Easy Peasy Gumdrops

Making homemade candy isn't always cheaper than buying the store bought, but in my case, it's a lot more fulfilling and safer.  because I'm allergic to one specific shade of red-Red Dye 40.  Which, you know, happens to be the one in most US candies currently.  A lot of companies are phasing it out, but until they do so I have to be a bit picky about my candy.

My friend is saddened by this natural food movement because it means more things are coming out Red Dye 40 free, which means she no longer gets to eat my reds and pinks (and purples and oranges and sometimes even blues).

This year I stumbled across a while bunch of gumdrop recipes, before settling on Betty Crocker's Homemade Gumdrop recipe, which seems to be the base for most not including actual Jello with flavors and such already in it (another unsafe food).

This yields a slightly softer gumdrop than store bought, and I don't plan to keep them more than 2 weeks.  Because why would you?

I've broken each into chunks to make it easier to see what goes with what. The Crocker recipe isn't as clear, and I head to read about 5 more before I had a really good idea of what I needed to do.

Gelatin Mixture
3 packets knox, unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

Simple Syrup
3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar

Flavor and Color
1/8-1/2 tsp. flavor
6-10 drops food color
  1. Coat an 8x8 square with nonstick spray.  Rub in to apply evenly. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle knox over 1/2 cup cold, cold water.  Let stand and set aside.
  3. In small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water and the sugar for a simple syrup.
  4. Bring simple syrup to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer for exactly 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Scrape gelatin mixture in a bit at a time, carefully so as not to splash self with boiled sugar.  Stir in in between.
  8. Once gelatin mixture dissolved, remove any white floaters you see.
  9. Add color.
  10. Add flavor 1/8 tsp. at a time.  Dip tip of clean spoon in to taste test until flavor strength achieved. If using candy flavoring, will take very little. Normal flavoring anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. generally. I use a bit more than average because unflavored gelatin can have a pretty strong flavor.
  11. Pour into 8x8, and refrigerate overnight (8+ hours).
  12. Cover your work space with granulated sugar.
  13. Use a butter knife to release the gel carefully. I work around the edges and then carefully peel up like removing a sticker, using the knife like I would a finger nail.
  14. Flip out on sugar surface.
  15. Will be a bit sticky, but use a chefs knife to cut into ropes about 1 index finger wide.
  16. Roll through sugar to coat cut sides as you go.
  17. After cut into ropes, fill a cereal bowl halfway with granulated sugar.
  18. Use kitchen shears to snip off pieces of gel into sugar.  Coat thoroughly.
  19. Place on rack to dry for 48 hours. They will develop a crunchy sugar coating.
  20. Store in airtight container.
You can use juice instead of water, just not mango, pineapple, kiwi, fig, ginger root, guava, or papaya unless canned AND pasteurized. Juice with those fruits in it will cause the gelatin to not set. They contain a protein gobbling enzyme. For more on that, I recommend THIS episode of Good Eats.