Adventures in Candy-Making

When I first set out on this real food journey, I knew some changes were going to be harder than others. And let me be perfectly clear – we by no means eat 100% clean, real food – but I try to buy and cook food that is “real” as often as possible. But no more store-bought ranch dressing? No more sour Starburst jellybeans? No more bakery cookies or pizza delivery? Not everything changes at once, and the reality of life and the world is that sometimes, you just want to eat some M&Ms.

Jeff has been a good sport through all this. I think he thinks I’m a little nuts sometimes, but I’ve tried to make this a bit of a foodie adventure and a challenge to myself, too. Why can’t I make bagels at home? Or ranch dressing? Or sour gummy candies? Jeff has a weakness for all things gummy. Gummy bears, gummy worms, Swedish fish, you name it. So I thought I would try to challenge myself to make gummy candy at home, especially after stumbling across this recipe on Pinterest. I knew I had to give it a go.

Sour Gummies
(recipe shared from mommypotamus)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons grassfed gelatin (I use Great Lakes)
  • 1/3 cup lemon/lime juice (you can also use water and just add extra lemon or orange oil)
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • Optional – A few drops of lemon extract or food grade lemon/orange oil. Makes the flavor much better/stronger.
  • Optional – Non-toxic, vegetable-based food coloring

Instructions:

  1. Whisk lemon/lime juice, honey and gelatin in a sauce pan until there are no lumps.
  2. Heat over low heat until it’s nice and melty, stirring constantly.
  3. Add food coloring and/or extract if desired – you’re almost done now!
  4. Grab an ice cube tray or silicone mold. You can use a basic pan, too, and then just cut into squares or use a cookie cutter after it’s set.
  5. Pour in the mixture, then pop in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up. Once they’re out of the freezer they will stay firm at room temperature.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

This recipe was pretty simple. I used lemons, raw honey, and grass-fed gelatin. I had some colored food dye in my pantry (I know, I know – the dreaded red dye #40. Fear not – it’s since been tossed from the cupboard), so I grabbed what looked to be a purplish-magenta color and tossed in a few drops. I then took plastic ice cube trays and poured in the warm liquid (I don’t have any molds, but these molds are on my wish list).

Oh my. The result were gummies that looked like bites of Pepto Bismol. And SUPER rubbery bites for that matter. They were inedible. Seriously. You would try to bite down on one and it would squirm to the other side of your mouth. Yuck.

I hated the idea of wasting all that expensive grass-fed gelatin. And then it occurred to me – why not try melting them back down and adding more juice? Clearly there was too much gelatin in the batch (I still can’t figure out why my gummies were so off after following the directions on MommyPotamus but…)

So I pulled them out of the ice cube trays (super easy to do!) and I melted them back down on the stovetop, added more juice, and put them back in the trays in the freezer. Ah-ha! This time, the gummies were half Pepto Bismol-colored and half shiny transluscent purple (Jeff still asks why I chose the purple food coloring: “lemon flavored candy should be yellow!”). So back into the pot they went, more lemon juice was added, and then back into the trays and the freezer. And this time – much better success. Here is the result of the 3rd Time’s The Charm Sour Gummies.

sour gummy candyYou can still tell that there’s a little Pepto Bismol color on the bottom, so perhaps even more juice is the way to go. I’m thinking next time around, I’ll just reduce the amount of gelatin from the get-go. Also, I thought they definitely needed more flavoring and would suggest adding orange oil or some other oil essence as recommended in the recipe as “optional”. And perhaps a little more sweetness. The change from processed sugars to natural sugars can sometimes take some time to adjust to, but stick with it!

So what did Jeff think? He actually thought they were pretty ok overall, but they’re not going to supercede Haribo anytime soon…

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One thought on “Adventures in Candy-Making

  1. Pingback: Homemade Gummy Fruit Snacks | Roudabush Real Food Revolution

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