My regular blogging hat is back on again, at least for a little while. I have a series of food-centric posts lined up, the subject: low-calorie treats, cheats and substitutions. As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen with the notion of expanding the parties on my palate while keeping the ole body in good form, so I thought it’d be fun to share what I’ve been messing around with. (Full Disclosure: I didn’t come up with any of the things I’ll be presenting, they’re variations on ideas already floating around the web)
An important factor enabling all this homemaking fun, beyond a developing interest in recipe blogs and food porn, was to finally acquire the proper tools for the job. And I don’t just mean replacing the bag of flour that had expired in 2011 (though that did happen), but for about 3 weeks, during my bronchitis phase, I went on an Amazon.com binge, buying everything from the mundane (whisks, spatulas, rolling pin, cast iron skillet, etc.) to implements and vessels I suspected would be useful though I was unsure exactly how (mini food processor, mini loaf pans, ramekins, mini dutch oven, etc) plus all sorts of food items like oils, flours and flavorings as well as items to make the kitchen more efficient, like this swiveling aerator for the faucet that gives me a visceral thrill every time I change its direction and a clever mesh sieve basket thingy that doubles as a drying rack for handwashed dishes.
At one point, when I was ordering stuff daily for about a week, I questioned myself “This is getting a little out of hand, do I really need all these things? What’s up with this? Should I be worried about my mental health?” but I’m pleased to say that I’m extremely happy with, and use, everything I bought.
Oh, the satisfaction of beating an egg with a proper whisk instead of half-assing it with a fork! And I was almost moved to tears while emptying a jar clean with my new silicone spatula, realizing that never again would I need to jab and scrape dregs with a lowly spoon only to find my hand and wrist coated in peanut butter. It’s the end of an era.
But enough gushing over my Brand New World, let’s get on with the star of today’s show…
There are multitudes of gummy recipes to be found online, Google “gummy candies” “gummy bear recipes” or any derivative and you’ll find tons, many with beautiful food photos that will make your mouth water and some that include really clever ideas like making your own leggo molds. Some folks make a production out of it with double-boiling, some recipes feature juice and honey for a 100% natural treat though most recipes use jello or kool-aid for flavoring (no judgement from me, my first batch was made with Crystal Light since my flavorings hadn’t arrived yet – it worked great, but I prefer the non-packaged approach). No matter how you get there, it’s really cool to be able to make a seriously satisfying chewy candy that’s quick, simple and good for you, too.
In this plethora of online gummy madness, however, one thing all these recipes lacked was a universal ratio of gelatin to water so before I got started, I read tons of reviews and blog comments, noting which recipes people said were rubbery and which were said to be too soft and from that, found a happy medium which I find to be as good as store-bought (minus the sugar!).
The full recipe follows this photo walk-through, beginning with the liquids.
½ cup water
scant ½ tsp liquid stevia (or other sweetener to equal ¼ cup sugar in sweetness, stevia’s great because it’s natural)
flavoring extract or oil (1½ – 2tsp extract or 1/16 tsp to 1/8 tsp flavoring oil, adjust to taste)
food coloring (because it’s way more fun when it’s colored)
¼ cup gelatin (that’s equivalent to 4 packets of Knox, though I’m using this grass-fed beef gelatin from Great Lakes)
1 Vitamin C capsule (optional) the leggo guy uses this for souring but I don’t notice that effect – I’m just happy to get extra Vitamin C in a sly way. But don’t get too crazy with it since Vitamin C can give you the squirts if you overdo it. I use one 1000 mg capsule per batch with the understanding that I eat about a batch per day, if you eat less, you can add more.
- Mix the liquids together
- Stir quickly into gelatin till it’s completely saturated
- Microwave for about 1:15 min (micro times vary, you want to melt the gelatine without boiling, so keep an eye on it till you have yours figured out, it’ll foam a bit - that’s normal)
- Remove from microwave and stir (empty a Vitamin C capsule into it, if you like)
- Freeze until gelled (10-20 minutes, Knox seems to set quicker)
- Cut it into squares and voila…yummy gummies!
Makes approx 5.2 oz of gummy candy, 100 calories total
- My ratio is 2:1 for water:gelatin. This is my personal preference for a good chew though you might like it softer or more rubbery, simply adjust water to suit.
- The one constant you will find when it comes to flavoring is that there is no constant. Extracts use a lot more than oils but different flavors from the same manufacturer for both extracts and oils can differ greatly in strength. Just play around and give it a taste before you commit to combining into the gelatin.
- If your batch needs tweaking (too sweet, not enough flavor, too rubbery, etc) not to worry! Just throw the gummies back into the bowl, remelt it and adjust whatever you need to fix the batch. Gelatin is incredibly forgiving.
- You can use candy molds but I only do that for showing off since it requires dirtying/washing more things and as mentioned, I’m a lazy cow.
- Speaking of cleanup, hot water dissolves leftover gelatin off your bowls & utensils in a nanosecond.
- You can keep the gummies out on the counter for a few days but they’ll get harder (which I rather like), otherwise you can keep them refrigerated for a couple weeks.
- Don’t keep them sealed in tupperware in a dark cupboard if you use a sweetener without preservatives or you’ll be really sorry (read my previous post for details on that).
The best thing about this, besides the nutritional benefits of gelatin (you’ll have to Google it, this food blogging crap is a pain in the ass and I’m tired, but also look up “bone broth” while you’re at it) is that the entire batch is 100 calories. How often do you get to stuff your face with 5.2 oz of chewy flavorful fun that’s actually good for you and have it be so low-cal? And is CANDY? Like, never.
Edit: Ok, I can’t not give you any of gelatin’s benefits, so first off, look up glycine, proline and arginine, it’s full of those along with tons more amino acids. It’s supposedly great for skin, hair and nails (takes time, so be patient), helps with sleep and is said to boost HGH production so eat some before bed. Gelatin fills your tummy up nicely and has a solid amount of protein, though it’s incomplete so while it can’t replace standard protein consumption, it’s a useful addition to the protein you already eat. It’s also known for helping joints and connective tissue and people have been giving it to their dogs for decades (I always like hearing that since animals don’t know placebos). Knox makes a couple gelatin drink formulas for joints both with and without glucosamine that people seem to be very satisfied with. I actually cancelled my last order of glucosamine and will be using gelatin to keep my joints happy from here on in. And here’s an intense article on it by Ray Peat. But most importantly…CANDY.