There was a time, my kittens, when I thought my streak of amazing DIY successes would never end. Remember the cheese times? Those were my glory days.
I always assumed my fall would be brought about by something complicated and French. It would be understandable; you would all say “No one ever nails a soufflé the first time, Claire!” and we would all get drunk on Bordeaux and laugh and laugh. I never thought it would be a fruit snack recipe written by an uber-health conscious blogging mom.
It could have been prevented. I found the recipe on Pinterest, it contained beets, and it contained kombucha. ALL THE SIGNS WERE THERE THAT THIS WAS NOT GOING TO WORK OUT. But I was cocky.
I wanted to give you guys three solid recipes for fruit snacks. That was my dream for you. That dream has been shattered now, and I only have two good recipes to offer, but one of them is a Sour Patch Kid knock-off, so that should count for something.
Let’s get my shame out of the way first.
I mean really.
I’m not a fan of beets and I’m not a huge fan of kombucha, though I revisited the latter and it’s not as bad as I remember. It basically taste like vinegar and I like vinegar so fine, whatever. BUT BEETS TASTE LIKE DIRT.
ANYWAY. I pureed the beets and the fruit just like she said, and combined the gelatin with the kombucha (without overheating the precious microbes or whatever) like she said, and I got this:
I wrestled the mixture into my heart-shaped ice cube tray and set them in the fridge to set.
GUYS, I don’t know if you could tell but I did not like these. They tasted like sweet beets and had the viscosity of pre-chewed food suspended in Jell-O. I went back to reread the original post, because I thought she said her daughter hadn’t detected the beets, but I had misread. Her daughter totally thought they tasted like beets, but apparently still liked them. Her daughter is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.
This is how I feel about the whole thing:
Moving on to better things!
One time someone asked me if I preferred gummy bears or worms and I told them I liked Sour Patch Kids because they’re shaped like children. Sadly, I was not able to make my own child-shaped treats, because I don’t have a mold for that. You will have to settle for Sour Patch Shards. It’s fine. You’ll be fine. I made red ones, because red is the best flavor and if you think green is better I will set myself on fire and it will be your fault.
This recipe requires some mild candy-making skills, meaning you have to boil sugar to a specific temperature. Take heed though: Boiling sugar will stick to you like napalm, so don’t splash around in it. Like the author mentions, you will get a terrifying, glassy, sticky mass of gunk when the sugar first makes contact with the gelatin mixture, but just keep stirring! Just keep stirring!
After everything returned to its liquid state, I poured it slowly into a Pyrex pie dish. You have to let it cool a little, so as not to thermally shock and crack the glass.
I let that set for about an hour at room temperature, and then put it in the fridge for about twenty minutes. It set so well, I was able to peel the whole thing out at once!
Then I cut it into little pieces and coated them with the citric acid mixture. I made mine extra sour -- I like the inside of my mouth acid-eaten and raw –- by doubling the amount of citric acid. They did “sweat” a little, so coated a few with the cornstarch/powdered sugar prior to the sour mix. The problem with that is that not a lot of the sour powder sticks after, so I did some both ways. I let them dry until I got home from work the next day and compared and contrasted. The non-cornstarched ones were of course drier and not as sour. I’m willing to deal with some stickiness if it means I get MOAR SOUR, so I will probably skip the cornstarch altogether in the future.
Sean loved these. I liked them. They weren’t texturally identical to my beloved Sour Patch Kids, a little too gelatinous for me, but the flavor was really good. I wanted them to be just a little chewier, but overall I’m pretty pleased. Much more pleased than I was with those fucking beet disasters.
3. The Vegetarian Option, Featuring Agar Agar!
Sean thought I was making up Agar Agar. He also thought I made up kombucha, jicama, and "Jesus Christ Super Star." I wish I had come up with "Jesus Christ Super Star."
Anyballs, gelatin kinda squicks me out. I know I’ve told you guys my Jell-O story, so I won’t bore you again, but for those who missed it: Jell-O makes me vomit. I was hoping that the use of Agar Agar would result in a less gelatinous fruity favorite (my childhood term for fruit snacks). Agar Agar is a vegetarian food stabilizer that comes from seaweed! I was able to buy some (shit was expensive) at my local health food store. Let’s see how it went!
I modified this recipe by dissolving 1 tbsp of Agar Agar and 1 tbsp of sugar in 1 cup 100% cherry juice and bringing it to a boil. I let it boil until it formed a thick syrup and poured it into a silicone ice tray.
I originally tried this with 2 tbsp Agar Agar and no sugar, but the result was super plastic. Just look at it.
The second attempt was better. The texture was still a little bizarre; it felt like the fruit snack was actively avoiding my teeth, which was creepy. They did come out really pretty though, and the flavor was pretty good.
My favorite was definitely the Sour Patch Shards. The texture isn’t my absolute favorite, but I’m really weird about gelatinous textures.
My favorite DIY fruit snacks were the ones I made for this post, that fruit leather was awesome. These snacks were actually kind of expensive to make, too. Whatever, I’m going to go buy some Fruit By The Foots.
Follow Claire on twitter if you’re not disappointed in her for being SUCH A FAILURE AT DIY FRUIT SNACKS. @clairelizze