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The ideal goal is to replicate something similar to Welch's Fruit Snacks. We want something that is firm, flavorful, and not sticky. Has anyone come up with a delicious fruit snack recipe?

Here is what has been attempted:

Mix ingredients on medium heat in saucepan until fully dissolved. Pour into mold (ice cube tray is what we we're using), let sit for 20 minutes (we put it in the fridge for 20+). We used the same process for the following:

Experiment 1

  • 2 packets (0.25 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 can Fruit Punch 100% fruit juice concentrate

Experiment 2

  • 2 packets (0.25 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 can Fruit Punch 100% fruit juice concentrate
  • 1/2 ounce sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 ounce corn starch

Experiment 3

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 packets (0.25 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 packet (3 oz) Strawberry-Banana Jell-o

So all of the experiments ended up sticky, difficult to pry from the ice cube tray. Experiment 2 was delicious, but didn't feel like a fruit snack.

What can be done to improve consistency (make it more solid) and decrease stickiness?

Update

Experiment 4

  • 2 packets (0.25 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 can Fruit Punch 100% fruit juice concentrate
  • 1/2 ounce sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 ounce corn starch
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Experiment 4 was definitely less sticky, and didn't take much work to get it out of the ice cube tray! I also took the advice from an answer below and poured some of the contents into a corn starch mold, unfortunately the exterior of the fruit snack became hard from the corn starch, and was not a pleasure to consume. Going into this I had no knowledge of how much coconut oil to put in, and the fruit snacks had little bits of coconut oil in them, so I think I'll try to decrease the amount for the next experiment.

Update 2

Experiment 5

  • 2 packets (0.25 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 can Fruit Punch 100% fruit juice concentrate
  • 1/2 ounce sugar in the raw
  • 1/4 ounce corn starch
  • 1 tsp pectin

Experiment 6

  • 2 packets (0.25 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 can Fruit Punch 100% fruit juice concentrate
  • 1 ounce sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp pectin

Experiment 5 & 6 are still not quite there yet. They still are somewhat sticky in the trays. I've also recently learned that it's best to add each ingredient and mix it in individually, instead of adding them all and trying to mix all together. I've had issues trying to get the corn starch/pectin to dissolve.

I encourage everyone to try to make some of these using the experiments so you can see what we're producing, and that may also help come up with further ideas to generate an excellent fruit snack!

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What are the ingredients in the packaged Fruit Snacks? –  Eli Lansey May 13 '13 at 14:13
    
1  
Right, I think it has something to do with the mysterious "modified corn starch". –  ardavis May 13 '13 at 16:04
    
Or the coconut oil/carnauba wax? –  Eli Lansey May 13 '13 at 19:01
2  
The carnuba wax is almost certainly a releasing treatment for the molds, I would bet, rather than an actual ingredient in the body of the item. –  SAJ14SAJ May 13 '13 at 20:37
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1 Answer

This, I confess, is just a guess—I'd suggest adding some pectin.

Pectin is a thickener that occurs naturally in fruit, but its likely absent entirely in the fruit juice you've been using. However, it's probably present in the fruit purée used in the commercial products.

Pectin is, for example, the primary (if not only) jelling agent in jam, jelly, and preserves. In the store, Sure-Jell and Certo are common brands.

I'd try to get HM pectin (the one that isn't sold as "low sugar") to set first. It'll probably provide a firmer fruit snack. LM pectin may work, too, if you don't have enough sugar (I doubt insufficient acidity will be an issue).

I suggest, as an alternative to ice cube trays, use cornstarch molding. Basically, you press an indentation into cornstarch, and then pour the stuff in. Let it cool & dry in the cornstarch. Then remove the cornstarch. You can re-use the dry part of the cornstarch. This will deal with the stickyness, but the finish will be more matte.

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Just picked up some Pectin, going to retry Experiment #2 but using Pectin instead of Corn Starch. Any recommendation for how much to put in? –  ardavis May 17 '13 at 14:54
    
@ardavis no idea, maybe start with the package recommendation for making jelly? –  derobert May 17 '13 at 15:30
    
Worth a shot, that's what experiments are for! I'll try this evening after work. Thanks :) –  ardavis May 17 '13 at 16:59
    
The finish on the fruit snacks is matted too if I'm not mistaken, so that's a great idea. –  BigHomie May 20 '13 at 12:43
    
We tried the corn starch molding, but the finish on the fruit snacks was very hard and not pleasurable to eat. –  ardavis May 20 '13 at 13:54
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