Thursday, October 15, 2015

Homemade gummy candy update from Sara


Good morning, Ladies!

Lili and I were talking some more about home-made gummy treats, and she's allowing me a little blog space to update you with some additional information which answers some questions from my original post.

Live and Learn was curious about carrying these gummies in an uncooled backpack or in a hot car situation.  We experimented some with this, and had mixed, but interesting, results.


In our experience, the gummies will travel pretty well in an ice-chest style lunchbox with ice, and moderately well in one without any ice.  As long as they were kept from getting actually "hot", ours seemed to tend to stay firm and gummy, not weep, and not lose their shape for hours... in fact, in two cases, for a couple of days.  I was quite pleased.

Previously-frozen gummies melted in the car on a hot day.
Without any sort of temperature protection, obviously, they didn't fare as well.  In a plastic bag in an un-airconditioned car during a heatwave (I'm not sure of the exact temperature in the car), a half-dozen (previously frozen) gummies almost totally melted to gooey liquid in an hour.  The fruit and fruit juice gummies had not mixed with one another, but they'd melted into one very-liquid mass.  The fruit juice gummies, probably because they were firmer to begin with/had more gelatine proportionally, melted less-completely than the ones with actual fruit; but neither was firm enough to eat with your hands. So, home-made gummies are probably not the best option for an on-the-go snack carried unprotected in a hot climate.

One of the interesting parts of this experiment, however, was that the gummies had held their shape and only gotten slightly melty for the first 45-50 minutes.  Then all the sudden they were liquid at an hour.  The first 20 minutes, I'd actually left them on the sunny dashboard. So, clearly, they can take some heat; but once they're truly too hot, they're going to melt.

Same gummies totally firm again after 20 minutes in the house
 at (not very cool) room temperature.

Even more interesting, however, was what happened when I left the bag of melted gummies on the counter in the house (maybe 75 degrees that day). I came back in 10-15 minutes to find that they had completely re-congealed!  Looking back, I could see that you might re-congeal them in cold conditions, because re-setting gelatin desserts is something most of our grandmothers/mothers knew you could do.  Still, I was very surprised that these gummies firmed up again at (warm) room temperature.  We taste-tested them, and they were not sticky or gooey.  They'd lost a little of their firmness, but were basically "gummy" again (or "jigglers" again, at the very least.)  Neato!

Also, in the original discussion, YHF wondered if home-made gummies could be frozen for later enjoyment. The answer is a resounding "yes!"  We tossed a few from the posted recipe batches into a freezer bag, and left them in the freezer for a couple of weeks.  It wasn't long enough for freezer burn or any real "long-term" damage; but since some foods seem to deteriorate (especially in consistency) from even very short-term freezing, we figured that that was a reasonable introductory test.

We were pleased and a little surprised to find that, after thawing overnight in the refrigerator, our previously-frozen gummies had absolutely no discernible change in either their taste or their consistency.  Both the fruit and fruit juice gummies came out perfect, and they lasted nicely again in the fridge (didn't seem to have any reduction in longevity of freshness) until we sacrificed the last of them to the hot car experiment.

Speaking of longevity, we were frankly amazed at how long these gummies seemed to stay perfectly fresh and wholesome in the refrigerator.  Due to some unexpected changes in plans, we did not eat them nearly as fast as we'd expected to; so the original gummies we didn't freeze must have sat more than 10 days with no noticeable change in texture or smell to indicate that it was time to throw them out.  Everyday I expected to have to, but I never felt it was necessary; and we ate each and every one with relish.  Packaged, artificially-flavored jello has never lasted that long in our house, so I have no idea how long that stays edible.  But one would expect that a product with actual juice and/or fruit, and no real "preservative" would have a more limited refrigerator life.  I'm not suggesting that you leave yours for ages in the fridge (especially since we know they can be frozen), but I did think that this was worth mentioning, at least.

Ginger-Lemon-Honey Gummies

Last, in honor of YHF and the other ginger fans in the group, our latest gummy experiment was a Ginger-Lemon-Honey flavor (only "single" ginger, though, YHF <wink>).  We erred on the side of softer gummies (a family member's preference) in adjusting to make a larger batch than the fruit juice recipe posted before; so if you want the true gumminess, I'd add another half-packet of gelatine at the very least to the amounts below.  Ours were a little more on the "jiggler" side, though still quite sturdy.  The rest of the instructions are the same, except that you may wish to strain the ginger gratings out, especially if your digestion is sensitive to the skin, and you don't peel it before grating.

We thought that these were delicious-- like the ginger broth you might drink when you have a cold.

Ginger-Lemon-Honey Gummies

Juice of 1 lemon
Water to make a total of 2 cups of liquid
1 in. section of fresh ginger root, grated finely (easier to grate, though harder on your grater, if frozen)
3 tablespoons honey

4 packets of gelatine sprinkled in 1/2 cup of room-temperature water

Heat the lemon juice, water, ginger root and honey in a small saucepan and simmer until pungent and slightly reduced.  Meanwhile, soften your gelatine in the cold/room-temperature water.  Strain the ginger liquid, and mix with softened gelatine until completely dissolved. Chill.  Set in an 8x8 square casserole, this batch made us 50 gummies (about 3/4" rounds) and lots of delicious scraps.

Best wishes, everybody!  Sara

32 comments:

  1. You put a LOT of work into answering everybody's questions. Nicely done!

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  2. Hee, hee, Kris. Well, we get a little nerdy about cooking and eating around here sometimes; and I think it can be nice to get a recipe from someone else that's been fully-vetted. Your tastes and/or results might vary, but at least it gives you a better idea if it's worth your even trying.

    Have a great day! Sara :)

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    1. Ooops, Kris, wrong "reply"! Must still be sleepy! LOL

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  3. Oh, yum! Lemon-ginger gummy candy sounds very delicious. Using lemon juice, there are many flavors that could draw from a basic lemon, as you've done here with the ginger. In mid-summer, I love raspberry lemonade, so I'm thinking a raspberry-lemon gummy would be good, as would a mint and lemon (I'm also a big fan of lemon-mint).

    At Cost Plus about a week ago (it's right next to Kohl's, so I always go in to browse and drink their free coffee samples), they had pineapple gummy bears that looked fairly natural. I smiled when I looked at the price tag. Something ridiculous, for such a (what I now know) simple candy to make!

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    1. Ooooooooooooo, great ideas! I think that any flavor you like in jelly (perhaps logically) ought to be delicious in gummies. I think the trick, as we discussed in the original thread, is just to make sure whatever you choose is plenty strong.

      Your lemon-mint sounds really yummy to me, and it ought to be easy to get strong. I'd probably put more lemon juice in that one than we put in this; or you could go subtle on the lemon and really showcase whatever flavor of mint you like best.

      I wish I had some scented geraniums (seems like no one has those anymore!), because I think that those, with an apple cider or lemon juice background, could also make a delightful gummy. :)

      Do you think that all canned pineapple juice and no water would make a strong enough gummy? Pineapple juice is pretty strong. Sara

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    2. Sara, I think canned pineapple juice might be strong enough on its own. Or, one could evaporate some of the liquid on the stove (you'd lose the vitamin C benefit, however). I'd be more inclined to do something like add some bottled lemon juice plus sweetening, to up the flavor.

      I don't know if frozen pineapple juice concentrate is heat treated enough to neutralize the enzymes (so the gelatin would gel). But that would be another test, to use frozen concentrated pineapple juice in gummies, for a pineapple candy. Or, a mix of frozen orange juice concentrate and canned pineapple juice.

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  4. Sara, thanks so much for doing the gummy temperature change experiments for us....really does answer a lot of "what if" questions. Interesting that gelatin can go from the various states, jelled refrigerated to hot liquid, back to jelled, or to frozen and back to jelled, without much loss of gelatin quality. I remember my mother saying that jello (and probably gelatin in general) keeps its shape best if the warm jello mixture is left to cool down to room temperature before setting in the refrigerator. Without knowing the science of these things, my guess is this advice could be applied to our gummy experiment where if the initial liquid to solid change is slowed in making the gummy, the melting to liquid when left in a hot car would be slowed also, and kept longer gummy under slight temperature variance conditions. I know so nerdy to contemplate such things in fine detail lol

    Hope this makes any sense at all...and thank you also for trying out a ginger gummy and for sharing your recipe. That sounds especially soothing as our cold season is upon us. Not triple ginger...but there is always room for more ginger in any recipe!!

    Another thought was coconut gummy like a pineapple gummy that Lili saw at Cost Plus. I had some haupia this morning (leftover from a Hawaiian plate), The thickening agent is cornstarch, however it certainly looks like gelatin. I'm sure a haupia gummy would be interesting or some variation like pina colada gummy hehe

    YHF

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    1. Well, YHF, clearly we're going to be doing some more research on the chemistry of gelatin. You have our curiosity piqued with your hypotheses! It certainly makes some sense, and inquiring minds now DO want to know! :)

      I thought about making the gummies "double" with ground ginger (no crystallized in the house right now, and no time to make any); but frankly, sometimes ground ginger "bits" are a turn-off to me. Now, I WAS planning to sieve, anyway; and I could have made a spice bag to get the flavor without the grit. Obviously, if I had the ginger bits for "triple", I'd have added those after the sieving. (Wow, that sounds REALLY delicious right now, with the crystallized ginger minced realllllllllly fine! Wow! LOL)

      What I really got inspired by in your post was the idea of making a haupia/pina colada gummy. Seems like that would work (we made "regular" gelatin with bottled coconut-pineapple juice once) and be delicious. But how about this.... are you familiar with Chinese almond jelly (creme)? I think that almond jelly (I'm partial to Irene Kuo's old recipe) would make a DELICIOUS, refreshing gummy. Some of us here love almond jelly, but are always too stuffed after a big Chinese meal to enjoy even the traditionally-modest-sized portion. Seems like if you upped the gelatine to make it gummy, and the almond extract to make it strong enough, a few gummies would be a lovely accompaniment after a big meal! Quick... where's the evaporated milk? LOLOL

      And Lili, this actually brings us back to your question about chocolate pudding gummies. You could almost definitely, now that YHF made me think about it, make a chocolate version (with cacao or cocoa powder) of an almond jelly/creme recipe. Our son's eyeing this idea with favor, as well, I think.

      Great ideas! Man cannot live by gummies alone, but with all of these possibilities, I certainly want to eat more of them! Sara

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    2. Oh...do you mean almond float?? Yes, love that jellied treat. In the past I've served it (sliced in cubes) with a can each of fruit cocktail, lychee, and mandarin oranges. Went especially well at picnics, since it is so easy to serve in cups. That's funny, bring on the evaporated milk lol

      Now if you're fusing milk products into gummy, why not mochi rice flour. That would definitely make the gummy extra thick and sticky like the commercial gummies. To get that "mochi" texture, the rice flour must not only be cooked but pounded for hours like kneading wheat flour (cumbersome but a necessary chore to work the dough), but through the miracle of technology the microwave does a good job of replicating the pounding action on mochi, so after a painful 10 minutes of microwave time, wallah you got mochi that took hours of pounding. Why am I saying this?....because imagine gummy made with mochi flour to get that rice stickiness and gelatin to keep it together. Usually the mochi is dense enough that it can hold together by itself, but you couldn't add much else like fruit juices or you will lose the dense cohesiveness. So mochi for chewy sticky and gelatin for keeping it together. I say this because everytime I eat mochi, I think of gummy. In fact there is a gummy rice candy that we ate as little kids, http://www.amazon.com/Botan-Rice-Candy-0-75-Oz/dp/B0002656QK. Plus, there might be an added benefit to adding the mochi flour....it is likely not affected by ambient temperature changes.

      YHF

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    3. YHF, my mom used to buy that candy for my sister and I, when we were children. And I bought it for my own kids. We thought the novelty of eating the "paper" wrapper was cool. They sell that at Cost Plus World Market.

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    4. LOL....I'm sure you remember the super stickiness of that candy, far exceeding any gummy. We loved eating the paper wrapper first, letting that melt in the mouth, then the candy.

      YHF

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    5. YHF, if you could come up with the Botan Rice Candy recipe, my whole family might fly to the islands to hug you! (though it'd probably be more practical just to make the stuff. LOL) I still remember the first time I had it, and was told to put the paper in my mouth. I had no idea why. :)

      Back to your idea, though, seems like it would be an interesting idea to try and incorporate mochi. I've not worked with it for candy (think I did use it for cake a couple of times, though... isn't there a traditional mochi cake?); so I don't know much about its properties. It DOES seem like it might increase the portability of the finished product, if you COULD get the two substances to blend completely.

      Oh, and I'd say we're probably talking about the same almond dessert. It's normally served with a lychee and/or some mandarins (a lychee in the center with mandarin "petals" is pretty in a round dessert dish), but we don't normally cube it. That's a neat idea. I just really like the subtle, smooth flavor, and think it makes a lovely "finish" to a heavy meal (if we haven't already overdone too much to enjoy it!)

      I'll put you and your hubby in charge of these new gummy innovations, unless I decide to do a simple almond creme gummy for dessert when I have the neighbors over for Chinese.

      Have a great day. :) Sara

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    6. You get me all excited, so I type faster than I think, YHF... I meant "more practical to just BUY it". LOLOL Sara

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    7. I have lots of mochi flour on my shelf...and when I have some extra kitchen time (may not be this year since we're gearing up for stocking my dad's food while we're away...imagine peeling, cutting and boiling/freezing 60 lbs of carrots), I'll try making some rice candy/gummies. Should be interesting. You're right about melding the mochi and gelatin....I think the trick might be the right ratio of mochi flour to water, instead of 1:1 as in making mochi, I'll try 1:2, then 1:3, etc. who knows if it is possible but again would be an interesting experiment. That's what I love about kitchen time...playing mad scientist lol

      YHF

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    8. Sounds like a good plan for sometime you have a little time to fool around in the kitchen. Doesn't sound like anytime soon, though. Good luck with all your preps for your dad. Hope that they all go smoothly and as quickly as possible.

      Triple ginger-lemon-honey gummies woudn't take you longer than about a half-hour, though. You might be able to fit a batch of those in sometime sooner.

      Take care-- Sara

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    9. Yes, I will find 30 minutes to try your ginger-lemon-honey gummy recipe, sounds too good to put off til next year!!

      Take care yourself, Sara....nice chatting with you :)

      YHF

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  5. Very interesting experiments, Sara. Thanks for the effort in answering our questions.

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    1. You're welcome, Live and Learn. It sounds like YHF might really have something eventually with the possibility of adding mochi to make them more temperature-tolerant.

      But we were really quite pleased overall with how well these held up under "sloppy" handling conditions during travel in relatively warm weather. Seems like with "reasonable" protection from exterior heat, they ought to usually do okay. Nice to know for roadtrips and dayhikes.

      Thanks for asking and getting us wondering! :) Have a good one! Sara

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  6. My granddaughter will be over this weekend to work on her school project. She has a project that requires working with clay so she wanted to do the project with me at our house. After the project, I'll ask her to help me with the gummy ginger and maybe if there is time, the gummy mochi. She'll be a good kitchen helper with this experiment. Stay tuned!!

    Thanks so much for your guidance :) Have a nice weekend.

    YHF

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    1. This sounds fun, YHF! Hope the the clay project is a resounding success, and that any cooking you do also has great results!

      You enjoy your weekend, too! Sara

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    2. Thank you for your well wishes...she's working very hard on her clay project still, from yesterday. I helped her brainstorm ideas for her doodle4google contest project. Her teacher turned that contest into a classroom assignment and a potential contest entry. Top prize is a $30K scholarship. Yesterday, I sneaked in some kitchen time while she was worked out ideas for her doodle on paper yesterday. While frying a batch of bean patties, I tinkered with your ginger/honey/lemon recipe and tweaked it by adding 1:1 mochi rice flour to your recipe. Since I knew I would have to make several trial batches to get the right mochi/gelatin mix, I made the first batch using only 1 packet of gelatin and cutting the water to 5/8 cup (one fourth of your recommended water), yet keeping the rest of the ingredients same. The mistake I made was not cutting the microwave time down by a fourth, and before I knew it the batter burned into a solid hard black mass!!! It smoked up the entire house and my granddaughter kept saying don't you have a smoke alarm!!! Yes, very good question, we'll have to check into that. I normally don't multitask in the kitchen as you now can see why. I made a second batch, using the same 1 packet gelatin, 5/8 cup water and 5/8 c mochi flour ratio, but cut down the microwave time and lowered the power 80%. We recently bought a "new to us" microwave from Savers (good deal $25 for a Panasonic 1250w Inverter), No burning this time, the result was very mochi like and I could hardly taste the ginger. But my husband was impressed with your recipe (smell and taste) up to adding the mochi which dulled the taste of the cooked result. He said it tasted neither like mochi nor gummy candy. I googled Botan rice candy and ginger chew recipes and found out some interesting ways of tweaking your recipe further. Some suggested baking the mochi flour mixture instead of microwaving (might help it be less pliable like mochi), using "maltese" which is a thickening agent in chinese cooking, and upping the sugar content which I don't think is that great. I might try another attempt, increasing the gelatin and using less mochi flour. I have the mochi/gelatin "coins" (shaped in circles and dusted with potato flour) sitting on the countertop overnight and tried some this morning. Definitely a thicker chewy adding gelatin than mochi which is a soft chewy.

      YHF

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    3. OOOOOOO, this is so fascinating, YHF! Love all the details and ideas!

      I wonder if the mochi has more of a "deadening" effect on the taste than gelatine, or if it's just a compounding thing with the gelatine also diluting the original flavor?

      Sorry about the first batch of mochi. That must have smelled pretty weird! You did tell me that you don't multi-task, but anyone might have trouble remembering to cut the microwave time down with the recipe amounts. Wouldn't have occurred to me (but I don't microwave.)

      Definitely update when you get a chance to try something else!! We're so curious about this! Good luck to your granddaughter on her creative endeavors, too! Best-- Sara :)

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    4. Definitely mochi flour is the culprit, yet it gave the gummy its characteristic stretchiness. My husband said I'm on the right track but increase the ginger, and sugar OK. A day later the taste and texture improved somewhat I think. I'm going to ration what's left and eat a gummy a day and see if the taste and texture continues to improve. Maybe my senses were dulled sampling too many gummies on the first day. The gummies are being left on the countertop, no refrigeration at all yet.

      Thanks for the well wishes...she worked so hard on it, yet when I told her I was making Tang gummy, she was very curious how to make it. Because of limited time the mixture went from stove to the freezer. The gummies were more like jigglers and melted very quickly. I'm going to have to perfect it so she doesn't think it can't be done lol

      YHF

      YHF

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    5. Day 3 and the tummies still required no refrigeration at all. Taste and texture definitely improved. I think adding mochi flour in lieu of refrigeration does work and I would continue using the microwave instead of baking. Easier, less time and electrical usage. Because mochi is sticky you would have to use a fine starch to hand shape the gummies...hence the flattened rounds.

      YHF

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    6. Wow, YHF, this is so interesting! Sounds like mochi might be a good option for Live and Learn and others of us who have travel/picnic lunch issues. Changes the dietary content a little, as well; but probably still a reasonable option for most people, since it's a treat/dessert, not real "food".

      Could you just let this set flat and cut them up into squares or something simple? Or do you have to shape them? (I'm not visualizing the result too clearly yet.)

      Can't wait to hear your next update! :) Sara

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    7. Hi Sara,

      I froze some gummies to see how they hold up. Wonderful, it softens in my mouth very quickly and tastes like they were never frozen in taste and texture. Mochi doesn't require refrigeration but does get hard and loses its freshness after awhile. Usually I freeze mochi so I can see freezing mochi gummies for preservation. But at least I can take these along on trips without worrying about it melting. For this experiment i used packets of gelatin that were sitting on my shelf for ages. The waxed envelopes were turning brown, yet the contents were not discolored and swelled nicely when mixed with water. (Gelatin does last forever!!)

      Unfortunately, I don't know another way to shape the mochi other than shaping it with my fingers. It comes out of the microwave super hot. I immediately scrape it out of the glass bowl onto a floured board. If you wait too long the mochi will stick to the bowl and you'll lose much of its content. Using a silicone spatula I can scrape the bowl clean and wash up is easier too. It is not like baked mochi where you can cut it with a knife. But by not baking I think the result is a soft chewy. I don't mind plain round flour dusted gummies. Corn starch is ok if you don't have a lighter potato starch. Next batch I'm going to double the gelatin and ginger!! I'm hoping the texture will be more gummy and less pliable, yet because I am cooking the gelatin with the mochi, no refrigeration will be needed even with less mochi.

      YHF

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    8. Day 4, not good The few pieces I had on the countertop (in a pyrex covered container) went bad. Normally mochi will last a few days out, although I usually freeze immediately what we don't eat that day. This could be because of the high amount of handling, even though my fingers were coated with starch. I do believe the less you handle this the better. I was trying to make perfect gum drop sized gummies, so I spent an unusual amount of time fidgeting. I ate the frozen gummies this morning, still very yummy.

      My plan now is to cut the cooled mochi gelatin in strips, then lightly roll it in starch and cut crosswise into mouthsize pieces. Won't look pretty but I'm sure this way the gummies might last a week at least.

      YHF

      YHF

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    9. Darn, sorry you lost some of your pieces. I assume that the other things we're introducing to the mochi are the perishable things. Maybe all we can hope for is something durable enough for short-term room-temp travel/picnic options??

      We looked at baked mochi recipes today (and got REALLY hungry! :) ) No one remembers the mochi cake I made years ago, so it might be time to buy a little more mochi flour and do some more experimenting.

      I make such a high percentage of our snacks, I'd welcome a baked version of mochi that I wouldn't have to shape. We'd eat them too fast to feel like shaping them was worth the time. I do like your idea of how to make a slightly less-perfect shaped version, though. That sounds like maybe a good compromise.

      Best-- Sara

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    10. So cute that you have a good appetite and a lot of different foods get you hungry lol

      I'm hooked on your ginger lemon honey recipe and crave for that taste. I'm thinking of doing a straight ginger mochi and see how that turns out too.

      Best to you too

      YHF

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    11. YHF--

      Glad someone else is enjoying the ginger recipe. We sure did, but it's a flavor combo we like in general.

      Life is full of lots of great things to eat, nice people to meet, beautiful places to explore; so we figure, why not explore, embrace and enjoy them! :) Sara

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  7. oops..not maltese (dog) but maltose. Not a thickening agent either but a sugar. http://radmegan.com/2011/03/homemade-ginger-chews.html

    YHF

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    1. Thanks for the clarification, but I think I'll skip BOTH the Maltese and the maltose and look for other options. ;) And I'm with you. I don't think more sugar would be my top pick of the potential options, either.

      Sara

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.