Chewy, fruity gumdrops are a fun twist at the holidays, usually so full of rich chocolate and heavy treats. These little chews are still very sweet, but also light and soft, unlike the rubbery gels of commercial gumdrops. The other highlight, of course, is that you can make any flavors you like! For the three batches I made I used Concord grape, apricot and grapefruit juices.
These are not difficult at all. Fruit juice is boiled with pectin and a sugar syrup is stirred in. Then it firms up overnight into a solid yet sticky bar that can be cut into individual pieces, which are rolled in sugar to give them that charming gumdrop exterior.
Again, these are really sweet, so be sure to use juice that has no added sugar at all. In fact, next time I make these I am going to reduce the amount of juice slightly and use fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice, which I think will balance the sugar perfectly.
makes about 6 dozen
1 cup fruit juice
1 box (1 3/4 ounce) powdered fruit pectin, found with canning supplies
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
Food coloring (optional)
White sugar, for finishing
Line a 9x5 standard breadloaf pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Put the fruit juice, pectin and baking soda in a large pot over low heat. I would suggest 4 to 6 quarts. Stir - it will foam up vigorously. Keep over low to medium heat as the sugar cooks. Bring to a boil just as the sugar boils, then reduce heat to low and don't let it boil again.
Stir the sugar and corn syrup together in a smaller saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. Stop stirring and let it boil until it reaches 280°F. Carefully and gradually pour the sugar syrup into the fruit mixture, stirring continuously. Add the food coloring now, if you are using it. Pour into the greased pan.
Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then turn out of the foil onto a cutting board or countertop. Cut into very small pieces, or use fondant cutters to cut into small shapes. It will be slightly sticky, still; it helps to run your knife under hot water periodically. Roll each piece in sugar to coat, then store in a tightly covered container at room temperature.