Colin’s Overnight and the Gummy Legos

My 13-year-old grandson, Colin, is my buddy right now. He’s at just the right age where he is old enough to spend time with me and do fun things, but young enough to still enjoy his Nonna – which is me. And “Nonna” is Italian for grandmother. The grandkids all think because they call me Nonna that we are somehow Italian, but we are not. However, I am an “Italian-o-phile” at heart, so that’s where the fascination with anything Italian comes from.

Now I am not a “baby-sitting” granny. I help out as necessary but I have never watched any of my grandkids regularly. When they spend a day with me, we are bound for fun. We watch movies, gobble up popcorn and chocolate, play Angry Birds, go out to eat, surf on the computer, walk over to the schoolyard to swing at midnight, have art lessons and other such things.

When it comes to my grandchildren, I want to leave the impression that I was/am an interesting person who loves them dearly.

And that’s a bit different from raising your own kids.

I was a strict disciplinarian with my three. Rules, rules, and more rules.

Not that we never had fun. We did. But life was based on following the rules. That meant the parents were in charge, and the kids obeyed whether they liked it or not. Fortunately for me, this pretty much worked in our household.

Of course there was a lot more to it than that, but the point is… that’s how I raised my kids and it stuck.

Now that I have grandkids, I let their parents (my children) enforce the rules while I find ones to bend. Not major ones, of course. Criminal behavior is not to be tolerated. And parental authority is always in place – since it is the job of parents to care for their children. So I respect my children (who are now parents) instilling values in their own young ones and I support that.

But I also get to have a little fun with it…

For instance, this morning, when Colin and I woke up, he said… “Nonna! You forgot our treat last night!

Starr sunburn aActually, I didn’t. But I was so tired and sunburned from taking him to the waterpark all afternoon yesterday that I wasn’t quite in my right mind. A forgivable offense at my age…

The treat in question was ice cream. I had bought a small container for each of us – his was chocolate and mine vanilla.

And then it dawned on me… ice cream is milk, right? And kids have milk for breakfast…

“So you want it now?” I asked Colin.

A surprised look came over his face. “Ice cream for breakfast?” he replied in disbelief.

“Why not?” I asked. “If you don’t tell your mom we’ll be just fine.”

Colin ice cream 1aColin was delighted as I got the container out of the freezer and handed it to him. And he sported the biggest grin as he dug in and began to slurp it down.

Meanwhile, besides going to the waterpark yesterday, I had a surprise for Colin. For weeks he had been asking me for clues. All I could tell him was that it had something to do with “LEGOS” but he would never guess what…

In the past I have bought him LEGO kits because he loves them so much. But this was not a toy. And I couldn’t wait for him to discover what it was…

Recently I had come across an online video that showed how to make…

LEGO GUMMIES!!!

Yep… gummy candies in the shape of Legos. All you had to do was jot down the recipe and order the LEGO molds from Amazon.com here. Which I did.

The recipe, however, was a different story.

I found several versions on line and couldn’t tell what exactly would be the best, so I just had to start to experiment. I hoped it would work – which it did – but I got better with each batch. And that means, YOU, dear reader, can get the scoop from me here on how to make the best LEGO gummies ever! (And this takes longer to read than to do – it really is EASY!)

It took me a couple tries, but this turned out to be the best recipe…

  • 1/3 cup COLD water
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin (they come four in a pack)
  • 1 packet of Jello (for the color and flavor)
  • ¼ cup of Karo light corn syrup

Put the cold water into a heavy glass pyrex measuring cup.

SLOWLY add the unflavored gelatin packets while stirring them in.

SLOWLY add the Jello packet while continually stirring.

Let the mix stand on the counter for 5-10 minutes while the gelatins get absorbed into the water. It will be the consistency of thick grainy applesauce and the color of whatever jello mix you used.

Add the Karo – it should make about 1 cup overall. Stir until the sugar is blended in.

gummy boil 1aMeanwhile, fill a small saucepan half full with water and put it on the stove on medium low. This will be the “water bath” for your jello/gummy mix.

When the water is hot, set the measuring cup of jello mix into the saucepan. This serves as a “double-boiler” so the mix doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently until the mix is completely liquid.

NOW…

You can use the mix at this point, but this extra step is worth doing…

Pour the liquid mix into a tall coffee mug and let it sit until completely cool. You can even let it sit out for a couple days as this is your basic gummy mix. But here’s what happens… there is a layer of “foam” that will rise to the top. If you leave that in there it will make your gummies cloudy and bubbly. But if you put it in a coffee cup to set, then you can deal with the foam.

gummy foam 1aYou can wait to the next day or just later that day if you’re in a hurry. Once it is cool, use a knife and fork to get the big gummy blob out of the coffee cup. I plopped it into a shallow bowl.

This is when you can cut off the foam on the top end and throw it away. Cloudiness gone!gummy skim a

Put the gummy blob back into the glass measuring cup and get the water in the saucepan on the stove hot again. Place the measuring cup right back into the hot water bath and stir until it is completely liquid again. Some say this “second melting” results in much clear-er gummies. And if you do get a bit more foam on top, it is easily skimmed off with a spoon. If you even care…

At this point, you need to have two things ready…

  1. The MOLDS
  2. And A Condiment Squirt Bottle (optional, really, but you can order it from Amazon, too… here)

I tried this a couple different ways and had some problems getting the gummies out of the molds. It wasn’t pretty. So I defied instructions and did it my way – which worked!

gummy molds 1aSome websites will tell you NOT to put baking spray on silicone molds because they don’t need it.

DON’T BELIEVE THEM! THEY ARE WRONG!

Once I started putting a light coat of baking spray in the mold before filling, it made ALL the difference! Just put in the lightest coating possible and it will be fine.

gummy condiment bottle1aThe squirt bottle is GREAT! It isn’t a complete necessity since you can always pour the hot mix into the molds right from the measuring cup. But if you want a child to help, you might make it easy on them and order a squirt bottle when you get your molds. Colin loved this even if he had to hold a towel around the squirt bottle when it was too hot to touch.

And another note… put your molds on a flat baking sheet (before filling) to stabilize them. Otherwise you can’t move them when you need to!

OK…

You’ve got the hot liquid in the molds and everyone is happy. Now is the time to get some really hot water running and rinse out the measuring cup, the funnel, the condiment bottle and the fork you were stirring with. If the water is good and hot, it will wash all the gelatin away and everything is clean again.

Now you wait.

I usually leave the molds on the counter until they are pretty cool. An hour or two. (less if you’re in a hurry!)

Then I can lift them and put them flat into the freezer. This will finish the cooling and make them easy to pop out.

After 30-60 min in the freezer, go get them out.

The best way to release them is to push in on the back of the mold without mercy. This will NOT break your sturdy mold, but it will make your new LEGO character pop right out in all its fine glory! (If you use thinner candy molds you won’t have to press at all – they’ll pop out with just a bit of pressure on the bottom.)

So here are my experiments.

gummie blueBLUE…

We made the blue ones first. I only melted them once and did not oil the molds. They were very hard to remove. Ugh!

RED…

lego gummies 4The red mix sat overnight in a coffee cup and got melted a second time after cutting off the foam. But even after being cooled off and being in the freezer after molded, I couldn’t get them out of the molds without breaking them. Drats! That’s when I decided to spray those molds the next time!

ORANGE…

gummies orange 1Time for orange. These sat overnight in the coffee cup, then we cut off the foam and melted the blob a second time. Colin squirted the hot melted liquid into the molds that had been sprayed with olive oil baking spray (any kind will work!) We let them sit on the counter until cool and then stashed them in the freezer for half an hour. They popped out of the molds like a dream! Hip hip hooray!

GREEN…

gummy greenNow green. And we’ve got this… Gummy mix sat overnight in the coffee cup (since I made all the flavors the day before) and then I ran a knife around the edges of the coffee cup and pried the whole mess out with a fork. Plopped it into a bowl, cut off the foamy stuff and then put it into the glass measuring cup. We melted it for the second time in the pan of hot water. Poured the melted mix into the squeeze bottle (through a funnel) and Colin squirted it into the oiled molds. Let cool on the counter for an hour – then half hour in the freezer – and we were golden. They popped right out and looked marvelous!

gummies Colin 1a

I can’t tell you what a fun thing this is to do with your kids or grandkids! And they will think you are SO COOL!

And if you put the gummies in the fridge for a bit, you can transfer them to containers and they won’t stick to each other. Just keep them cool and eat right out of the fridge in the next week or so.

ALSO… if you are more of a health nut than I am, you can make these things VERY healthy and natural. Google to find recipes that use natural fruit juice for flavor (instead of the Jello) and unflavored gelatin from grass-fed cows (yes, it exists and is supposed to be quite healthy for you!) I’m not quite that organic myself, but many are. And I do think they might taste better with real flavors from juice. The Jello ones are a little bland – but a lot of kids won’t care once they make them.

Meanwhile Colin wanted an art lesson since he loves to draw. We picked out a couple clip art images of anime characters and he worked on those while we watched Men in Black II.

During the movie I went and heated up our leftovers from last night’s supper out at Red Lobster. This kid LOVES seafood even though it isn’t something his mom feeds him at home besides the occasional salmon. We had shrimp and crab legs and lobster – and he was so happy he hummed while he ate. Next time he wants to try scallops – which I love, so we’ll get some.

What are Nonna’s for?

And yes, as soon as Ellyn came to pick him up I heard them chattering while packing his bag. All of a sudden Ellyn shouted, “you let him eat ice cream for breakfast?”

I turned back to what I was doing and just smiled to myself.

What a good Nonna I am!!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Patti
    Jul 21, 2015 @ 16:30:56

    Hey My I feel like “LONG LOST” friend!! I just read your post on Colin and the LEGOS!!1 Amazon….here I come….and my daughter-in-law better not KNOW about them either!! Aaaaw, Starr, what a great post enjoyed every word!! And GREAT pointers on how to do it! I have to catch you up on this ridiculous job I have soon! It’s Fred’s birthday today (71….ouch!!)…so I am going to FB to
    leave another PM! Anyway loved this!!! ❤

    Reply

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