Baronial 12th Night - To Make Muscadines, Commonly called Kissing Comfits

To Make Muscadines, Commonly called Kissing Comfits, Delightfull daily exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, 1621 - Take halfe a pound of double refined Sugar beaten and cearsed [sieved], put into the beating thereof, two graines of Muske, 3 grains of ambergreese, & a dram of orris powder: beat all these together with gum Dragogon steeped in damaske-rose-water, in an aliblaster [marble] mortar to a perfect paste, then slicke a sheete of white paper, slicked with a slick-stone very smooth, and rowle your sugar pate upon it, then cut it like lozenges with a rowel, & so dry them upon a stone, and when they bee dry they will serve to garnish a marchpaine, or other dishes, tarts, custards, or whatsoever else, if you will have any red you must mingle it with Rosa Paris, if blew, with blew bottles growing in the corne.

Kissing Comfits

3 tablespoons rose water
1 teaspoon gum arabic powder
3 eyedropper drops essence of ambergris
2 eyedropper drops essence of musk
4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon powered orris root
2 drops yellow food color (optional)
2 drops blue food color (optional)

Pour rose water into a saucer, add gum arabic and stir until the gum is dissolved. Add the ambergris and musk, set aside until needed. Sift two cups of the sugar and the orris root into a bowl, Add the gum arabic mixture, a tablespoonful at a time and work into the sugar until the paste is smooth.

For white pastilles, sprinkle the third cup of sugar on a large plate and, with your fingers, work the paste into the sugar until it is smooth. For colored pastilles, divide the white paste into two equal parts, add a drop of food color to each part. Blend in each of the colors and set one aside covered (they dry out very quickly) while you work with the other.

Sprinkle half the remanning sugar on a clean plate and work in until smooth. Pat the paste into a square and cover it with a piece of wax paper. Roll it out gently to a sheet about 3/8 inch thick. Mark and cut off small squares, triangles and rectangles with a knife. Sprinkle a cookie sheet with the remanning sugar and place the pastilles on it about an inch apart.

When the pastilles have hardened, loosen them gently with a spatula (they break easily) and store them in an airtight container. You should be able to get about four dozen pastilles from this recipe. They will keep for six to eight weeks.-- "Dining with William Shakespeare" by Madge Lorwin