Friday, July 8, 2011

Homemade Gummy Candies

I'm so glad I never have to search the planet for gummy worms again!  I don't let my kids have artificial colors, since they have behavior issues after eating them, but I don't like denying them the simple pleasures of childhood, like gummy candies.  Even when I can find them, the "natural" ones are so expensive!

In this case, it was actually my creative impulses that made me quest for gummy worms--I wanted to make a dirt cake for my youngest son's birthday party this coming Sunday and a dirt cake just isn't complete without worms!  I thought this would be especially appropriate considering how much he likes to stick his hands in the dirt and gets so thrilled when I find him a "friend" to play with for a bit.
white grape & cran-grape flavored gummy "worms"
These first gummy "worms" aren't that cute, since I didn't want to invest in candy molds (assuming I can even find a nice one for making gummy worms) until I was sure I had a recipe that worked.  I didn't want a recipe that contained corn syrup or artificial colors so that eliminated every recipe I found online.  Fortunately, I was able to make my own recipe from the bits and pieces I found of other recipes that would work.

When I first popped these suckers from the mold last night, they felt a little like Jell-O jigglers, but the longer they sit out, the more tough and truly gummy they've gotten.  When they were first out of the mold, they were a bit sticky too, so I tried coating some of them with powdered sugar, which seemed to work for a while, but then they turned into even more of a gooey mess, while the ones that I left alone lost a lot of their stickiness over time on their own.  I was thrilled with the texture after a couple hours when I found some of them that I'd given to the kids by stepping on them--on carpet...and then on hard floor.  In both cases, they didn't splat or get mashed into the carpet.  They felt icky under my foot, but when I picked them up, they were still in the original shape!  So, having run these "tests", I feel confident enough to share the recipe (even though I don't know how long they'll keep, but, then again, they probably will never last that long anyway!) and maybe even buy some real worm molds before the party!

Gummy Candies

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
pinch cream of tartar
tiny (1/4 pinch?) bit of salt
1/2 cup unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
1 1/3 cup fruit juice or juice cocktail
3/4 cup sugar

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce to simmer and cover for 3 minutes.  Remove cover and continue heating, stirring frequently until the mixture reaches about 235-240 degrees.  Set aside.

Prepare the mold or a 8x8 dish by wetting it down lightly.  Mix gelatin into 1/2 cup water and set aside.  Add fruit juice and sugar to previous sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved.  Add gelatin mixture.  Continue heating and stirring until gelatin has completely dissolved.  Pour into prepared mold.

Let stand for 5-6 hours at room temperature.  Remove from mold and cut to desired shapes if necessary.  Let stand on a cutting sheet another hour or two to finish setting.


  1. I was hoping this was going to be a veggie recipe! If only.

  2. Sorry! I have no idea what one would use to make veggie gummies.

  3. We can buy vegetarian jelly babies, also little pink pigs made of clearly labelled pork gelatine.

  4. oh yummy! And a fun thing for kids to try making too.

  5. This does involve extremely hot liquids, so I'd be super cautious about letting kids help. Just a quick word of caution there.

  6. veggie gummie=instead of fruit juice use veggie juice....V8 gummies could be interesting. Or celery juice. It would be awesome to make a bloody mary with in a martini glass, lol.

    You might try using a combination of powdered sugar and corn starch to coat them. I was just reading a marshmallow recipe and the pure sugar got sticky but the mix worked well. The corn starch presumably absorbs the moisture without getting too sticky.

    You'll have to share if you find worm molds for making these.

  7. I've read online you can use a layer of straw in a shallow pan and let them fill with the mixture and when it cools you can push out the worms. Im not sure if there is enough gelatin in this recipe to be strong enough but it might be worth trying.