Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jelly Candy

I decided this last weekend that I wanted to make home-made gumdrops. I scoured the internet searching for recipes, site after site I searched. The few I came across all had so-so or worse reviews. The candy never set up, it wasn't sweet enough, etc. Never one to just let it be, I decided to come up with my own recipe.

I started out with a Raspberry flavor since Raspberry always tastes good and the color is perfect for a Christmas candy. I added unflavored gelatin one packet at a time and after each addition I thought "well that can't be enough", so I added another. I put the dish in the refrigerator and waited. I figured it would take 6 or more hours for it to fully set and began waiting patiently. After a mere 3 hours I decided to check on their progress and lo and behold it was completely ready to go! I took it out and began cutting it into squares and rectangles, playing with the shapes and sizes of each piece. After tasting one oddly cut wedge I was in love! The interior of each piece was silky smooth and had just the right amount of give to each bite to be pleasing to the palate and the raspberry flavor was a knockout. I quickly realized though that these weren't the gummy, sticky gumdrops I was so anxious to try but they were better. I figured I could call them "not quite firm enough gumdrops" or "really good jelly candy". Guess what I picked?

I liked the confection so much I decided to try my luck again and make a second batch, this time lime flavored, just to make sure the end result wasn't a fluke. This second batch turned out even better than the first, due in part to the use of a whisk. The red raspberry and green lime candies look so festive in their little tin and taste even better! I'm going to play around with a few more flavors this week and bring a big, multi-colored mix to Christmas Eve this year and probably for years to come.

This candy will travel and store well so they would make great gifts to give to friends, neighbors or teachers when tucked in a tin with a piece of parchment or even in a pretty glass jar with a ribbon tied around it. Have fun with flavors, colors and shapes and make them your own. This isn't "stick to your teeth" kind of candy, it's much smoother so there is no need to worry about those with braces, crowns or other dental issues.

If you've never made candy what?! These are soo easy to make! No candy thermometer needed. You will need a full day to let them set up properly but as far as actually cooking them, they're a breeze. The best tip I can give you is to use a whisk when adding the gelatin and don't be afraid of some clumps at first. As long as you continue to whisk at a brisk pace and bring the final mixture to a full boil for 3 minutes, the lumps should dissolve.

Jelly Candy

1 1/3 cup applesauce
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3oz box flavored Jello/gelatin (your favorite)
4 packets unflavored gelatin
Additional sugar for dredging

In a medium saucepan bring applesauce to a boil over medium heat and stir in sugar. Return to a boil for 2 full minutes and whisk in flavored jello and unflavored gelatin, 1 packet at a time. Make sure each packet is blended in before adding the next. Bring back to a full boil for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8x8or a 9x9 baking dish. Let sit on counter and cool for 5 minutes then refrigerate for 4 hours.

Once set, remove candy from pan by gently peeling it back from one corner and running a clean finger or knife around edges. Place on a flat surface that has been dusted in granulated sugar. Cut into small squares (or whatever shape you want, but try to keep them bite sized), dipping your knife periodically in warm water helps make cutting smoother.
Once cut, dredge each square in granulated sugar until all sides are covered. This not only improves the taste and look of the candy but also prevents them from sticking to anything they touch. Arrange cut and sugared candy so they are not touching one another on a baking sheet or large plate and allow to sit out in open air for 24 hours to fully set. After 24 hours store in a covered container.


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