Saturday, November 3, 2018

She Made Homemade Gummies

Our Syd has looooong been obsessed with gummies. Like really. They're her favorite thing EVER. She's always thinking about them. Every time I ask for grocery shopping requests, that's the first thing that comes out of her mouth and I have to make her tell me something more reasonable to eat for lunch. She collects the empty wrappers from whatever gummy candy she does manage to manipulate people into buying her. She traded away lots of premium Halloween candy to Will in exchange for all of Will's gummies.

She LOVES gummies.

Obviously, the kid's obsession with store-bought junk food is no end of annoying to me, and so every now and then we've tried different DIY versions. We've done the Glee Gum's Make Your Own Gummies kit twice, and working with carageenan is pretty awesome, but Syd did not find the texture or flavor to be similar enough to her junky, yummy, store-bought gummies. For a while Syd was also pretty into trying to make her own gummies (mostly inside soda bottles, because she REALLY wanted a giant gummy soda bottle) using flavored Jello and extra gelatin, but those always tasted like lightly-flavored plain Jello--barf!

I thought that I had the ultimate solution when I read Confectionery House's gummy recipe, especially because they also sell a starter kit with all of the ingredients included. I splurged on the kit, had Syd pick out a couple of molds and a candy flavoring, and one evening (which explains the crappy lighting in these photos--sorry!), Syd made herself a batch of gummies:

mixing the gelatin 
pouring the gummy solution into the molds

The recipe was super easy to use as written, although I think that the instructions to add the flavoring oil "to taste" really made us go wrong. Syd was squeamish about tasting the liquid gummy solution and stingy with the flavoring oil that she knows is super expensive, and so although the gummies looked perfect--

--and their texture was absolutely spot-on--

--she did not like the way that they tasted:

Without enough flavoring oil, they basically taste like straight glucose, which is not a taste that I recommend:

the face of a man who does not like what he is tasting
Syd solved the problem somewhat by adding powdered citric acid to make the gummies so sour that you can't taste anything else:

We have enough of the supplies left to make another batch, although Syd isn't very enthusiastic, discouraged as she is by this first try. When we do try it again, however, I'll supervise better and make sure that she uses plenty of flavoring oil--I'll even taste test it like you're supposed to!--and I'm hoping that more flavor, combined with the spot-on texture, will be a winner.

I mean, I guess? It's not like this recipe is health food, although I guess we're avoiding the preservatives and most of the food dyes. But I do think it's valuable to show Syd that good homemade versions of whatever she likes CAN be made, even if the store-bought crap is still cheaper and more convenient.

Personally, I'd still love to play around with other DIY gummy recipes, especially ones that use natural sweeteners and healthy ingredients, although I'm not in love with the idea of putting in all that work only for the kid to turn her nose up, as I suspect she would, due to the fact that they're not going to look and taste like sour gummy worms or whatever. 

But winters are long, so maybe we'll give it a try one gloomy, chilly day. If so, here are the DIY gummy recipes that I've been collecting for us:

  • gummy polymer chemistry. I like that this recipe includes the science lesson that explains polymer chemistry. That would make it a good science enrichment for our gloomy, chilly day!
  • homemade healthy gummies. I like the idea of using these gummies to sneak in ginger, cod liver oil, or whatever other superfood I want the kids to have against their will. You think they'd notice if I made them some raw garlic gummies?
  • Jello soda bottle. This is one of the kinds of YouTube videos Syd watched that made her really want to make her own. I do feel like we could use this recipe to make a gummy soda bottle--maybe that will be Syd's motivation to try the recipe again! Or possibly the giant rainbow gummy cake would be more her speed these days...
So that's the order of operations, the next time I can tempt Syd away from the candy aisle and into the kitchen with me:
  1. Retry this recipe with more flavoring oil, until we have a good, authentic gummy recipe in our pockets.
  2. Try out healthy gummy recipes until we've got one that Syd likes, even though she'll never admit that she likes it as much as she likes sour gummy worms.
  3. Use one of those recipes to make some of the ridiculous gummy novelties that make the kids eyes grow big. I will not stop until someone has said "Wow!"

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