Chap. II. – Tablets, Drops, Barley Sugars, &c., pp.18-31.

[Tablets, Drops, Barley Sugars, &c. Contents]

TABLETS must be made of fine sugar. The best way, when they are to be made in quantities, is this; clarify the sugar and boil it till it blows strong, have ready a small brass pan, into which put the quantity you want. Begin with those kinds which are most delicate in flavour, and such as need no colouring, as clove, lemon, cinnamon, lavender, &c.; and as you empty out one kind put in the syrup for the next. The tablets are poured into tins, having the edges turned up about an inch, and rubbed over with fresh butter, or Florence oil; also into sheets of writing paper with the edges turned up and fastened with pins, or twisted. When cold, take a knife and divide them into squares, or any shape you please. Place the tins, or paper, upon a level table, or board; then, having the oils, essences, and powder, all ready at hand, so that there may be nothing else to do when the sugar is ready, you proceed by putting in the quantity you want into the small pan, and let it boil. Take a long knife, or spattula, and dipping it amongst the boiling sugar, draw it over the edge of the pan, and if the sugar appears dry upon the knife, or white, it is ready. Take it off the fire, and after stirring it until the boiling has subsided, add the oil, essence, or powder, to it; stir it quick until it grains, or grows thick, then pour it into your tins, and immediately put in more syrup for the next kind, and so proceed. For small quantities. Take to one pound sugar pounded, three spoonfuls of water, or as much as will wet the sugar; put it on the fire, add one ounce starch, keep stirring it with a knife, or spattula, boil it till when you draw the knife over the edge of the pan it appears grained, then proceed as already directed. The stirring prevents it from rising over the edge, and from burning at the bottom of the pan. Ginger tablet is sometimes rather difficult to make; if the powder is too soon added it renders the tablet very tough, and takes longer time to boil; and if too high boiled before it is added, the boiling still goes on although taken off the fire, and must be stopt by adding some cold water, otherwise it soon grows quite hard and spoils the tablet. 

Tablets are frequently coloured with lake, rosepink, gamboge, cochineal, &c. This practice may by some be thought to add to its beauty, but surely cannot to the taste. 

Common tablet is sometimes made of raw sugar. Four pounds raw sugar and as much water as will just wet it, add eight ounces starch; it requires much stirring, boil it till it grain; when taken off the fire stir it till pretty thick, then pour it out. It is usually flavoured with ginger. 


Drops are flavoured with oils, essences, or powders, according to taste; they ought to be made with fine sugar. If made with inferior sugar, they are generally coloured with lavender; if for lemon drops, with gamboge, &c. 

Peppermint Drops.

No. 1. Take of the scrapings which comes off the confection pan when making almonds, four pounds, four tea spoonfuls oil peppermint; mix it up with water into a thin paste, next day it will be ready for use. See page 15. It is cut into various shapes, such as hearts, half-moons, clubs, stars, diamonds, &c. then dried and confected. In place of the scrapings, pounded sugar, made into a stiff paste with strong gum water, or isinglass dissolved, will answer very well. 

Clear Drops.

No. 2. To every pound of sugar, pounded fine and sifted through a lawn sieve, take four drops weight of gum arabic, dissolved in water, make the sugar into a proper consistence to drop with the gum water. Have ready a large ox bladder, with a pipe, similar to the peppermint cutter, with three rings soldered upon it, which keeps the bladder from slipping when tied upon it. After flavouring the paste with any oil, essence, or powder, you incline, put it into the bladder and tye in the pipe tight; have a pan of water boiling on the fire, into which put the bladder, and after boiling it a short time take it out and wipe it with a dry cloth, then press out the paste at the pipe. You cut it off in drops, with a wire, or small knife, upon sheets of paper, or tin. When dry and hard, take them off and put them in a dry box well papered. Ginger and lemon drops, are often coloured with gamboge, cinnamon powder, rosepink, &c. 

Transparent Drops,

Are dropped from a copper ladle with a spout a very like those used by masons, &c. for melting lead, but deeper. A wire doubled up and fixed into a handle, is sometimes used to draw out the sugar into drops; but others, more expert, use a small round pin, and holding the ladle to the side on which the spout is, and keeping the spout full of sugar, take the small stick betwixt the finger and thumb, and by a dotting motion upon the edge of the spout make it fall very quick, in equal drops, on the tin sheets. They grow hard in a few minutes and easily come off, after which they are dried and put into boxes, like the other drops. They are favoured with oil of peppermint, cloves, cinnamon, essence of bergamot, lemon, &c. 

To make them. Take one pound treble refined sugar, pounded and sifted; put a little of it through a lawn sieve, which keep by itself, and put the rest into the ladle; then add a gill of water, and mix it well. Put it on a clear charcoal fire, and keep stirring it with a spattula until it has boiled a few minutes, when it is ready, and may be known by drawing the knife over the edge, when it will appear dry. Then mix in the sugar you kept out, which makes it free and clear; at the same time add the oil or essence, or whatever you flavour it with, and proceed to drop them upon tins; their beauty depends on that of the sugar. 

Light Drops,

Are generally made for the purpose of supplying country dealers, being dropped on paper, and sometimes sold upon the paper. Take two pounds refined sugar, pounded and sifted; but it is better to grate it down with a large lemon grater, as it does not break the body of the sugar, and makes them harden sooner. Dissolve four drops weight picked isinglass in water, let it be cold, then mix it with the sugar and add as much more water as will make it into a proper consistence for dropping through a small pipe, then cast it until very white and light. It is then put into the dropper and dropt upon half sheets of writing paper, and laid upon the floor of a room till dry, then hung over a rope in the workshop to harden; they easily strip off, but if, as it may sometimes happen, they adhere to the paper, and cannot be got off without tearing, fill a mug with boiling water, lay on the paper with the drops, and the steam will immediately loosen them. When stripped off put them in a sieve before the stove to dry. 

The Dropper

Is a box made of tin, nine inches in length, five inches in breadth, and six inches deep; immediately above the bottom, in the front, are nine small pipes, projecting an inch, through which the sugar is forced by means of an upright ladder, soldered to each end of a strong lid made to fit exactly to the sides of the box, and which is made to press upon the sugar in the box with the two thumbs. This is the quickest way of dropping. 

Chocolate Drops.

Take one pound chocolate and eight ounces sugar, both pounded, four table spoonfuls gum water, mix all together and drop them on paper. If you have not a warm plate, put a metal one upon the stove, and when it is hot take the paper and pass several times over it; it will make them flatten, then dust them with nonpareils, shake off the loose, from the paper and when cold take them off the paper and put them into a box. Or

Take one pound of chocolate, put it on a pewter plate, set it in the oven to warm, then put it into a small pan over the fire, with eight ounces of sugar pounded, mix all well together and form it into small pieces like marbles, which place on writing paper, and then proceed as directed above. 

Bergamot Drops.

To the juice of four lemons, add of finely pounded refined sugar as much as will make it into a proper consistence for dropping; beat it up, and put it into the pan, and after stirring it a few minutes upon the fire, add as much essence of bergamot as will give them a flavour; drop them on writing paper, and when cold take them off. 

Lemon Drops.

Take the juice of eight lemons, put it in a bason, and mix in as much finely sifted refined sugar as will make it so stiff and thick as hardly to be stirred, put it into the copper dropper and set it on the fire a few minutes, stirring it; then drop it as already directed, upon writing paper. 

Orange Drops.

Grate eight China oranges, then squeeze them in a bason, add the gratings and the juice of two lemons, mix it up very thick with fine sugar pounded, and proceed as above. 

Peppermint and violet drops are made the same way. 

Barley Sugar Drops.

Proceed as directed in making barley sugar. When boiled high enough, add the grate of lemons, and drop it in drops the size of a shilling upon the stone, when cold pack them up. If high boiled, they require to be dipped in pounded sugar before being put up. 

Barley Sugar

Was originally made with the water in which barley had been boiled until it had acquired a degree of smoothness, and with this water the sugar was wet and clarified. As the properties of the barley must have been but trifling, that process is not now followed. 

Barley Sugar, is clarified sugar boiled to the degree called crackled

Lemon Barley Sugar.

Put what quantity you have occasion for into a clean pan, leaving plenty of room for the sugar rising, which it often does to more than twice its bulk. Set it on a clear fire, when it boils up take it off, and let it settle; then carefully skim off every particle of the scum; put it on again, and if any more appears, take it off; for the scum which rests upon the side of the pan, candies, then falls down amongst the syrup, and spoils the whole. 

To eight pounds of sugar, put in the size of a large nut of spermaceti, which keeps it from rising up the pan. After it has boiled a while, add a table spoonful of vinegar, or a little lemon juice, which renders it tough and not so liable to grain. Eight or twelve pounds will take about half an hour to boil. Have ready a jug of cold water, and a piece of whisk, which dip first into the sugar, then into the water, to try when it is ready; when it snaps and is brittle, it is enough. Take it off the fire, and after the boiling goes off, pour it upon the stone. If you want it flavoured with lemon, pour as much essence as you think proper into the pan, after you take it off the fire. Or grate a lemon, let it dry before the stove while the boiling is going on, and when it is poured upon the stone, sprinkle the grate over it, and double it over; then proceed to clip it in long narrow pieces. Let an assistant take them and make them round and lay them upon another stone to cool. 

Spermaceti Barley Sugar

Is made in the same manner, only a sufficient quantity of spermaceti* is added when almost ready. The stone is three feet by two, about four inches thick, has a border round it of two inches, the rest of the surface is cut out about an inch deep. It is then oiled with best sallad oil, or well rubbed with spermaceti, and a little strewed upon it. 

Barley Sugar is an excellent remedy for colds, and much used

* Spermaceti is a waxy substance found in the head cavities of the sperm whale – beeswax was also used.

French Barley Sugar.

Proceed as above directed, as to boiling the syrup, only do not boil it so high. When ready and taken off the fire, add essence of lemons, or any other essence or oil to your taste; pour it on the stone, double it up, and as soon as you can handle it draw it out; double it up and draw it again until very white. It is then drawn out into long sticks, and when cool, cut it with a knife to any length you please. For Variety, divide it as soon as you can handle it; let an assistant take one half, and draw it as above described; to the other half add carmine, or lake, and by folding it up and drawing it well, it grows a beautiful a red. Both the pieces are then drawn out to an equal length and clapt together, then drawn water out into sticks, or twisted. This, when clipped into corner pieces, is called Paradise. 

Gibraltar Rock.

Take four pounds of raw sugar, the finer the sugar the whiter it will be if well drawn; put it into a pan with one pint (mutchkin) of water. When it boils take it off and skim it; boil it as directed for barley sugar (but not so high); when it is ready take it off the fire, add whatever you wish to flavour it with, and pour it on the stone; fold it up in a lump, if you want the half coloured divide it and let one go on with the half that is to be white; add to the other half rosepink, draw it until light, or porous; lay them both together, draw them out into small sticks, which must be broke into proper lengths, when cold, by breaking the surface with a knife, then it snaps over. It may be necessary to have your hands oiled, or else dipped in flour, to prevent it sticking to them. Where large quantities are made, they have a piece of iron, in shape like a reaper’s hook, fixed into the wall above their heads, over which they throw the sugar and draw it down, which makes it sooner done and much lighter. If not quickly done it soon grows so hard as not to work; when it at any time grows hard hold it over the fire till soft. 

London Candy,

Is treacle boiled up in the same way, and when in a state to be handled drawn out into sticks, then rolled up in paper flavoured with ginger, &c. 

Crisped, or Burnt Almonds,

Which are much esteemed, and used in deserts, are difficult to make. Take two pounds best Jordan almonds, pick them and rub the dust off; bruise four pounds good lump sugar, and putting it into a pan, add as much water as will wet it, keep stirring with a spaddil, or piece of thin board, until very high boiled, almost candy height; then put in the almonds, and continue gently stirring them about, when they will become dry, (let the fire be very moderate) after a little the sugar will again melt and adhere to the almonds, continue to turn them about till you see most of the sugar is upon the almonds; then take the pan off and still keep turning them till dry, making them roll from one side of the pan to the other. Put them in a sieve, and if there is any loose sugar sift it out; put it into the pan with a little water, and let it boil as before; put in the almonds again, and they will soon take it up; turn them gently about, and after taking them off the fire separate any that are sticking together; when cold put them up in a bag. 

Red and White Almonds, or Prawlongs.

These are made much in the same way as the burnt almonds; being inferior, they are made of Valentia almonds, cut in two, or Faro almonds; the sugar is not burnt, and they have two, or sometimes three coats of sugar put on them, until very thick. Take three pounds of sugar bruised, put it into a pan with as much water as will wet the sugar, let it boil till the candy, or blown degree; then put in two pounds almonds, turning them till they are dry, after which turn them out and pick them asunder, then sift out the loose sugar, which put into the into the pan with more sugar, and boil as before; throw the almonds in again and stir them gently till dry; throw them out and proceed until you have got them of the size you want. 

To colour them. – Take cochineal and extract the tincture by boiling it in a little water, or take lake or carmine, rosepink, indigo, gamboge, &c. and pound it in a mortar with a little water, or syrup; the colour is added at the last coating you give them, but observe that it thoroughly wet the whole, otherwise they will be clouded. If the colour is not deep enough they must get another coat, only not boiled so high. They may be made with syrup equally well. 

Orange and Lemon Prawlongs.

Take oranges or lemons, strip off the skins in quarters, and pare off most of the white inside with a sharp knife; cut them into narrow stripes about an inch long (some are cut in rings) and boil as much syrup as you think will cover them, to candy, or blown degree; put in the prawlongs, turn them gently about with a broad flat stick with holes cut into the end of it, and candy them as directed in almond prawlongs. They are also coloured the same way. 

Pistachio Prawlongs,

Are made with pistachio nut kernels, in the same manner as directed for making red and white almonds, and if required, coloured in the same way. 

Filbert Prawlongs,

Are done in the same manner. 

Orange Flower Prawlongs.

Take as much syrup as you wish to put on the flowers; separate the orange flower leaves from each other, and dry them; having boiled up the syrup, in pan of proper size, to the blown degree, stir in the flowers and continue stirring them till dry, then take them off the fire, turning them gently and breaking all the large pieces; put them into a sieve and sift out all the sugar; put them into a box, which keep in a dry place. 


Lemon Sugar Wafers,

Are made like the icing for a cake, only thicker. Take lemon juice and refined sugar finely pounded and sifted, and the white of one egg, to the juice of four lemons, and beat it up very light; then take several sheets of wafer paper and lay them on tin or pewter sheets; take a spoonful of the icing and spread it equally over the wafer sheet with a spattula, then cut them into small squares, about eight or ten in a sheet. Have a number of small wooden rods placed in the hot stove; lay them across the rods, with the iced side uppermost, and they will soon curl round the rods; when half curled, take them carefully off and put them up end ways into a sieve, so as to stand upright; place them into the hot stove for a day, when you will find them all well curled. 

Barberry Sugar Wafers,

Are done in the same way as the lemon. Or, After making half the quantity as directed above, mix into the other half of the icing, or paste, a little extract of cochineal to make it a pink colour, and if too thin add more sugar to bring it to a proper consistence, and proceed as already directed above. 

Bergamot, Peppermint, and Violet Sugar Wafers,

Are made in the same manner as directed in making the lemon wafers, and then flavoured with bergamot, peppermint, or essence of violets, to your taste. They are sometimes coloured, violet a blue, lemon a yellow, lavender, &c. 

Orange Sugar Wafers.

Take half a dozen China oranges, grate them, cut them in two, and squeeze them into a bason, add the juice of three lemons, and the orange grate, then add fine sugar finely pounded and sifted, and proceed as directed in making lemon wafers. 

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