I believe many of you are very familiar with these little cutie chewy and gummy sweets, namely gumdrops, and how wonderful they taste. Many of you may have also passed by some tutorials on how to make gumdrops at home just as I did before. However, while I did know quite many homemade gumdrop recipes, I was hesitant to try them for a long time. The main reason was that I did not really believe it would be possible to replicate the famous Haribo gummy bears at home only with gelatin, sugar and water.
Only recently, when I had gelatin piling up in my kitchen, I finally decided to give it a shot. What a big, pleasant surprise! My gumdrops were fairly on par with Haribo gummy bears in terms of chewiness as well as tastiness. Besides this humbly acknowledged success, making gumdrops at home is just a lot, I mean, a LOT of fun. I was able to let my creativity run wild and produce gummy candies of any flavors I possibly could, from classic flavors like fruits, mint, or coffee, to more “oddball” ones such as liquors, cotton candy, or red velvet cake.
To be frank, homemade gummy candies aren’t much cheaper than buying them from the store, because gelatin is quite costly anywhere. What I love about producing them at home though, besides the vast range of flavors, is that I can make them from fruit juice extracts. Homemade gumdrops, therefore, at least contain a certain amount of vitamins, which is certainly better than store-bought packs of empty carbohydrates. Some people even make them with diet sugars, like Stevia. I haven’t attempted that yet, but if you can make gumdrops at home from healthier ingredients, then that’s definitely a win over industrial confectionery.
GUMDROP/ GUMMY CANDY RECIPE
This recipe is for 16 – 20 candies. You may double, triple or multiply the amounts of ingredients if you want to have more.
- 25 gram gelatin (powder or sheets/ leaves)
- 70 ml (1/4 cup + 2 tsp) water at room temperature – to soak and soften gelatin
- 110 gram caster sugar (1/2 cup)
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) hot water – to make sugar syrup
- 5 ~ 10 ml lemon juice (1 ~ 2 tsp) – optional
- Other food flavors and colorings – see Notes below
- Candy molds: Feel free to use anything at hands: cake pan, chocolate molds, ice cube molds and trays, food storage box, etc.; silicon molds make it easier to remove the candies.
Homemade Gumdrops with different flavors: strawberry (red), orange (bright yellow), passion fruit (orange), lavender (purple), vanilla (blue), mint (green), coffee (dark brown)
Making gumdrops is very simple and easy, but please do read these following notes before we start:
– What is gelatin? Is it safe? Gelatin is collagen derived from pork skin and actually harmless. Thus eating gelatin does no harm to your health, since it’s more or less similar to eating pork skin (but make sure to use gelatin of good quality and origin). In some references, gelatin is considered a nutritious food in several diet plans and it’s especially good for skin and joints. It is safe for an adult to eat 20 – 30 gram of gelatin per day. So unless you eat these gummy candies for food at every meal, there will be nothing to worry about. Notes: ALWAYS soak gelatin in cold water until softened before melting it in hot water.
– Can gelatin be substituted by agar powder? The answer is No. Firstly, I have tried using agar powder for this recipe and it didn’t work. Secondly, the final products using agar powder are hard and crunchy, while those using gelatin have a firm and chewy texture. Thus, you may risk failing to make the firm and gummy texture of the candies if you use agar powder instead of gelatin.
– If you prefer making gumdrops with fruit flavors, feel free to substitute the hot water part with fruit juice.
– Lemon juice is optional for this recipe, since it’s just to add a little sour taste to the candies (which I prefer). Don’t use lime juice, for it may have a bitter taste.
– Food flavorings are not necessary if you use fruit juices. If you don’t, then add those flavorings of your preference or at least vanilla extract to enhance the candies’ taste. It also helps weaken the strong taste produced by using quite a lot of gelatin.
– The firm texture of gumdrops may vary from changing the proportion of gelatin over water: the more gelatin is added to the same amount of water, the firmer and harder the candies will be. If you find the gumdrops a bit too hard, you may want to boil the sugar syrup for a shorter time, decrease the amount of gelatin or increase the amount of water.
– Gumdrops harden in the refrigerator but they get softer after being brought to room temperature (20°C/ 68°F). The temperature range from 20°C to 23°C (68 to 73 °F) is perfect for keeping the candies from melting. I’m not quite sure whether they can keep their shapes at higher temperature. Gumdrops with sugar coating can stay longer than those without.
Detailed step-by-step instructions and notes can be found in the video in Savoury Days’ YouTube channel (don’t forget to sign up and subscribe to receive the latest notifications as soon as our videos come out). You can watch below or at this link.
Don’t forget to select HD to view the video with the best definition and quality
MAKING GUMDROPS IN STEPS
1. Add gelatin to a bowl of water. Gelatin sheets can be cut into pieces for faster water absorption. If gelatin powder is used, stir well until dissolved into the water. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes until gelatin softens.
2. At the same time, add sugar, hot water and/or fruit juice (fruit juice doesn’t need to be heated in advance) to a saucepan. Bring them to a boil at high heat while stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Then let the syrup simmer at low heat for 10 – 15 minutes. There’s no fixed simmering time for the syrup, for it is determined by how firm you expect the candies to be (See Notes above). If you’re not sure as this is the first time you make gumdrops, don’t worry, the thickness of sugar syrup is also a good indication: the thicker the syrup, the firmer and harder the candies.
3. Add softened gelatin (after 15 minutes soaking in water) to the syrup pan together with the soaking water. Stir well until gelatin dissolves into the sugar syrup. Simmer the mixture for 2 – 3 minutes more before turning off the heat. If it is cold, let the saucepan stay there to keep it warm, since the candy mixture quickly thickens at low temperature.
4. Pour the mixture into the molds, let it cool down, and then keep it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours until completely cool and firm.
5. Remove the gumdrops. They’re quite sticky so it’s recommended to dip a sharp knife into hot water and then run it around the sides of the molds to remove the candies.
6. Cut the gumdrops into small pieces, then roll onto granulated sugar (optional). Make sure the candies are dry enough; otherwise, sugar lumps will form. Let the gumdrops stay on a rack at a cool place until the sugar dries and sticks to the candies to form coatings (about 1 – 2 days). Note: It’s better to dry the gumdrops on a rack rather than a plate, for they easily melt when coming into contact with the plate.
7. Keep the gumdrops in an airtight bag or jar at a cool place; those with sugar can stay for several weeks.
- Recipe & Photos: Linh Trang
- Written by: Xuan Tran
- Edited by: Holly Le