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So I'm able to make my gummy bear recipe just fine. Its just a simple mix of the following:

1/2 Cup water
1/4 Corn Syrup
1 6oz package of Jell-O Brand gelatin
2 packages of gelatin (Out of the four pack boxes)

I'm assuming you know how to make this recipe into bears at this point as this question isn't about the recipe more so the coating. However this recipe is from the ever so popular gummy bear video on YouTube found here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3_dV-e4d9c

So the bears are made, chilled, came out great. No issues. Except they're definitely not AS clear as the YouTube video, but again not really the point. Taste fine, and are firm.

So, I add a PURE sugar coating, let them sit out for a day, and harden up. They're good to go. Its a solid dry sugar coating similar to sour patch kids, or those little orange or cherry slices you get at the gas station.

However I wanted to create some type of sour coating similar to sour patch kids. I tried buying this product here:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/UBO-Citric-Acid-7-5-Ounce-USA/647638748

Its Ball Jar brand Citric Acid. I added this to a 1:3 ratio of citric acid to sugar, and then coated my gummy bears. After letting sit out for a day to dry up and harden, i come back to the gummy bears looking wet, sticky, and not easily handled.

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice to solve this problem. Its my first time posting here, so hopefully someone can help. :P

  • Citric acid is extremely water soluble: 147.76 g/100mL (20 °C): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citric_acid It has probably pulled moisture out of your gelatin and gotten itself damp. AFAIK there is no cure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might be a better choice as it's water solubility runs only around 40g/100ml – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 19 '17 at 23:47
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I've never eaten soft sour candies. Is the sugared coating sour too or just the body of the candy?

The reason your candies became sticky is citric acid is generally sold in the anhydrous form. Citric acid exists in anhydrous and monohydrate forms. In the anhydrous form, it's plain citric acid with no water molecule attached. Monohydrate form has a single water molecule attached to the single citric acid molecule.

The anhyrdous form of citric acid is hygroscopic - which means it attracts and absorbs water from surrounding air. I don't know if there's anything that can be done at this point since anything you tried to dry them (like heating them) would only melt the Gummi bears. And they'd only rehydrate afterward in anything you did that succeeded in driving off the water. It's the nature of citric acid. I use citric acid and keep mine in a glass jar with a tight lid and a few packs of silica gel to absorb moisture and it still tends to clump.

Why not remelt the batch treated with citric acid and make slightly sour ones but coated only with sugar.

  • So how do sour patch kids achieve their sour without becoming all wet inside the package? – J. Robinson Jun 18 '17 at 1:52
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    It's possible they use citric acid monohydrate as that wouldn’t attract water. I honestly have no idea if consumers can buy citric acid in that form. Every time I bought citric acid, it was the anhydrous form. – Jude Jun 18 '17 at 3:23
  • Interesting. I just read more about citric acid and learned a lot. Thanks. Citric acid monohydrate is easy enough to buy on Amazon but the only one I could find costs about twice as much as the anhydrous. – Sobachatina Jun 18 '17 at 3:58
  • @Jude If they can't buy it, they can probably make it by adding the right number of moles of water to their anhydrous citric acid, shaking madly, then allowing a few days for things to move to equilibrium. – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 19 '17 at 23:51
  • @Wayfaring Stranger I don't think it works like that. When the anhydrous form absorbs water, it gets hard. Adding even a little water and shaking like crazy, it would soon harden that way too. – Jude Jun 20 '17 at 5:15
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For some reason, I always thought alum was used, but guess I was wrong. A few looks around gave different answers, but it seems that different acids are used in cases, citric acids mixed with sugar being one option. Others include malic tartaric acids (food grade only). Malic may be a more stable unless you really want the more lemon like test or citric. Malic is considered a bit more of a sour apple taste.

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