Last Halloween, my son and I decided to channel our inner Oompa-Loompa and start our own homemade candy factory just in time for Trick-or-Treat. If you’ve been following this blog since it began this past spring, you may recall from our Easter Candy Tutorial how our whole journey started out a little on the sour side. Suffice it to say that there have been a lot of bumps (and lumps!) along the rocky road of our candy-making quest. But here we are a year later and victory tastes pretty sweet. This year, the whole family pitched in, even my brother, or “uncle” as we all call him.
We are so glad we stuck with this (often literally) because candy-making has become a favorite holiday tradition in our family, and we would love to pass it on to your family!
Three-Ingredient “GOBBLIN’ GUMMIES”:
These gummies are made from homemade 100% fruit juice, 100% maple syrup, and gelatin. As far as health goes, you aren’t going to find a healthier candy for your kids! The homemade full-fruit juice gives them an incredible jeweled tone, and we think they are as delicious as they look! In fact, these gummies may never even make it to your fridge; your kids may very well devour them in one go! Thankfully, the only added sweetener they contain is maple syrup, and as Laura Ingalls Wilder so wisely told us almost a century ago in Little House in the Big Woods, you can eat as much maple candy as you want because: “everyone knows maple syrup never hurt anybody.”
Active Time: 30 minutes per batch
- Fresh or frozen fruit: our favorite fruit combos for gummies are raspberries + lemon, blueberries + lemon, and kiwi + lime)
- 100% maple syrup
- silicone candy molds or silicone ice cube trays
- Electric Juicer (Vitamix or food processor and a strainer can work too if you don’t have a juicer)
- Kitchen Basics: kitchen knife, rubber spatula, measuring spoons, cup measure, hand juicer, saucepan, parchment paper or tin foil
1.) Make your juice: process your fresh or dethawed frozen fruit through your electric juicer until you yield close to one cup of juice. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a Vitamix or food processor, just add a few tablespoons of store bought 100% fruit juice (apple or white grape are good choices) to be able to easily blend. Then strain out the pulp and seeds.
2.) Squeeze your citrus: lemon works best with most fruit flavors, but lime is superb with kiwi (it’s our favorite combo). Squeeze enough lemons or limes for at least one tablespoon of juice per batch (we like our gummies on the sour side, so we use closer to 3 tablespoons of citrus per batch).
3.) Mix your perfect cocktail: how sweet or sour you make your gummies is highly individual. What’s important is that you end up with ONE CUP exactly of liquid. It doesn’t really matter how much of that ONE CUP is fruit juice and how much is maple syrup (as long as it’s at least half juice). It depends on what type of fruit you choose, as well as how much of a sweet or sour tooth you have. For us, we like to add about 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and 3 tablespoons of citrus per one cup of fruit juice. (Whatever leftover you have above your ONE CUP, set it aside and boil it on it’s own without added gelatin for the world’s most amazing ice cream syrup! You’ll thank me later.)
Note that we like our gummies pretty tart. And raspberry juice, for example, is already very tart on it’s own, so you may end up only adding one tablespoon of lemon juice as we did and maybe even as much as 1/4 cup of maple syrup. So add a tablespoon at a time of maple syrup and citrus and taste as you go. When the mixture hits your pucker just right, then measure out your ONE CUP of your perfect cocktail.
4.) Pour your perfect cocktail into a COLD saucepan: do not turn on the heat, I repeat, do not turn on the heat!
5.) Add gelatin: again, do not turn on the heat, I repeat, do not turn on the heat! Mix in 2 tablespoons of gelatin and whisk in COLD until dissolved.
6.) If fully dissolved (are all those lumps gone?) turn on medium heat. Mixture will already be quite thick, that is normal!
7.) Whisk calmly and constantly until first heat bubbles appear: do not allow to get to a full boil.
8.) Remove from heat
9.) Spoon or syringe gummy liquid into your silicone molds
10.) Refrigerate for a few hours until fully set
11.) Pop out your gummies: using your thumbs, start on one edge of each mold and pop them out end to end. Take your time. If a gummy doesn’t come out clean, hurray! Pop that dud into your mouth and try again.
12.) Refrigerate gummies covered up to three weeks
Four-Ingredient “SNEAKY SNICKERS”:
These chocolates are made from any chocolate chips of your choice (we use Lily’s which are vegan and made with stevia instead of sugar), dates, peanut butter, and peanuts (and coconut if you want it)! Again, you aren’t going to find a healthier candy for your family to enjoy! Just make sure you save a few for the KIDS!
Active Time: 1 hour
- chocolate chips (8 oz package per batch)
- dates (about 6 dates per batch)
- peanut butter
- peanuts (1-2 per date)
- *optional walnuts or almonds (for “almond joy” option)
- *optional coconut shreds (for “almond joy” option)
- silicone molds (large for whole dates, or you can cut dates into halves or thirds for smaller molds)
- Kitchen Basics: rubber spatula, measuring spoons, cup measure, saucepan, parchment paper or tin foil
1.) Prepare your dates for filling: for large silicone molds, cut one half of each date lengthwise, remove pits, and spread them open for filling. For smaller silicone molds, you will need to cut the bottom and top off the date cross-wise to fill.
2.) Lightly fill dates: use a small spoon to fill each date with a little peanut butter and place 1-2 peanuts inside. The dates should be full but be able to be sealed closed without too much peanut butter seeping out.
3.) Squeeze those dates shut
4.) Place filled dates in the refrigerator
5.) Get your water goin’: fill a saucepan about 1/3 full of water and put on low to medium heat.
6.) Add chocolate chips: place one 8oz package of chocolate chips per batch in a stainless steel or glass bowl and place over saucepan … be careful to not let ANY water get in your chocolate! (It’s ok if the bowl touches or floats in the water but it should not directly touch the bottom of the pan).
7.) Slowly melt chocolate: do NOT bring water to a boil! Take a tip from Mary Berry: “chocolate melts in a child’s pocket.”
8.) Watch that heat: turn down heat as soon as chocolate begins to melt, you want to melt it, not cook it!
9.) Turn heat off when chocolate is fully melted. You may need to reheat chocolate or keep on low while you are working with it if it starts to cool too quickly.
10.) Coat your molds: using a small spoon, coat the bottom and sides of your silicone molds with chocolate
11.) Place chocolate-coated molds in the refrigerator to set
12.) Fill your pre-coated molds: after your chocolate-coated molds have set, you are ready to fill. For “sneaky snickers” take a stuffed date and press into your mold leaving no gaps or spaces, and be sure to press it down far enough that you will be able to fill the top with more chocolate without any filling seeping out. You can also fill with coconut and an almond for an “almond joy” or any other filling would like, such as mini marshmallows, raisins, nuts, etc.
13.) Fill remaining mold with chocolate: spoon or pour just enough chocolate to finish filling each mold. After you have filled each mold, pick up the silicone tray and gentle tap it onto a flat surface several times to thump the chocolate down and remove air bubbles. If chocolate spills over the edge of the molds, use the back of a knife to smooth out and discard excess.
14.) Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight
15.) Pop your chocolates out of their molds: (get crackin’! They won’t always come out perfect, but I’m too much of a chocoholic to be a choco-snob…. duds are your friends!)
16.) Store in refrigerator covered for up to a month or in freezer as long as you like!
Thanks for joining us, you made our day! And we hope these candies will make yours!
HAPPY CANDY-MAKING! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
For more Homeschool Halloween ideas, click here: TRICKS & TREATS for a Happy Homeschool Halloween!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~