These tasty treats tick all the boxes in terms of Halloween celebrations – from the glossy black and bright red colours, to the haunting figures that decorate their tops.
You will need:
- 30g butter
- 200g black treacle
- 100g plain flour, sifted
- 1 ½ tsp liquorice root powder
- Flavourless oil, for greasing
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Sugar paste: 125g red, 10g white
- Food colouring paste: black
- Medium, heavy-based saucepan
- Sugar thermometer
- Baking parchment
- Heatproof work mat or baking sheet
- Rolling pin
- Ruler and sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Fine paintbrush
- Place the butter and black treacle in a medium, heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring with a spatula until the butter has melted and the ingredients have combined.
- Clip a sugar thermometer into the saucepan, then boil the mixture, with no further stirring, until it reaches soft ball stage at 112 to 116°C.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the flour and liquorice root powder and beat until thoroughly combined. Leave to cool a little for 5 minutes.
- Lightly oil a sheet of baking parchment and lay it on a heatproof work mat or baking sheet. Pour the hot liquorice onto the parchment into a roughly rectangular shape – it will spread out but won’t fill the sheet.
- Leave for 20 to 25 minutes until the liquorice is just warm and still pliable.
- Lift the sheet of liquorice away from the baking parchment and place it between two fresh sheets of lightly oiled parchment.
- Using a rolling pin, firmly roll the liquorice to 2 to 3mm thick, roughly shaping it into a rectangle. It needs to be a little larger than 15cm by 30cm, so it can be trimmed down to size at Step 11.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the rectangle in half for two squares that are a little larger than 15cm. Do not separate the squares just yet.
- Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with icing sugar and roll out the red sugar paste to a square shape of roughly 16cm.
- Lay the red square on a liquorice square, then use the parchment to lift the second piece of liquorice, lowering it neatly on top of the sugar paste.
- Transfer to a chopping board and trim the sandwiched layers to 15cm square. Cut the square into 15 rectangles, each measuring 3cm x 5cm.
- Trim each of the rectangles into a coffin shape by cutting two small triangles from the top corners and two longer and thinner triangles from each long side.
- Roll tiny pieces of white sugar paste into balls. Form into simple ghost shapes, then flatten onto the tops of your Liquorice Coffins. Dip the tip of a fine paintbrush into black food colouring paste and mark out the ghost’s eyes. Give one or two a mouth.
- Chill until firm and your Liquorice Coffins are ready to eat, or store in an airtight container, interleaved with baking parchment, for several days.