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Easy Gumdrops: Not Just For the Holidays!

Updated on February 13, 2018
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Vegetarian recipes, healthy foods, kitchen tips and shortcuts interest Liz, but she also likes desserts!

Orange Gumdrops

Delicious gumdrops ready to serve
Delicious gumdrops ready to serve

Easy, Easy, Easy and Delicious Holiday Gumdrops

So, you got all your holiday shopping done, and, "Uh-oh!" Forgot someone? Well, don't panic. No need to brave last-minute crowds. You can concoct a tasty treat right in your own kitchen, and it will be gratefully received and eagerly devoured. This is not the old standby fruit cake at which everyone scoffs, or the slightly-trite cranberry bread.

This is not purchased pre-gift-wrapped chocolates in a box--it's a whole new thing that I'll bet almost no one on your gift list has gotten before. Besides, in a tough economy, home-made gifts are truly from the heart, and much more appreciated.

There are very few ingredients, and only one part is a bit "fussy," but it mainly involves a 'constant stirring' on the stove bit.

I've included a video of the entire process, so you can see how really easy it is. True, it is a bit time-consuming, but only in stages. The actual cooking part is quick. You can do something else while waiting for the gumdrops to set up, and that takes a good 3 hours or so. Longer won't hurt them.

Do you think you will try this recipe?

4 stars from 1 rating of Easy Gumdrops

Family-Friendly Fun

The whole family can get involved in making these treats. While it is best if a single person is doing the cooking part, and this should be an adult, or an older teen, the fun comes at the end when they are being readied for packing.

This is candy, and it does involve a lot of sugar, which is why I only make them as holiday treats...and I give most of it away..to lessen the temptation on my end!

This is one of those recipes that takes longer to explain than it does to do, so please don't be scared off by the apparent lengthy directions. It sounds complicated and intimidating, but really, it's easy. I was only "scared" the first time I tried it...after that, I practically had it memorized, and regularly made at least four flavors for gifts each year.

Each batch yields about 1 pound of candy.

Very Important Note:

This recipe cannot be cut in half! I tried it once: you get brick-hard candy, instead of soft gumdrops.

(After that experience, I did not attempt doubling the recipe, either.)

This process is continuous, and once begun, cannot be stopped or interrupted, until after the candy is poured into the pan. So be sure you have set aside a time when you know you won't be interrupted by family members. If the phone rings, let the voice mail pick it up. I'm serious: you cannot stop once you begin!

Therefore, have everything ready ahead of time; your ingredients and flavors pre-measured and your chosen color handy before you start.

All Ingredients Must Be Pre Measured and Ready Before You Begin

Have all ingredients measured and ready before you begin
Have all ingredients measured and ready before you begin

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 6 min
Ready in: 16 min
Yields: 1 pound

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1-3/4 oz) POWDERED fruit pectin, be sure to get the right weight package--it WILL make a difference!
  • 3/4 cup water, normal tap temperature is fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking SODA
  • 1 Cup regular granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup LIGHT corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons flavoring extract, your choice
  • few drops food coloring
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar, Save aside; this is in addition to what goes into the mixture, above

Instructions

  1. Combine the fruit pectin, water and baking soda in a saucepan. This mixture WILL foam, so be sure to use a large enough pan to allow for this expansion.
  2. Combine the first measure of sugar and the corn syrup in a second saucepan.
  3. Put both pans over high heat, and stir each alternately USING SEPARATE SPOONS, until the foam disappears from the pectin mixture, and the sugar mixture boils rapidly, and the sugar is fully dissolved.
  4. Turn off the heat under the pectin mixture, and pour it slowly, in a thin stream, into the sugar and corn syrup mixture, stirring constantly.
  5. Cook stirring constantly, about one more minute.
  6. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the flavoring and color. Pour immediately into an 8" by 8" square pan. ( Inexpensive aluminum pans are best, for they will get scarred and scratched from cutting the candies. Do NOT use disposable ones, though; the sharp knife will cut through, and you may end up with metal slivers in the candy!!)
  7. Allow to sit at room temperature for several hours--at least 3. Do NOT refrigerate!!!
  8. Using a sharp metal knife dipped in hot water, cut candies into squares or diamonds about 1/2" in size, and roll in the reserved sugar. A metal turner, also dipped in hot water, can be slid underneath the cut candy to help release it from the pan.

Just Mixed Ingredients, Ready For the Stove

The pectin mixture is on the left; the syrup and sugar mixture is on the right.  Ready to turn on the heat! See the video below for the actual cooking process
The pectin mixture is on the left; the syrup and sugar mixture is on the right. Ready to turn on the heat! See the video below for the actual cooking process

Flavor and Color Chart

Of course, everyone is free to make up their own combinations, but the 'color/flavor' table below shows what I use.

**Beware: If using clove extract, use only a couple of drops, rather than the 2 teaspoons called for with the other flavors. Clove is a very concentrated flavor, and too much will not be pleasant.

Pouring the Candy

Once the mixtures have been combined and the color and flavor added, pour immediately into your pan
Once the mixtures have been combined and the color and flavor added, pour immediately into your pan

Cutting the Candy

Once firmly set, cut candy into small squares; you'll need to keep re-dipping the knife in the hot water.
Once firmly set, cut candy into small squares; you'll need to keep re-dipping the knife in the hot water.

Color and Flavor Suggestions

Flavor
Suggested Color
Notes
Spearmint
Green
2 or 3 drops, depending on shade of green desired
Lemon
Yellow
3 drops of yellow
Orange
Orange
3 drops yellow; 1 drop red
Clove
Red
use only 2 drops of clove flavoring! Use ONLY 2 DROPS CLOVE FLAVOR! Use 2 or 3 drops of red color
Strawberry
Red
you don't want 2 red--pick either clove OR strawberry
Anise (Licorice)
White
add no coloring
Peppermint
Pink
1 drop red coloring
Grape
Purple
3 drops red; 2 drops blue

Coloring Afterthought

You might want to experiment with the Licorice (Anise) flavor to see if you can get black. I imagine you'd start with purple, then add some green to muddy and darken it a bit. You might get "almost black." I've never tried it, though...it's something that just occurred to me.

Step-By-Step

Ease the cut candy out of the pan a few at a time with a metal turner also dipped in hot water; blot off excess water on a paper towel
Ease the cut candy out of the pan a few at a time with a metal turner also dipped in hot water; blot off excess water on a paper towel
Turn the cut candies into a bowl of granulated sugar and roll them around to coat all sides
Turn the cut candies into a bowl of granulated sugar and roll them around to coat all sides

Family Fun

Finally, here's the part the kids will really enjoy helping with. Take each cut gumdrop, and roll it well in the bowl of sugar, coating all sides, and set them into your chosen container.

If you are making several layers, be sure to separate each layer from the others with waxed paper, or they will all glue themselves back together in a sticky mass.

A "Timely" Note:

Prep and cook times above do not include the 3 hours setting time, or the cutting and sugaring time once set.

Allow about a half hour for cutting and sugaring; longer if kids are involved.

Enjoy!

These candies are very soft, melt-in-your-mouth treats. Even senior citizens with dentures can enjoy them, as they do not need chewing, and they are not "hard sticky" like caramels, so they won't stick to dental work. Even folks who, for whatever reason, may be lacking teeth at all can enjoy these candies.

Gift Packaging

For gift-giving, you have a number of options. You can save up containers of various sizes from other foods to use for the purpose, such as:

  • margarine tubs
  • frosting tubs
  • ice cream tubs

The size you pick would be determined by how many people are on the receiving end of your gift. A larger one for an office party or big family; a small frosting tub for a single "little old lady," for example.

Any of these can be pre-decorated with cheerful paper or recycled old holiday cards.

You also have the option of purchased gift containers, if your budget will allow.

The main thing to remember is to trace around the container on layers of waxed paper, so you will have a custom-fitted set of separator papers. You have to put waxed paper between the layers, as mentioned above, or you'll have one, large, gooey, mixed-flavor 'gumdrop.'

© 2011 Liz Elias

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Chewy Mommy,

    I'm glad you liked the recipe. It does take paying close attention, but is not difficult. Back in the day, I had it memorized, and could whip out batch after batch... ;-)

    Applesauce and jello, eh? Interesting. As a vegetarian, though, I don't eat jello or gelatin-containing products. That's why this is a great recipe, since it just uses fruit pectin.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    Chewy Mommy 

    5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this! I think I am going to try this recipe with my kids. I remember when I was young I used to make homemade gumdrops with my grandmother but I cannot for the life of me remember the recipe. I know she used applesauce and orange powdered jello but that is all I remember.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ Au fait--I'm delighted you enjoyed this recipe. I used it for gifts for several years when my kids were little. Thanks very much for the votes and share!

    @ rebeccamealey--So true--and when we make things, we control the ingredients, so there are no strange preservatives or anything you can't even pronounce! Dinner mints, eh? That sounds a bit more challenging. Thanks for stopping by; I'm pleased you liked the recipe.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    It's amazing what we buy that can actually be made. Your gum drops recipe reminds me of my college room mate that was a home ec major. They made dinner mints. I was so impressed. This is great. Now all I need is a gummy worm recipe!

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    5 years ago from North Texas

    What a great idea for Christmas! Sounds like the perfect thing for gift giving on a tight budget while giving a special gift from the heart, as you say. Voted up and useful and will share with my followers!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, KoffeeKlatch Gals-

    Thanks very much for the votes and bookmark. I'm very pleased you liked this, and learned how easy this treat is to make. Enjoy!

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I love gumdrops. Believe it or not I didn't know you could make them. Bookmarking to try later. Up, useful and interesting.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, kims3003--

    Thank you so much for the compliment. Enjoy your gumdrops!

  • profile image

    kims3003 

    6 years ago

    Always wanted to know how to make these. Thanks for the well written hub and easy to understand directions. Printing so I can make them.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, homesteadbound--

    Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, they are easy, and delicious. I hope you enjoy making them.

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 

    6 years ago from Texas

    I am going to have to mark this one for a less busy time when I have time to do it right. It looks so easy. Who would have thought that gumdrops could be so easy.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Arlene-- LOL ... really, these are so easy, nearly as easy as putting a turkey in a cooking bag. ;-)

    I bet you'd do just fine.

  • profile image

    Arlene V. Poma 

    6 years ago

    I always bought gumdrops, and I will always buy gumdrops. I do fear I will burn them. I'm good at putting turkeys in cooking bags, though.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, randomcreative!

    I'm glad you liked the article and recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    How fun and easy! Perfect for the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ Rachelle Williams--

    Thank you very much--I'm pleased you found the article of use.

    @ Seeker7--

    Thanks so much for the nice compliment! I'm glad you enjoyed the article and the video. Thanks, too, for the votes.

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 

    6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Wow! Great hub and I had no idea that you could make such delicious sweets at home! As you say, 'messy but fun'! LOL! I think our kids would love them. You also made a great video - a star is born!

    Great hub + voted up awesome!

  • Rachelle Williams profile image

    Rachelle Williams 

    6 years ago from Tempe, AZ

    Is that all there is to making gumdrops? I had no idea, but I love them.

    Thank you for sharing.

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