Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ask Martha - Gummy Worms

Some days I feel like a walking "Ask Martha" segment. It's kind of fun sometimes. The other day my roommate from college called and asked me how to make gummy worms. I'd totally forgotten that I made them in Iowa. So... after finding the recipe I'd used before, I found another recipe that sounded better and, of course, I had to try it. So I spent part of yesterday making homemade gummy worms. =) Mmmm... Here's the recipe, a few variations, and some tips I highly recommend.

RECIPE

Makes about 3 dozen candies

* 1 box (1 3/4 ounces) powdered pectin (available in many supermarkets or hardware stores)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 cup water
* 1 cup light corn syrup
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons lemon extract, or orange extract
* 6 to 8 drops yellow or orange food coloring (optional)
* Vegetable oil for coating the molds
* Superfine sugar for coating the candy

1. Lightly oil enough candy molds to make 36 medium-size bears. Set them aside.
2. Combine the pectin and baking soda in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the water and place the pan over medium heat. Stir well until the pectin is dissolved. The mixture will foam as it heats. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, smooth, and clear, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the pectin warm.
3. Combine the corn syrup and granulated sugar in another heavy medium saucepan. Place the pan over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
4. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 260 F (hard ball). Immediately add the pectin mixture and return the syrup to a boil. Boil exactly 1 minute and remove the pan from the heat.
5. Add the lemon or orange flavoring, the corresponding food coloring, and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Pour the syrup into the prepared molds and set them aside at room temperature until the candy has cooled and firmed up, about 5 hours.
6. While the candies are still in their molds, sprinkle the tops of the candies with superfine sugar. The candy is very sticky and the sugar will allow you to handle the candies and remove them from the molds. Shake off any excess sugar and use your fingers to peel the gummy bears out of the molds. Completely cover each bear with additional superfine sugar. Shake off the excess sugar and store the candies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

VARIATIONS

Gummy Fruits
Use fruit-shaped molds and substitute 2 teaspoons of the corresponding natural or artificial fruit flavors (such as peach, strawberry, raspberry, apple, cassis, coconut, banana, and apricot) for the lemon or orange extract. Change the food coloring accordingly.

Licorice Gummies
Omit the orange or lemon extract and food colorings. Add 2 teaspoons natural or artificial anise flavoring and pour the syrup into plain round molds. If desired, 4 drops of black food coloring can be added.

Sour Gummy Candy
Add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid to the pan with the sugar and corn syrup.

Super Sour Gummy Candy
Mix 2 teaspoons citric acid with each 1/2 cup superfine sugar used for coating the finished candy.

TIPS

* If you don't have a hot candy mold, cover your oven rack in foil and press the foil between the wires to form worm shapes. OR use a flexible loaf or 8x8 pan. (DON'T use a metal pan - make sure it's one of those flexible ones.)

* Make sure you grease the mold or pan well so the candy doesn't stick.

* The recipe says to let the candy cool at room temperature, but I recommend refrigerating them before handling them and then storing them in the fridge.

* Regular sugar may work just as well as superfine for coating.

* Store candy between sheets of wax paper - if you stack them they will stick together, even if sugar coated. =(

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

yep. you really do know EVERYTHING, don't you? sheesh! and i was all excited a few weeks ago when i made chocolate mousse from scratch (the hard way - with real gelatin and using the good old fashioned RED betty crocker cookbook - the one that doens't really EXPLAIN anything)! your culinary skills put me to shame! - tam

Elizabeth Wickland said...

Ha ha! I just like to play. I wouldn't say there's any skill involved. =) Just trial and ERROR.

Jaime said...

If it takes too many ingredients or too much time, I usually pass it up. But it's always fun to be friends with someone who enjoys trying new and time-consuming recipes. :-) Then I can enjoy hearing about it (or tasting it, if they live close enough) without the messy kitchen or extra time. :-)

Elizabeth Wickland said...

Yeah, for some stupid reason I get satisfaction from making things that you never think to make from scratch. Sure it's a whole lot easier to go buy a $.50 bag of gummy worms, but how fun is that?

I also don't have little ones scurrying around my feet - just one who naps long enough for me to do fun things like this. =)

Anonymous said...

From the vantage point of the one who raised the gummy worm guru, I can say that it takes a master messmaker complete with a lot of fun toys to do anything worthwhile in the kitchen! You make Momma proud!!

Dana said...

oh i love gummies!!! let's see i think i can squeeze in this recipe in about oh, five more years :)

Stephanie said...

Neat! Never ever thought you could make your own gummy worms. I might just have to do that for my husband. He's a sugaraholic.