Friday, March 13, 2009

Sugar Coated Fennel

Candy Coated Fennel SeedsI spend a lot of time on Candy Blog looking for and reviewing the newest candies.

That’s kind of sad for the oldest candies.

Today I’ve got Candy Coated Fennel Seeds. From reading Sweets: A History of Candy by Tim Richardson, some of the first candies are still produced today. Those are the panned nuts and seeds.

The process is simple, a syrup of liquid sugar is drizzled over a bit that forms the center (in this case a fennel seed). After each layer dries, another is added. The most famous version of this is the Anis de l’Abbaye Flavigny, which creates a huge peanut sized pastille. In this instance the fennel seeds are coated with a little crunchy shell, like an M&M without the chocolate.

Candy Coated Fennel

This variety is made by Al-Karawan based in Amman, Jordan (you know, Jordan, the place they named Jordan Almonds after). My mother picked it up for me at her local deli.

The summer before I went off to college I worked at an herb shop where I packaged up bulk products, including a version of this. I admit that I would sneak a spoonful when doing the little baggies. I might add that fennel is supposed to be a digestive aid, easing indigestion and suppressing appetite. It also freshens the breath. I usually see this stuff at Indian restaurants where you usually encounter a bowl of mints.

Candy Coated FennelThe colors are bright pastels: pink, green, yellow, blue and lavender. The size of the pieces varies greatly, some are tiny little spheres (with nothing inside) and others are the size of sunflower seeds.

The bag smells sweet and like a light anise. For those who are familiar with fennel, it does have a distinct, fresh anise flavor to it (licorice).

The sugar coating is sweet and crunchy and gives way to the seeds pretty quickly. The seeds are soft and fibrous for the most part. They have a light fresh flavor to them, soft anise mixed with some woodsy notes of beets, vanilla and root beer.

It’s kind of an odd candy. I find it very refreshing, though not terribly filling. It’s certainly pretty. For something exotic, it’s not that expensive (this bag had a price tag of 99 cents on it) for four ounces. For the most part it’s well made, but the bottom of my bag did contain a bunch of little bits that either didn’t get the full color treatment or were just single candy layered on a thread of fennel instead of a full seed. A little sifting might have eliminated that.

Al-Karawan lists Sugar Coated Cardamom on their site, now that sounds like something I’d like! The panning process is used on lots of other unlikely foodstuffs as well, like chick peas (garbanzos) and more traditional ones like almonds & pistachios.

Related Candies

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  3. Romanego Dragees, Cordials & Fondants
  4. Confetti & Agrumetti
  5. Sugar Babies
  6. Gold Mine Gum
  7. Anis de Flavigny
  8. Treat Trip: Jelly Belly Factory
Name: Sugar Coated Fennel
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Al-Karawan
Place Purchased: gift from Mom
Price: $.99
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Licorice

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:41 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. we are addicted to candy coated chickpeas!  we get them in pittsburgh at a wonderful store called pennsylvania macaroni company or “pennMac”. the chickpeas have a delicious crunchy/nutty taste & texture that goes well with the coating, which is a bit thinner than on a jordan almond.  VERY crunch-able.

    Comment by anne on 3/13/09 at 12:25 pm #
  2. Sera's avatar

    I’d love to give these a try. smile

    Comment by Sera on 3/13/09 at 3:06 pm #
  3. Oh my goodness - I would love to try sugar-coated cardamom.  I need to track that down.

    I have eaten the coated fennel seeds at my favorite local Indian place, and while I don’t know that I’ll ever buy an entire bag of them, I think they’re pretty tasty.

    Comment by MRM on 3/13/09 at 6:14 pm #
  4. I’ve read parts of that very intriguing book, but that kind of candy or original sugar plums (more seeds), oh Lord no.

    Comment by Jeanna on 3/14/09 at 6:58 am #
  5. I’m Indian and I never really thought about this as a type of candy, but it really is. As a kid, my mom would have to hide these away because I would end up finishing the whole jar within a few hours.

    Comment by Dimple on 3/15/09 at 8:27 am #
  6. love the site !

    Comment by betty on 3/15/09 at 3:58 pm #
  7. I always love getting a handful after eating at an Indian restaurant (it’s usually a mixture of about half candy-coated and half plain fennel seeds).  The essential oils anethole and fenchone contained in the seeds is said to help aid digestion.

    Comment by Rob on 3/16/09 at 3:12 am #
  8. Jordan almonds are not named after Jordan; the name comes from the Old French/Middle English “jardin,” meaning “garden.” smile almond

    Comment by Lily on 3/22/09 at 6:00 pm #
  9. Oops, sorry, bad link.

    Comment by Lily on 3/22/09 at 6:01 pm #
  10. Cybele's avatar

    Lily - Hah! Thanks for that ... all this time I thought it was like Turkish Delight ... named for the region where it came from.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/22/09 at 6:05 pm #
  11. I really like these. Fennel seed helps menstrual cramps, gas, cramps, bloating. raspberry

    Comment by Natasha on 4/22/09 at 5:14 am #
  12. Saw some of these, mixed with fennel and sugar and just a bit of pink liquid, wrapped in betel leaf in beautiful a triangle shape; it smells so delightful, sweet licoricey/anisey/rosy slight pungent alcohol smell. I won’t eat it cause of the food coloring on the candies but so tempting! It’s called a Mukhwa and it’s different everywhere, but if y’all were here now i’d share it with you. smile Love&Peace;

    Comment by j on 3/14/11 at 9:42 pm #
  13. Interested in buying in bulk, is this possible ?

    Comment by Pedro Rosas on 12/12/12 at 3:27 pm #
  14. hi, happy that you have written sugar coated fennel seeds recipe but i would be highly obliged if you show in video that how to make sugar coated fennel seeds here in your site a video or on youtube.\
                thanks and have anice day.

    Comment by vikas pahuja on 1/06/16 at 6:48 am #
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