The first time I met Casey Barber I was so psyched to interview her for the podcast and when we bonded over peeling the marshmallow coconut skin off of Sno-balls, I knew she was exactly the person you’d want on your side for DIY snacks. At that point, her book, Classic Snacks Made From Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-name Treats, was in its earliest stages and I have been anticipating it ever since.
Classic Snacks Made From Scratch is full-color, has that lay-flat binding that I wish was required of every cookbook, and is packed with gorgeous photos. The one thing that really stuck out to me is how simple the recipes are, in the best way. I certainly never imagined that it was possible to make Corn Nuts at home, let alone with only four ingredients, but Casey makes it happen.
I have seriously fond memories of globby tapioca pudding on fast-food salad bars (remember when Wendy’s had a salad bar?!), but am slighty embarrassed to admit that I had never thought about making it myself. The recipe in Classic Snacks Made From Scratch made me realize that tapioca is basically the easiest pudding to make ever. I successfully cooked some up while multi-tasking (not my strong point) and it totally took me back.
I had a minor freak-out when I realized there was a recipe for homemade Sour Patch Kids in the book. I’m just the sort of weirdo that has citric acid and copious amount of powdered gelatin stashed in my pantry, so these also came together so easily. (If you’re not my sort of weirdo, there’s a really helpful resources section at the back of the book to help you find stuff like citric acid.) The instructions and recipe headnotes in Classic Snacks Made From Scratch include phrases like, “The sugar will form a big, scary, hard clump when it hits the gelatin, but don’t worry,” which is exactly how I want to be talked to when dealing with anything that’s 300 degrees. In other words, the book is totally approachable.
To celebrate the launch of Classic Snacks Made From Scratch, I have one copy to give away. Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win by 5pm ET on Friday, February 22nd (US and Canadian entries only and one entry per person, please). I will choose a winner at random.
Sour Patch Kids
- For the Jellies
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime, lemon, or orange juice or bottled cherry juice
- 1/2 t citric acid
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 4 (1/4 ounce) envelopes powdered unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 T powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1 T granulated sugar
- 1/2 t citric acid
- MAKE THE JELLIES: Whisk the fruit juice and citric acid with 1/4 cup water in a 2-quart straight-sided saucepan until the granules are fully dissolved. Sprinkle the gelatin as evenly as possible over the surface; it will absorb the liquid on it own without whisking or stirring.
- Whisk the sugar with the remaining 1/4 cup water in a separate straight-sided saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, uncovered, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves. When the liquid starts to bubble, stop stirring and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook undisturbed until the sugar reaches 300 degrees on the thermometer. You'll notice the liquid thicken to a more syrupy texture as the boiling slows and the bubbles become less "furious"--but a thermometer is the most surefire way to know when you've reaches the right temperature without undercooking or overshooting.
- Carefully pour the hot sugar into the gelatin and place the saucepan over medium-low heat. The sugar will form a big, scary, hard clump when it hits the gelatin, but don't worry: gently and continuously stir over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, and it will soften and dissolve until there are no more clear lumpy bits. If the liquid starts to boil, lower the heat.
- Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square glass baking dish and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- COAT THE CANDIES: Whisk the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl, and whisk the granulated sugar and citric acid together in another small bowl. Set aside.
- Set a wire cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet, making sure the rack fits comfortably inside the "walls" of the sheet.
- Lightly dust a cutting board with powdered sugar, spreading it with your hand to make an even dusting. Carefully lift a corner of the set gelatin block and peel the candy out of the pan and onto the cutting board. Flip over once so that both sides have a fine coating of sugar. Slice into a dozen 1/2 inch strips and cut each strip into 5 candies, each about 1 1/4 inches long.
- If the candies are starting to "weep" and get goopy and sticky first dredge them in the cornstarch-powdered sugar mixture, a few at a time, tapping on the side of the bowl to remove excess powder. Then toss them in the sugar-citric acid mixture. If the candies are dry to the touch, simply coat them in the citric acid mixture.
- Let the coated candies dry for 8 hours on the cooling rack until the coating is hard and crunchy.
- Store the candies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.