Wednesday 12 December 2018

Christmas Gum Drops and How I Do Christmas Baking

     I think I approach Christmas baking a little differently from others. Christmas was a huge family event growing up and involved large extended families on both my parents' sides. As such, all bakers in the family would throw all of their baking magic into the week before Christmas where they would power bake as many of the best Christmas recipes they could think of. My mom has not attended Christmas without her sugar cookies, shortbread, or butter tarts. 

     I both loved and hated this approach as I got older. There's nothing better then staring at a dessert table full of beautiful baked goods. However, after a large Christmas dinner, you're lucky if you are still hungry enough to enjoy one or two of those Christmas goodies. All those treats sit out, then go in to tupperware, are given away to a dozen different relatives on their way out the door, and usually spend the next week or so going stale as we all plot our new health plans for the new year. SO SAD for the cookies.

So instead I have a general rule that I bake one type of Christmas cookie/treat starting late November or early December. Once its gone then I bake another. It takes away that glutinous feeling at Christmas when your eyes get as large as those apple pies, because you've been slowly snacking on Christmas treats for the past month. Restraint is still totally key in this plan. I'm a 'have one or two to satisfy the craving' type. I usually don't go back for more because I've filled the void and I genuinely don't want anymore. My husband on the other hand is the reason I'm able to bake more than one Christmas treat during December....he just keeps eating them. If you fall into this camp and are avoiding sweets this probably isn't a good Christmas baking strategy for you. What I have found though is that this allows me to enjoy ALL the Christmas treats in some capacity without trying to trick my body into believing its not actually that full on Christmas day in front of that treat table.

So far this month we've had brownies (I just had a serious craving), sugar cookies, and now these beauties. CHRISTMAS GUM DROPS! They are actually pretty good. Definitely a jellyish consistency and I think my heart was set on like a swedish berry texture....definitely not what you get in this recipe, but still pretty delicious.

This is a new recipe this year for me and when I found it on Pinterest (link to recipe below) I was intrigued by the whole 'make these with kids' idea. As a new mom I'm already anticipating all the great baking and crafts I'll get to do with my kids. Its not at all weird that I'm test-running a few ideas years before Eli is old enough to be in the kitchen with me right?

Here was the process (specific directions in the recipe link below):

Two boxes of jello, two packs of gelatin, a whole lot of sugar and applesauce, with a little lemon juice. Mix and bring to a boil on the stove stirring the whole time. The foaminess on top had no effect on the finished product. I totally screwed up and didn't buy enough jello (one pack lime and one pack strawberry, obviously for two batches in Christmas colours) so I ended up mixing the two jello packs. Thus, I ended up with a strawberry-lime flavour red gum drops. Not at all complaining about the flavour....would definitely do it again the same way.

As soon as it boils it gets poured into a 9x13 baking dish or pyrex (grease it first with baking spray). Refrigerate for minimum 3 hours. I ended up leaving it over night to let the gelatin really set. Then you peel it out of the pyrex and flip it over onto a sugared piece of parchment paper.

Then the obvious kids part! You find the cutest mini cookie cutters you can and set your children to work cutting out your gum drops.

Here's some cute mini cookie cutters I found. I ended up using a few that I already had.

They are pretty sticky so naturally you roll them in sugar!!! Also the kids part!


Be sure to play Christmas music for these parts. Once they are sugared they don't stick to anything anymore so they can be stored all together in a pretty tin and brought to your next holiday event to share around.

Here's the link to the original recipe (at least the one I used). She also recommends letting the gumdrops sit out at room temperature for 8 hours before rolling them in sugar....I didn't do this and still found them good, but will definitely be doing this for the next batch.

- Katie


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