Monday, October 8, 2012

Honey, Lemon and Herb Cough Drops

I'm finally getting over my first cold of the season. As a teacher I get to share in the joys of student learning and discoveries, and share their germs. Aches, sore throat, congestion, I had it all. I usually maintain my appetite during a cold, which is great, except that congestion makes everything taste awful. (That is, if I haven't lost my sense of taste all together.) The result? I can only enjoy so many cups of tea, bowls of soup and oatmeal, and plates of scrambled eggs before I'm standing with the refrigerator door open, whining over my tasteless choices.

I was drinking tea and honey at 2:30 a.m. (the sore throat was that unbearable) when I came across this recipe from The Nerdy Farm Wife. Hooray! Another way to get the healing power of herbs and honey, without the mug.

I'm a baker, not a candy maker. I haven't had much experience boiling sugar into a caramel consistency, but it's not too tricky. The key is having a thermometer. Don't have one? I've included pictures of the boiling process below to help you gauge the temperature of your mixture. The change in color is most obvious.


After the boiling process, I cooled the pan on top of the stove for about an hour, then refrigerated the drops for an additional 1-2 hours. The longer they are in the fridge, the easier it will be to cut them. As mentioned in the original recipe, the drops take on a caramel consistency when left at room temperature. Keep that in mind if you decide to pack them in your lunch box.

Make these cough drops now and store them between layers of parchment in the fridge. You can snack on them for fun and you'll be ready when the sniffles hit.

Honey, Lemon and Herb Cough Drops
Adapted from The Nerdy Farm Wife
Makes approximately 40 drops

1/2 c. Earth Balance (or butter)
1 c. honey
1/2 t. vinegar
1/8 c. water
1 T. of fresh lemon juice
1 T. herbal tea

Line a 8 in. x 8 in. pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add honey, water, and vinegar. Turn the heat to high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Once the mixture reaches 250°, lower the heat slightly to maintain temperature around 250° for several minutes. The mixture will continue to boil and darken. Once you reach a temperature of 300°, stir in the lemon juice and tea. Note: this will cause the mixture to bubble and splatter so be sure to stir the mixture as you add the juice and tea. Boil for an additional minute.

Immediately pout into your pan. Allow the mixture to cool completely (ideally 1-2 hours).

Carefully lift the paper out of your pan and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut drops into strips and then bite-sized pieces. For a hard, cough drop-like texture, store drops in the refrigerator. For a caramel consistency, store at room temperature.


  1. Hey Bekka, do we make the tea like steeping a bag in a cup as for drinking and then use 1T of that? Can you taste the tea? I guess mint or something strong would be best...

  2. Yes! I steeped peppermint tea in a little less water than usual and then measured from the mug.