Sparkly Fruit Gummies

A few months ago we launched our new cook book with a big ol’ party at our favorite cooking store, Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City.  Hundreds of you showed up to say hello, have some munchies, and celebrate with us. (Thank you!)  It was seriously one of the best days ever.  Since neither Kate nor I live in Salt Lake City, every time we do an event at Orson Gygi we stock up on goodies for ourselves.  This past trip I spent a really long time in their aisle of colors and flavorings, partially just out of sheer awe at the selection.  They have literally hundreds of flavors, half of which I never knew existed.

I sat there wanting to buy one of everything, but not even knowing what I would use them for.  That’s when I remembered last Christmas when my friend Cami borrowed some peppermint oil from me to make homemade gumdrops.  She brought over a plate of the sparkled jewels when she was done and they were so fun to eat!  I thought it would be the perfect thing to stock up on flavors and colors for so I grabbed a few at Orson Gygi that day.  And then I ordered just a few more on-line.  I have difficulty making decisions, okay?

This is the basic recipe you see all over the place for “Homemade Gumdrops” but I  think that name is a bit misleading.  These aren’t as chewy and sticky as a gumdrop, they’re more soft and jelly-like.  Almost like (and I really hate to use this comparison, because they’re way better than this- I swear) a glorified Jell-O jiggler.  But they’re delicious and sparkly and kind of addicting.  My kids couldn’t keep their little fingers away from these, and they loved helping smell the flavors and pick color combos.

These take quite a bit of gelatin, you’ll need a couple of boxes at least.  Keep in mind you’re buying unflavored gelatin (which is found near the baking supplies and Jell-O in the grocery store.)  And yes, all of that sugar is going in.  C’mon, it’s candy!

To use unflavored gelatin, you first soften it by sprinkling it over cold water.  It will instantly take form as the granules of gelatin absorb the water.

After it softens, add boiling water to dissolve it and you’ll have a liquid.  Once the gelatin is mixed in and dissolved, add the sugar.

Bring this mixture to a boil on the stove-top.  You’ll want to keep an eye on it, and like, maybe not turn it up crazy high because you’re too impatient to wait for it to come to a boil and then leave it like that while you go feed your kids Corn Pops for lunch and get distracted when said Corn Pops end up in a splat across your freshly mopped kitchen floor.  If that happens, you might end up with sticky-scalding-jelly-sugar all over your brand new (and therefore pristinely clean) stove top.

The stove-top that you ironically snapped a photo of just minutes before, simply because it was so pretty and so, so clean and the fact that it’s shaped like a star makes you smile.

The same burner you then spent approximately 47 minutes cleaning.

Tips from a pro, folks.

K, back to cooking.  Once the mixture finishes boiling remove it from the heat.  At this point, it’s pretty much done and you can color and flavor it.  (I like that there are Christmas lights flickering in this photo!)

It will easily make 2 8×8 pans if you want to just to do two colors (like red and green).  If you want to experiment with a variety of colors and flavors, you can use any containers.  I used a bunch of little plastic rectangular food-storage containers and I found it easiest to line them with plastic wrap and spray the plastic wrap with non-stick spray.   You can pour the sugar mixture directly into the containers first and then add colors and flavors, but I mixed small batches in a mixing bowls first and then poured them in.

Are you noticing the change in background in these photos?  These are my pretty new counter tops in my new kitchen.  I’ve gotten lots of requests to see photos of my new cooking space so as soon as I can get through Christmas I’ll take some photos of it to show you guys.  I love, love, love how it all turned out.

If you’re experimenting with small batches in random-sized containers, a good trick is to use a measuring cup to measure how much water fills the container up about 1/2 inch so you know how much sugar mixture to color.

Add food coloring and flavoring as you like.  I used oils and started with about 1/8 teaspoon per cup of sugar mixture, and increased to taste from there.  I’m using oils, but regular extracts will work fine too.  If you can find oil, they work particularly well in things like this because you don’t run the risk of having an alcohol-ish after taste from extract.  The mixture should be cool enough to test by this point so you can go by taste.

One of my favorites was coconut.  Did you know they make white food coloring?  I learned that from Bridget, who uses it to make her white icing bright white.

Once they’re in their containers or pans, chill them for at least 4 hours in the fridge.  When they’re chilled and set, pull the mixture out by the plastic and peel off onto a cutting board that’s been sprinkled in sugar.  Since I was making small batches, I placed them directly on a plate of sugar and turned to coat all sides.

Use a sharp knife (it might help to coat with cooking spray) to cut into cubes and roll the cubes in sugar.  It helps to have a plate of sugar nearby to coat the sticky sides and make cutting easier.  I also found we all liked these much better in smaller pieces, like 1/2 inch squares as opposed to 1 inch squares.

Leave the candies out at room temp for a day or two (overnight is fine) so the sugar can crystallize and form a crunchy exterior.

We did blue with blueberry, green with lime, lemon with yellow, tangerine with orange, strawberry-kiwi with pink, and coconut with white.

People are always asking us for goodies that pack and ship well- and these fit the bill!

I had excellent intentions of making a printable to go with these (Have a Holly-Jelly Christmas??)  but I opted to take a nap today instead.  Yes, really.  So if anyone can think of a particularly catchy phrase for a printable I just might make one up for ya!


PS: LAST DAY to enter our fantastic giveaway!  Click here for the details!

(Edit: Lots of people have asked about the cute mason jar with the cut-out lid in the photo above.  It’s from Orson Gygi, too!)


Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. hi…really got excited when I came across this recipe and yes I just did make it. it tastes pretty good however, I have a problem with the sugar when coating. I am in the tropics and the humidity kicks in that it just melts the sugar that I coat to each jelly..any suggestion on what to use instead? Thank you.

  2. Hi
    I tried this, but after coated in sugar it’s not came like yours,its sticky
    Also turns like sugar syrup, gummy looks like flavored jello pack recipe.
    Any tip for this ????

  3. yay!!! finally i think i can change this to ginger candy that i have wanted to make for so long. I just need to coar it with tapioca flour instead. I think this will work… i think … LOL

  4. I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your yummy treat! You can see it here:

    If you have other kid-friendly tutorials, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a fun project idea!

  5. I made these and they were awesome to taste but I screwed up in letting them ALL sit in a big bowl in a heap together with sugar to crystalize. So they got messy but still tasty. I got some little mini Christmas shaped cookie cutters to try again 🙂

    One thing I’m wondering, to make them a LEEETLE bit firmer, would adding a bit more gelatin work? say, 7 or 8 tablespoons? I’m not too familiar with working with gelatin….

  6. Just finished making these following instructions as posted and they turned out great. Look so, so pretty and taste yummy too! Also, easy to make even for a novice candy maker like me. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Sara, and for the detailed, easy to follow directions! Can’t wait to package up to give to family and friends over the next couple weeks.

  7. Knox had a “knox blocks” recipie, using jucies (orange, cranberry, etc)- i can’t wait to try flavoring this way.

    You can buy knox gelatin in bulk – 1pound cans.

  8. Hello! Love this idea and will definitely be trying it! One question, could I use already-flavored Jello instead of flavoring the unflavored kind?

  9. So i’ve made these, or a variation, numerous times but I CANNOT do the sugar thing. I cut them up and roll them in sugar and end up with a liquefied gelatin goo in a few minutes. Its still solid at the center but the outside is gooey. Do i just need to let them sit longer and see if they will crystallize? Mine aren’t sticky o the outside so little one gets “jello” snacks all the time and at daycare….

      1. Mine too!!! I ended up with a plate full of sugar water. Maybe I needed to boil the mixture longer?

  10. how gummy are these supposed to be? from the picture they look more like a gumdrop consistancy but when I made them last night and chilled them they came out more like a thickened jello jiggle. just trying to figure out if i did something wrong (i did cut the recipie down since i didnt have enough gelatin on hand) or if it just looks more solid than it actually is! Also any tips on how much white to use to get the nice white color? I used alot but it came out kind of streaky (I used the same color white pictured) Thanks!

    1. Laura, read the 3rd paragraph in this post (right under the food coloring box photo) and I explain this very thing. Yours sound right!

  11. I love these! My favorite part is the “cutting board covered in sugar”. Amazing idea and a fantastic tutorial. You guys are amazing! : )

  12. These look so delicious!
    I was actually thinking of rolling them in sour sanding instead of sugar, so it wouldn’t be too sweet – do you have any idea how to make sour sanding? I haven’t succeeded in finding a recipe for it yet…

    1. I just coated mine in a slight sour mix and they taste great! I used 3/4 cups sugar and 1/2 ts. citric acid. This gives just the right amount of sour for me, not enough to pucker. You might want a little more depending on your taste. You can find citric acid on amazon, or at Whole Foods (I got mine there in the vitamin area). The first batch I made had no citric acid and it was too sweet for me. I think next time I might try adding just a little to the gelatin mix too.

  13. I was wondering the same….have you tried with a natural sugar substitute like stevia or truvia?

    1. Nope, I haven’t. I use sugar substitutes quite a bit, but when it comes to candy I stick with real sugar.

  14. Has anyone tried a sugar substitute like Splenda in place of the sugar? I wonder if that would work with this recipe?

  15. These look great! Couldn’t you use ice cube trays to shape these? I saw the fun star ones in one of your 4th of July recipes and thought those would be cute.

  16. I have made gummies a few times. One thing I did not do was bring the sugar mixture back to a boil after mixing in the gelatin water. Would this have a direct effect on the density of my gummies? I have been looking to make gummies with a density of a jujube or baking dot.

    1. Homemade gummies don’t have the chew of a commercial one- I think it’s the lack of chemicals! lol It’s hard to get that super dense chew at home, but they will be firmer with the more gelatin you use.

  17. anyone has the link to sunset recipe?
    I was looking for a recipe using pectin and needed to have a peek there also

  18. I just bought the oils to make these yummy treats. However, do you have any other recipes or ways to use the oils since I also went a little crazy and bought 10! Looking forward to these:)

  19. Sara- how much does this recipe make? Is this just for 8×8 pan? Trying to figure out what all I need to buy.

  20. How, exactly, did you get the burned on mess off your stove, anyway. Not that I have ever done this exact same thing or anything. 😉

    1. Haha, I cleaned it when it was still wet and hot with LOTS of paper towels, really hot water, and a ton of scrubbing, lol. It looks sparkly and new once again!

  21. I’m going to make these to dip in chocolate too- don’t dip them in sugar if you want to dip them in chocolate. We dip our own Christmas chocolates every year. In past years, I have bought Sunkist jellies and had to soak them in hot water to melt the sugar coating off and let them completely dry (because any moisture will ruin your chocolate) before dipping them. Now, I’ll just make my own! I’ve thought of this numerous times, but now I have a recipe I know I can trust. Thanks!

    1. Honestly, if you don’t dip them in sugar (or something else) you’ll have a sticky, gummy mess on your hands!

  22. Would this work with citric acid instead of sugar? Just wondering because I love sour treats so much.

  23. i made these tonight, and i have to say that using my pizza cutter to cut them out was SO much easier than using any knife (even one coated in cooking spray). thought i’d pass the tip along!