Many of you asked for the recipe to my homemade gumdrops and so I am happy to post that here.
I will preface this with a bit of a warning. Making these is kind of a pain in the balls and the odds of failure and disaster are pretty good. This is not to say that you should not try them, what it says is that you should buy more materials than you are planning to need so that you will have enough in the end. Each time I make these I shoot for four batches and I usually get two or three to survive.
Yesterday I attempted to make four batches. I was going for Orange, Coconut, Peppermint, and Raspberry. I have not done these in a long, long time so of course my first batch, the Orange, turned into a carmelized brick of failure. I had to dump water in the pot and boil it just to get out the candy corpse. The Coconut ones came out really good. The Peppermint ones came out textbook perfect…they were beautiful. Something went amiss in the Raspberry batch, they tasted awesome but were too gooey to really hold a square shape and kind of melted into Raspberry blob overnight. Still edible though, just not awesome looking. So yesterday had a success ratio of about 60%. Unless you have a lot of candy making experience, I would prep yourself for similar results. (I usually do better…for the record).
This is what you need to have on hand for each batch you want to make:
1 (1 3/4 oz.) pkg. powdered fruit pectin
3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
2 tsp. extract of the flavor of your choice
Sugar for coating
8x8x2 inch cake pan.
1 medium and 1 large sauce pan.
O.K. Here we go boys and girls. In the medium sauce pan, combine the baking soda, the package of fruit pectin, and the water. This is going to foam up like it has rabies. This is normal and O.K.
In the large saucepan, combine the sugar and the corn syrup. Stir this until you get cloudy paste.
This is ready for heat
Turn the heat under the pectin-soda mixture onto high. Boil this, stirring often, until the large foam dissipates and you have a milder looking concoction. Turn the heat down to simmer at this point.
This is where things are going to start to move briskly, and this is also where it can go sideways on you fast if you are not careful. Bring the heat up to high under the suger-syrup mixture and stir it like crazy. When you see the first couple of bubbles indicating that the sugar is going to boil, turn the heat up on the baking soda mixture from simmer to another level higher (like from 2 to 3). Keep stirring the sugar until it is at a rapid boil. Do not let this boil for very long…if it starts to turn from clear to brown you have screwed the pooch and will need to start over. Once it has boiled for a little bit (like 15 seconds) pour the soda mixture into it. Stir, stir, stir for about 40-45 seconds. Watch it closely…again if it starts to change color remove from heat immediately and you might save it.
The next step must be performed quickly, but be careful that you do not try to do it so fast that you dump the boiling candy onto your pelvis. It would be like getting a crotch full of napalm.
Now that you have let the combined mixtures boil for the 40 seconds or so, take it off the burner. Add 2 tsp of the flavor of your choice and six drops of food coloring. Stir it in really good and then pour this into your cake pan. If you do this too quickly and do not boil the mixtures together long enough your candy will be way to sticky to hold shape (like my Raspberry ones) and you will end up with a tasty gummy blob (still eat it…it is good). If you do it too slowly, you will have a hard time pouring this into the cake pan and the candy will not be smooth and the same thickness, though this is a better problem to have and the gumdrops will still be fine.
Set the cake pan off to the side for about 4 to 5 hours.
Now you will wait…and wait…and wait
I would clean your pots right away, before making another batch. To do so easily, fill the pans halfway up with water and boil it. When the water is at a full boil, pour it out and scrub with your cleaning pad. If you have utensils with gummy stuff on them, dip them in the boiling water before pouring it out to easily clean.
AFTER THEY SET:
O.K. You have made the candy and it has set out at room temp for 4 or 5 hours. Now what?
Pour a bunch of sugar onto a plate or into another pan. Take a glass and fill it with hot tap water. Take a knife, dip it in the glass of hot water and then cut a line down the large pan of candy. Dip the knife in the water before each cut, and continue until you have cut the candy into a grid of squares roughly a square inch each. Did the knife go smoothly through? If so, good job you made a great batch of gumdrops. Did it catch and try to drag the candy with it? If so, stop and let the candy set up for another hour or so and try again. If you get the same result than you have made tasty gummy goo. This is not a complete disaster, and they will still taste good. Cut them up the best you can.
The best method…
Take the squares out one at a time and roll them in the plate of sugar. Keep doing this until you can pick up the gumdrop without it being sticky. Set it on another plate.
When you have finished the whole batch, I like to get one more plate out and re-roll them a final time. This is just to make sure that they will not stick to each other and will be easy to stack and serve.
Repeat the process for all the flavors that you have made. Cover the plate with tin foil or plastic wrap and store at room temp. I do not know how long they keep because these things never last more than a few days before everyone eats them up.
Enjoy, and have fun making them. Do not get discouraged if the first batch implodes. In fact, I would just plan on your first batch being a learning time. Once you see the sugar-syrup mixture go south and carmalize before your eyes you will know the warning signs to watch for. After a couple of batches you will have it figured out. Just buy more materials than you need and have a good time learning.