Nothing delights me more than filling a cellophane bag with gummy candy and sneaking it into a movie theater for a relaxing and sugar-filled afternoon.
These healthier candies were inspired by a Elena’s Pantry, but after making a batch, I felt the need to tinker with the recipe to suit my own tastes. First, I’m not a fan of stevia. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stevia from a health perspective, per se, as it doesn’t seem to have an effect on blood sugar and insulin levels as other non-caloric sweeteners do. I just seem to be sensitive to its slightly bitter aftertaste, and therefore can’t stand cooking with it.
Second, I wanted a strong hit of mango flavor, so with each recipe trial I concentrated the fruit juice a by another cup and added increasing amounts of lemon juice. When I was finally happy, I added just a touch of salt to bring out the flavor even more. (These do not have a salty flavor at all.)
To be clear, I’m not promoting these little guys as health food – they’re still loaded with sugar, even though it’s fruit-derived. They are however, a clean-ingredient alternative to processed candies, and even contain a bit of protein from the (flavorless) beef gelatin. Plus they are super easy to make, and I imagine they would be exciting for kids to help out with.
This recipe does require a bit of special equipment – candy molds. These are the ones I used, but there are TONS of other options on amazon.
- 4 cups mango juice (or other fruit juice)
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Great Lakes Gelatin (I’m sure you could use other forms/brands of gelatin, but I can only vouch for this!)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1 tablespoon honey (if you want a super sweet gummy, add a bit of honey)
Bring mango juice to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring down the heat to low, and let the juice simmer until it has reduced to 1 cup, stirring frequently.
Pour the reduced mango juice into a bowl, and whisk until it has cooled slightly. Continue to whisk while pouring in the lemon juice, gelatin, salt, and optional honey. (If you do not whisk constantly, the gelatin will become lumpy. I used my vitamix on the lowest speed for this process. If the speed is brought up, the mixture becomes frothy and unappealing.)
Pour the gummy mixture into a small pitcher, and then slowly pour into gummy molds. Place the molds in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before eating.
The gummies will save in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.