

To make sure your honey has reached the right consistency, place a drop or two of honey into a cup of ice water. If the honey turns and stays hard (like a hard candy) then you are good to go. If it is still soft then you need to keep cooking a bit longer.

Making the Lollipops –

With Molds- Grease lollipop molds and insert sticks so that they are ready in the mold. Pour honey into mold and let cool at room temperature. (No cheating and putting them into the fridge. It won’t work)

Without Molds- Lay lollipop sticks on a greased non-stick surface such as a silicone mat or parchment/wax paper. Carefully pour honey over each stick, creating a free form lollipop.

Making Cough Drops sans sticks-

Instead of making lollipops, you can of course make regular cough drops. You can purchase cough drop molds or any small mold will work. I used my lollipop mold to try out my cough drops and it worked fine. You could also create free form cough drops just like the free form lollipops. Same instructions apply; pour honey into mold or onto a greased non-stick surface and let cool.

Add Ins-

Now just plain honey is great but you can get really creative with these! I have made cinnamon cough drops as well as a ginger variety. I am also interested in trying herbal cough drops my steeping herbs in the honey (you’d probably want to strain the herbs before making the cough drops) Think chamomile, thyme, or mint. I have also heard of using some essential oils such as lemon or menthol. I’d also be curious to see how a dash of elderberry syrup would do in these cough drops. I’ll have to try that out once I make some elderberry syrup.

Note: Babies under the age of 1 year should not be given honey.







43 comments:

  1. This is really cool! So much more fun for kids than just a spoonful of honey.

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  2. Very cool...I would think adding elderberry syrup or lemon essential oil would be a great addition. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

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  3. Get out of town!
    You are rockin my world!
    We are getting bees next year... This is fabulous.
    With this giant tribe I will have to make more then Willy Wonka!
    Bookmarking this...and emailing this to friends.
    Genius.
    T

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  4. Oh my! I need to write you a personal thank you note for the upcoming cough season! This is great! Adding you to min pintrest

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  5. This is such a great idea! I have to give this a try. It would be great to add some essential oils. My kids will love these.

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  6. seriously cool! I guess I need to look into some lollipop molds!

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  7. LOVE this idea! Googling lollipop molds right now!

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  8. 300 degrees - F or C?

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  9. adding this to my crunchy to do list! ;)

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  10. My 12-yr-old would love the cough drops, I'm sure - esp if I add in the ginger! He loves cough drops... My 3-yr-old, however...if I give him a sucker, he BITES it and chews it up. Ugh. Not sure this would work with him. Haha! He would just be eating honey the way he does it. Great idea for those that can actually suck on a sucker/drop!

    I've never been a fan of conventional cough drops b/c I can't stand the taste, etc. Never have been able to keep any in my mouth for more than a few seconds. Yuck. I've tried Slippery Elm drops, which actually work really well and I liked just fine. Until I realized I was allergic (took a few tries before the reaction was bad enough...then testing confirmed the allergy). So, this is great b/c I was out of ideas for cough drops! :)

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  11. I just made these today. I love how easy it was! Except, I did burn my finger and melt my measuring spoon :( But other than that, it worked great. I took mine off the heat when the thermo read 300, but I think I could have waited just a bit more (I tested, but had a toddler who needed to use the potty so I was rushed). the honey at the bottom of the pan hardened up better than the first spoonfuls out. And next time I'll buy a mold :) But I DO LOVE this idea and I'll use it again and again. Thanks!!!

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  12. Great idea! I have a sick kiddo right now, so I can't wait to make them! I don't have sticks or molds, but I DO have ice cube trays. I hope they don't melt, but I think if I only filled them a little bit they would make a nice little rectangle cough drop. Thanks for the great idea!

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  13. since I already have my elderberry syrup made,contains ginger,cinnamon,and raw honey, wouldn't the 300 degrees eliminate the nutritional values of the ginger, cinnamona and elderberry?

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  14. Anonymous - hmm well to some extent yes. Your raw honey definitely won't be raw anymore but I still think all those ingredients will still have some benefit. At the very least, I think they are still better then a conventional cough drop.

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  15. OH MY GOSH!!! I LOVE U!!! My little one will LOVE U!!! I never thought of this!!! This is a great treat as well. My poor LO hasn't had a sucker in over a year because of her allergies!!! This is just wonderful!

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  16. Love this idea! I'm going to try to find small molds to make cough drops (think Hall's size). I think they would be great to drop in a cup of tea!

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  17. Not so easy. First a warning that you should use a pot large enough for the boiling honey to Double in size. Stirring Constantly and quite vigorously should be emphasized. First try boiled over the sides of the pot, even after my attempt to lift it off the burner in time. Second, read "candy mold" package carefully, mine said "not for hard candy" in the fine print. Third, getting to 300 was not as easy as I'd expected. It hovered at 200 for 15 minutes. However, even after stopping and restarting a few times, the finished honey candy is dark, rich, delicious, and very satisfying. I made some drip-pops for the kids, by dripping the cooling honey on the ends of lollipop sticks I'd bought at Walmart. As the center drops cooled, I dropped "flower petals" around the edges which are small enough not to choke on. On a non-stick cookie sheet, they popped right off when cool. I also made some drops for me. I'll be surfing up some candy molds tonight. Thanks for the recipe. I've been thinking there should be "lollipop cough drops" for kids for a week of this nasty cold. The endgame will be much less unpleasant!

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    Replies
    1. I make hard candy on a regular basis, and you are correct that it will hover at 212* for a while as this is the boiling point for water and it will stay at this temp until all the water is boiled out of it.

      But, you do NOT need to stir. Stirring will make it slosh up the sides and then some of it might not make it to the hard crack stage, and can result in grainy candy. :) Just use a good heavy pan, keep the heat medium-low and be patient.

      If you have a store like Hobby Lobby, look there for molds. But yes, you have to be sure they are made for hard candy or the plastic will melt. Lorann Oils makes many different kinds! Amazon probably has some too.

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  18. Sounds yummy, but I read honey looses its benefits when heated...

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    1. Honey probably does loose its benefits when heated although it might keep some. However, even if it had no real benefits, this still makes a safer cough drop.

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  19. I just tried this. I didn't have a candy thermometer but thought since I have made Glass Candy many times without it I could do this. Not so easy. Highly recomend using the thermometer as I scorched mine. Even though I have done the same testing for glass candy it was a lot harder to tell with honey as aposed to corn syrup. My nephew is alegeric to corn so was giving this a try.

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    1. Yes it is harder to do without a thermometer. However, that is how I do it. I just made sure to keep dropping a bit into cold water every minute or two toward the end. It was annoying to test so often but it is easy to scorch otherwise.

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  20. Tried this, used a candy thermometer, and free poured onto my greas ed silpat. It definitely reached at least 300 (not sure how much higher, distracted by toddler), but it didn't burn. It was very runny and even doing a very slow pour it ran all over my silpat in thin pools. Once cooled down it is still soft, like taffy. I thought they were supposed to be hard? I used all the honey I had (about 1/3 cup), so I will have to wait to try it again, hopefully I just did something wrong because this sounded awesome for my toddler who won't eat spoons of honey.

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    1. They are suppose to get hard but I'd say they aren't rock hard. When we suck on ours they definitely bend a bit in our mouths as they conform to our sucking.... but freshly made they should be hard.

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    2. If its really humid when you make them, they might not set.

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    3. @CDGRIFFITH16
      It sounds like your candies were over cooked. As strange as it seems, cooking sugar past the hard crack stage can lead to trouble with setting up, giving you soft, flexible candy instead of hard. I'm a culinary student and i was making candy the other day and exactly the same thing happened to me. It's better to err a degree or 2 lower than yhe suggested temperature rather than bring it up too high. It may alsp help to check your thermometers accuracy as they can easily get out of whack. You can do this by bringing a pot of water to a hard, rolling boil and placing your thermometer in the water. Water boils at 212 degrees so check to see of the temperature is off and adjust accordingly. Hope this helps!

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  21. What a fantastic idea!!
    I've got five younger brothers--and I'd love to be prepared for the next time cold and flu season comes around.

    I might consider adding in a few things like cayenne pepper, or cider vinegar, just for the anti-cough benefits.

    Just an idea! :)

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  22. i like the idea of lollypops, but please, do your research- heated honey might be toxic and at the least looses all the antimicrobial and other good properties that it is being used for

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    1. I have yet to find any good research on honey being toxic when heated. Granted I will admit that it looses all it's good properties and such when heated but I still think it's great for cough drops (definitely better then some commercial brand ingredients)

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  23. Honey has many healthy properties that are not destroyed by been heated. Granted that a lot of the heat sensitive properties would be destroyed (mostly vitamins) but honey has such a complex compostition of properties and no 2 batches of honey are the same......everybody also forgets that honey can get quite hot in a hive sitting out in the sun on a 100 degree day and still be raw honey. Honey is healthy.
    I think this is a great idea and would happily make these for my children over giving them commercial cough drops.

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  24. Don't forget that horehound is the classic go-to herb in the cough and sore throat arsenal. I'll bet it would be great in this as well.

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  25. Honey is not toxic when heated but most of the health benefits are reduced and the form of sugar changes, so it more readily feeds candida and pathogens. It's not just vitamins that are lost, also enzymes, probiotics, and other things that are good for immunity.

    Herbs, etc. should be fine, and I would use this as a way to get the herbs in moreso than the honey... ie. in addition to some raw honey.

    And I don't use commercial cough drops, either. No need for them :-)

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  26. I just made these, and it was pretty easy if paying attention. I bought candy molds at Michael's, they're in the cake aisle.

    Also, to answer the writer's question, yes, adding essential oils and a bit of other syrups works well. I am a Chinese herbalist and I prepared a highly concentrated tea of herbs that relieve coughing, strained out the raw herbs, then added about 1.5 cups of honey to that condensed liquid and proceeded as usual. At the very end, I turned off the heat and stirred in about 7-8 drops of Peppermint essential oil to make them taste better (the herbs are slightly bitter). I'm sure elderberry syrup would be fine too -- my herbal liquid was about 1/2 cup, plus the honey, and the candies hardened just fine.

    Thanks for the recipe! I might include these in xmas gift bags this year!

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  27. Just tried to make these. It never got to 300 and ended up burned. I tested throughout the process just to check. I used a cup of honey because I wanted to make lollipops and lozenges. I'm going to give it another go with some water added but not tonight.

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    1. I'm sorry they didn't turn out. Honestly, I've always found candy making to be an inconsistent thing. Hopefully it will work for you next time!

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  28. I just made these. I poured the honey into molds I bought from Michaels that said not for hard candy. Ugh! But, I just checked them and the plastic didn't melt...at least not on the outside. I touched the bottom of the mold and the honey felt hard so hopefully hard crack stage honey is ok for these molds. Anyways, I poured them half full of honey and then for half of them I dropped one drop of elderberry extract on them and the other half I dropped one drop of echinacea extract on them. Then, I filled them with more honey the rest of the way. The spoon I used for all this became the chef's sucker :-) and I have to admit the honey was really yummy to suck on this way. I plan on giving these suckers to my friends' kids for Christmas. Thanks for such a unique recipe!!!

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  29. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have purchased "throat suckers" from CVS Pharmacy for my kiddos in the past, but, of course they are filled with all the artificial junk...these are a much better option. Can't wait to try them!

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  30. I tried this and they came out great! They were sort of like really tough toffees or really soft hard candies and they almost pulled my teeth right out of my face but they were fantastic. Just one question though. When cooking them it bubbled up a lot! it overflowed a little. how come this happened and how can i fix it? Also the temperature wouldn't get up to 300.
    Thanks :)

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    1. Hello Max,
      Glad you had such a great success with the cough drops despite the bubbling issues. The honey will bubble a lot. This is one reason why it's best to constantly stir it (besides the burning issue) As for overflowing issues, you might want to go up a pot size. I used my small pot but I was only cooking 1/2 cup of honey. Also make sure you cook it over low so that the bubbling is reduced as much as possible (high temperatures mean more bubbling action). As for the temperature, that is likely just an issue of time. My guess is since you were combating overflowing issues that you just couldn't let it cook at long as you wanted. More time and you would have likely reached 300.

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    2. Thanks! looking forward to trying these again. Definitely subscribing : )

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  31. Just honey? Seriously? Shut the front door!!!

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