The Sweet Spot: Candy Treats for the Holidays

By Tara Bench

Buttery mints, juicy gumdrops, and creamy peanut chews: Even if you've never made candy, you can pull off these seriously easy, seriously delicious recipes.

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Sparkly Gumdrops
Photo by Kang Kim

Sparkly Gumdrops

The secret ingredient that gives our gumdrops their intense taste? Tart and Sour Flavor Boost (lorannoils.com), which amps up fruit-flavored oil.

6 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (about 8 envelopes)
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 1/4 cups boiling water
6 cups sugar, plus extra for coating
Extract or flavored oil (see suggested combinations next slide)
Food coloring

1. Grease two 8-x-8-inch pans with cooking spray; set aside. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the cold water in a 6-quart pot. Let sit for 5 minutes, then add the boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sugar.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and gently boil for 25 minutes, stirring constantly. Divide mixture between prepared pans (3 cups each). Stir flavor and color into each pan as desired (you can taste the mixture as you flavor it). Cover with plastic and chill 4 hours or overnight.

3. Run a knife around pan edge to free gumdrop sheet. Turn pan onto a cutting board and pull off candy. Coat a knife with cooking spray, then cut candy into 1/2-inch cubes. Roll in sugar.

4. Leave gumdrops on parchment at room temperature for one to two days to allow the outside to crystallize. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Work: 1 hour
Total: 1 day
Makes about 11 dozen


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