Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homemade Sour Patch Kids for a Spooky #holidayfoodparty

I never really loved candy. Chocolate, cakes and cookies? Let me at 'em. Ice cream and pudding? I'm down. But jelly beans, licorice, Gummi bears and hard candy drops? I'm okay, really.

The two notable exceptions for me were watermelon or green apple Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids. There was something about the tang that lightened them up on my palate and made them feel less sugary than they actually were (consider 40g of Sour Patch Kids have 26 grams of sugar!). In fact, when I went Trick or Treating, they were the only things "candy" that I saved (and traded for with my candy-hating sister).

But, like I said, there is a lot of sugar and not much else in those sour treats - the first three ingredients are "sugar, invert sugar and corn syrup". Let's be clear - there is a decently large amount of sugar in my gummies, too. But there is also real fruit juice and a delicious exotic flavour - and if you're so inclined you could even spring for raw sugar to make this too. I didn't want to take away the fun and "naughtiness" of eating candy, but I did want to see if I could sneak in a little nutritional oomph and a more unique flavour as well (since I was on a pomegranate kick at the time). I found the recipe for my base in Classic Snacks Made from Scratch, and since the only pomegranate juice my store carried was in 473 ml (16 oz) bottles, I scaled it up by a ton so I wouldn't have leftover juice taking up space in my fridge. Because I loved super-sour candy, I added an extra helping of citric acid and nixed the powdered sugar/cornstarch coating after my first few candies started weeping and turning the mixture into glue.

I made these over the Summer, and if your house tends to run hot (even in the Winter when the furnace kicks on), keeping these on the counter to dry or store won't end well (trust me). Same if your climate (in or out) is humid. Just let them hang out in the fridge on a loosely-covered platter. Don't worry - they won't be waiting long there before being devoured!

This recipe is part of our Halloween #holidayfoodparty started by Jen of Jen's Favorite Cookies. We have a spooky 13 entries this time and all of them look delightful!

  1. Butterfinger Bark from Jen's Favorite Cookies
  2. Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cut-Out Cookies from Created by Diane
  3. Chocolate Crepes with Pumpkin Butter Filling and Spiced Maple Pecan Syrup from Pineapple and Coconut
  4. Vampire Delight Martini from Magnolia Days
  5. Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookie Cups from Chocolate Moosey
  6. Rice Krispie Candy Corn from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
  7. Chocolate Peanut Butter Halloween Puppy Chow from Messy Baker
  8. Homemade Sour Patch Kids from What Smells So Good
  9. Reese's PB&C Pretzel Crust Pie from Hungry Couple NYC
  10. Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake from Gotta Get Baked
  11. Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
  12. Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from Crumb Blog
  13. Pumpkin Pie Fudge from Juanita's Cocina


Homemade Sour Patch Kids
*Note: For best results, I strongly suggest weighing the ingredients - it is candy making after all, which to me is like alchemy!
Makes 150 candies, 10 (15-candy) servings

For the Jellies
2 cups 100% pomegranate juice (1 473 ml bottle)
4 ½ tsp citric acid
2.5 cups water, divided
6.6 oz gelatin (13 tbsp + 2 tsp)
22.4 oz sugar (3 1/3 cups)

Coating
6 tbsp granulated sugar
3 ½ tsp citric acid
  1. Whisk the fruit juice and citric acid with half the water (1 ¼ cups) in a large pot until everything is dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin as evenly as possible over the surface and set aside (no need to stir).
  3. Whisk the sugar with the remaining water in a separate wide saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat, uncovered, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves.
  5. When the liquid starts to bubble, stop stirring and cook, undisturbed, until the mixture reaches 300F on a candy thermometer (this can take a while, but don’t walk away!).
  6. Carefully pour the hot sugar into the gelatin mixture and place the saucepan over medium-low heat (the sugar may clump when it hits the gelatin, but don't worry, this is normal).
  7. Gently and continuously stir over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, the mixture will re-soften and dissolve until there are no more clear lumpy bits. Don’t let the mixture boil, though.
  8. Pour candy into a parchment lined 9x13” baking dish and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Coating:
  1. Whisk the granulated sugar and citric acid together in another small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Set a wire cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet, making sure the rack fits comfortably inside.
  3. Lightly dust a cutting board with sugar and flip the gelatin block out of the pan onto it. Remove the parchment and flip the piece of candy over once so that both sides have a fine coating of sugar.
  4. Cut into pieces with a greased pizza wheel, bench scraper or sharp knife (I used all three, they all work!).
  5. Toss dredged pieces in the sugar-citric acid mixture and place on the cooling rack.
  6. Let the coated candies dry for 8 hours on the cooling rack until the coating is hard and crunchy.
  7. Store the candies at cool room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week - if you’re making these in the Summer like I did, store them in the fridge (they’ll keep up to 3 weeks).
Amount Per Candy
Calories: 23.9
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 2.3 mg
Total Carbs: 5.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.8 g