Making candy can be scary. I know it’s scary. I’ve tried making candy so many times and have been so unsuccessful that I’ve thought about giving up on the whole process, until I discovered the wonder that is gummy squares. These little homemade candies brought meaning back in my life, in that I really can make candy! If you have never made candy and you want a starter recipe, this one is for you. They are sweet and scrumptious and easier than any Christmas “cookie” recipe I’ve ever made. You do need to be precise in following the directions on this one though!
I don’t LOVE gumdrops, or at least I don’t like the pre-made, in the bag at the grocery store type of gumdrop. It’s not one of those candies that I actually sought out. This recipe is different though. I decided to make them a little on the softer side, so they don’t get stuck in your teeth which is really the worst part about eating a gumdrop. They are not SO soft though that they become jello squares.
These candies are light and airy and covered in sugar. They have completely changed my perspective on the gumdrop as a whole. So if you are usually not a huge fan, give this recipe a try. I think it will change your mind.
I know gumdrops are not cookies, but since I’ve made so many “sweet” little desserts in my 20 Days of Christmas Cookies, I wanted to make something a little more on the tart side. Candy goes so well with cookies, so why not!? The sky is the limit on these candies. You of course do not have to follow the exact flavor/color combinations that I used. I went with orange extract for orange, strawberry extract for pink, raspberry extract for blue, citron extract for green, and coconut extract for white. See what you can find at the grocery store and go from there. Whole Foods has an amazing array of extracts although they can get a bit pricy. You can get anything from blueberry to chocolate. So really be creative! Just make sure the colors somewhat match the flavors, or you will have your guests really confused.
You want to follow this recipe exactly. The only thing you could go ahead and change if you like is the amount of water you boil to dissolve the sugar. I wanted my gumdrops to be a little bit softer, so I used a touch my water and made my simple syrup thinner, but if you want a harder gumdrop go ahead and decrease the amount of water by a couple of tablespoons. That is totally up to you.
I would like to mention, that if this is your first time making candy, you don’t have 4-5 burners available on your stove, or you are a horrible multitasker; then I suggest making these one at a time. They all need quite a bit of time to chill in the fridge, so it really doesn’t matter if you can’t get them all done at once. This is how I wrote up the recipe. I however did two batches at a time because that’s all my mind can handle at one time =).
*Please Note* Again, it does not take over 12-15 hours to prep these, but there is 12-15 hours of inactive time. So if you want them sooner rather than later, then it’s a no go. They must be made a day in advance. I left them in the fridge overnight. Also, you want these little guys to chill after you cut them and coat them in sugar. They are easy, but it’s a waiting game.
I almost thought I was going to come out of this recipe alive. Almost. Unfortunately, I forgot to spray one of my foil lined containers before I poured in my strawberry mixture. The others I remembered, but the strawberry was a disaster when I tried to flip them out of the container the next day. It took me about a 1/2 hour and help from Zach to get all of the little pieces of foil off of the bottom of the mold. PLEASE do NOT forget to spray! Please please please!
This is a fun one, so enjoy!
- Nonstick Spray
- 1 2/3 cups cold water + 2 1/2 cups of water (for boiling later)
- 10 packs of unflavored gelatin (I like Knox)
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
- 1/2 teaspoon citron extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 6 drops or orange food coloring (3 red + 3 yellow = orange)
- 6 drops of pink or red food coloring
- 6 drops of blue food coloring
- 6 drops of green food coloring
- 6 drops of white food coloring (yes they make white)
- granulated sugar for tossing
- In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup of cold water and 2 packs of gelatin. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat combine 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water. Stir until dissolved and bring to a boil. Then let simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until your mixture is nice and syrupy. Remove from heat and add the gelatin, the orange extract, and the orange food coloring (red and yellow). Stir until the gelatin has dissolved, then pour the mixture into a 4x4 dish lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with a non stick spray. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Repeat this step for each of the other flavors. You will have 5 total. Strawberry with pink or red food coloring. Raspberry with the blue. Citron with the green. Coconut with the white.
- Once your candies have chilled for at least 12 hours, remove from the fridge and roll the "bricks" out onto a liberally sugar-dusted surface. Sprinkle the top with more sugar, and then begin cutting your squares. Try to stay as even as possible in cutting 1/2 inch squares. In a bowl combine more sugar and the candies and toss until completely smoothered in sugar. At this point, refrigerate the candies for another 2-3 hours in the bowl of sugar.
- Once your candies have chilled AGAIN, remove from fridge and remove any excess sugar with a colander.
- Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until you are ready to serve. They will keep for a couple of weeks.
Hardware: * 5 Small Bowls * Wooden Spoons * Heavy Bottomed Saucepans * Measuring Spoons * 4x4 Containers * Aluminum Foil * Non-Stick Spray * Sharp Knife * Larger Bowls * Colander * Airtight Container *