If you love Sour Patch Kids you are going to absolutely love these Homemade Sour Gummy Bunnies! They are a great Easter Basket treat and they don’t have all the chemicals in store bought candies!
Sour candies aren’t at the top of my list of must have items in my own Easter Basket (yes, I still get an Easter basket,) but they are on my husband’s list. He loves all things sour: pickles, vinegar, capers, lemons and limes, and of course sour gummy candies. The more it makes him pucker, the better. His favorite Easter candy is Sour Bunnies, so this year, I thought I’d make him a homemade version of his beloved tart treat.
What makes a candy sour? Citric Acid. It is packaged in powdered form and has been extracted from fruits and vegetables including oranges, lemons, limes, tomatoes, and grapefruits. The powder can be mixed with sugar and used to coat the outside of a gumdrop. The more you add, the more potent the pucker power.
The best thing about making your own sour gumdrops is that you can mold them into hundreds of different shapes using silicone molds. For Easter, I used a Wilton bunny mold, but there are so many other molds to choose from including: rubber duckies, Easter eggs, daisies, mallard ducks, butterflies, dinosaurs, shoes and purses, cats, rhinos, polar bears, panda bears, tigers, guitars, and even mustaches. They also make the molds in character shapes like Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, Pac Man, and Darth
Vader. Click on any of the links above if you’d like to purchase any of these molds from Amazon.com (I get a commission for all sales – thanks!)
As is customary around here, I added faces to the plain gumdrop bunnies, as I felt they lacked character. I can’t help myself. Everything is just cuter with a smile.
Homemade Sour Gumdrop Easter Bunnies (makes 24 bunnies)
Just a note before you begin: I used a gas stove and All Clad pans which conduct heat really well. It took my sugar much less time to boil to temperature than called for in the original recipe. So, be sure to watch your thermometer, instead of using time as your guide.
about 1 teaspoon butter
3/4 cup water
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin (original not low or no sugar pectin)*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4-1/2 teaspoon flavored oil or extract (I used apple)
1-5 drops food coloring (I used neon pink)
1/2 cup colored sanding sugar (I used light pink)
1-3 teaspoons citric acid powder*you can buy packages or jars of pectin in the canning section of your grocery store
corn syrup (to use as glue)
pink candy confetti sprinkles (nose)
chocolate or black jimmies (mouth)
silicone molds, I used 1 Wilton Silicone Bunny Mold with 24 cavities
1 1/2 or 2 quart saucepan, preferably a good quality stainless steel pan
2 or 3 quart saucepan
glass bowl with spout or a glass mixing bowl
optional, thin tip paint brush to add decorations (food only brush)
Butter the sides of a 1-1/2 or 2 quart saucepan. Set aside.
In another 2 or 3 quart saucepan combine water, pectin, and baking soda. Mixture will be foamy. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the buttered saucepan pour corn syrup into the bottom. Sprinkle sugar in the center of the pan. Turn heat on medium-high and allow it to cook for one minute. Then stir gently to dissolve sugar. Be careful not to splash the sugar crystals onto the side of your saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. This took me just a few minutes, but it can take up to 10 minutes. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of your pot. Cook, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 260 degrees Fahrenheit. You will continue to cook your sugar (ultimately you’ll want it to reach 280 degrees which is the soft crack stage,) but at this point, you need to set your pan of pectin mixture back on the stove and heat it over high heat until it comes to a boil.
Once your pot of boiling corn syrup/sugar reaches 280 degrees remove it from the heat or turn off your gas. Slowly and VERY CAREFULLY drizzle in the hot pectin, stirring slowly yet constantly. You DO NOT want to splash any of this hot boiling sugar on your hands.
Once all the pectin has been poured into the saucepan, return it to medium-high heat and cook it for one more minute, then remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl, with a spout, preferably. This stops it from continuing to cook.
Immediately add food coloring, if using, and flavoring. Start by adding 1-2 drops of color and 1/4 teaspoon of flavoring. Add more coloring, if desired. To check if you like the flavor of your gumdrops, fill a glass with ice water, take a small spoonful of your hot gumdrop mixture and set the spoon in the ice water.
Leave it in the water at least 30 seconds. Remove it and touch it to make sure it is cool. Return to water, if too hot. Taste it. Adjust your flavoring accordingly. I found 1/4 teaspoon of the apple oil to be the perfect amount.
NOTE: If using this bunny mold or any other soft flexible silicone mold just follow the steps below. If you are using a stiff silicone ice cube tray, I would suggest brushing a very light coating of vegetable oil into the mold.Carefully pour the hot mixture into the silicone bunny mold, filling each cavity about 2/3rd’s full. Allow the candy to cool at room temperature for up to 8 hours. If you are in a hurry, like I was, cool for an hour then freeze for an hour.
To remove the gumdrops from the silicone mold, press on the backside while peeling the candy out of the mold.
Pour colored sanding sugar into a dish or bowl. Stir in 1-3 teaspoons of citric acid. Taste the sugar as you add the citric acid, and add more to your liking. I used 1 1/2 teaspoons for one batch of bunnies and 2 1/2 teaspoons for another. I preferred the less sour, but my husband loved the intense sour flavor of the other.
Drop your gummy bunnies into the sugar and toss to coat.
Allow your Sour Gumdrop Bunnies to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before packaging. You can decorate them now, if you’d like.
Use corn syrup as glue and add candy eyes, pink confetti nose, and black or chocolate jimmies for mouths.
Your Homemade Sour Gumdrop Bunnies will keep for several weeks if stored in an airtight container.
Items used to make this project are available for sale on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)