By making your own homemade gummy worm candy, you can control the quality of the ingredients and create nearly endless flavor combinations. Making this fun homemade candy is nearly as easy as boiling water. No special molds? No problem, just use some bendy straws to give your gummy candy its signature creepy-crawly shape.
You need basic kitchen equipment, including a teakettle or saucepan to boil water, a mixing bowl, measuring spoons and cups, and molds to create the worms. One option is to use fishing lure worm molds, which can be found at most large sporting goods stores and online.
Another option is to fill a tall jar, glass or vase with flexible straws. Extend the flexible neck and pack the straws together in the container so that they support each other and remain upright. For easy cleanup, place the entire container on a small plate to catch any drips as you pour the mixture into the molds.
Homemade gummy candies can be made using two basic ingredients as the base: Flavored gelatin and unflavored gelatin with added flavor extracts or juice.
Using Flavored Gelatin
Flavored gelatin allows you to achieve relatively intense flavor for your gummy worms without having to add many extra ingredients. When you make gummies with flavored gelatin, all you need is your choice of flavored gelatin, a small amount of unflavored gelatin to create the firmness characteristic of gummy candy, and water. You can use optional extras such as citric acid, which allows you to make sour gummy worms, or flavor extracts such as cinnamon oil, which can add spiciness to the mix.
Using Unflavored Gelatin
Unflavored gelatin provides a blank canvas that allow you to get more creative with your gummy worm flavors, while having more control over the ingredients that go into your homemade gummy candies. Some ways to vary the taste and color of your worms include the following options:
- To make sweeter gummy worms, add a small amount of granulated sugar to the mix.
- Use different juices to produce various flavors.
- Add a small amount of cream to give the worms varying shades of color.
- Experiment with flavor extracts to create more combinations. Some examples include vanilla, lemon, mint, lime, pineapple or coconut extract.
- For extra vivid colors, stir a few drops of food coloring into the mixture. This can be standard food coloring found in any baking aisle or all-natural options such as liquid chlorophyll.
Vegetarians and vegans can make gummy worms too, thanks to gelatin substitutes such as Vegan Gel, made of vegetable gum. Agar, derived from algae, can be used as a direct substitute for gelatin. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons Vegan Gel for every teaspoon of gelatin called for in your recipe.
Preparing the Gummies
Once you've selected your basic method and flavors, it's time to make your gummy worm mixture and pour it into your molds.
Mixing Flavored Gelatin Gummies
Combine flavored gelatin, unflavored gelatin and water in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring it frequently until the gelatin and sugar dissolves. For every 3-ounce package of flavored gelatin, use 2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin and 1/2 cup water.
Mixing Unflavored Gelatin Gummies
Place juice in a saucepan and whisk in the gelatin before turning the heat on. Stir the mixture, warming it over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in cream, if you're using it. Add any flavor extracts or food coloring that you're using and stir the mixture to combine all the ingredients. In general, for each envelope of gelatin, use 1/2 cup juice or 1/4 cup juice and 1/4 cup water, along with 1/2 tablespoon cream and 1/2 tablespoon sugar, if you use it.
Making Layered Gummy Worms
To make multi-colored worms, all you need are several gummy mixtures of varying colors and a little extra time. For example, if you want to make a red and pink worm, mix one batch of cherry gummy mixture and another batch with added cream to lighten the color. Fill the molds partially with one mixture and chill them for approximately 15 minutes to allow the first layer to set. Repeat the process with each additional layer to create multi-colored or multi-flavored gummy worms.
Unmolding the Worms
Place the filled molds in the refrigerator to set for two to four hours, or overnight. If you're using gummy molds, simply pull the worms from the mold. If you're using straws, let them warm slightly before trying to remove the gummy worms. Dip the straws in a bowl of warm water for 20 to 30 seconds to warm them quickly, if desired. Begin squeezing from one end to release the gummy candy from the straws. Alternatively, place the straws on a flat work surface and roll the worms out with a rolling pin.