Carb-Counted DRAGON BITES Recipe:
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simple recipe for families LIVING WELL with type 1 diabetes.
Healthy Halloween Gummies
Low Carb or High… You Choose
A low carb, zero-fat alternative to commercial gummies, these healthy home-made gummies contain only natural fruit sugars, and can be completely customized using your favourite ready-made or home-made smoothies. For a quick and super easy recipe, you need only 2 ingredients! We’ve also included an adaptation here for a higher-glucose version that you can use as a home-made treatment for low blood sugar.
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But the fun starts when you make the gummies into your child’s favourite shapes… bears and bats, witches and werewolves, black cats and purple skulls… the choice is yours! Or for a less creepy, autumn-inspired treat, how about creating some fall leaves and pumpkins in orange, red and purple? Let your family’s creativity go wild… then enjoy the yummy result!
(Recipe inspired by NeuroTrition Inc. and shared by FitNutrition.ca)
Gluten-free? Yes, naturally GF
Dairy-free? Yes, if you use dairy-free smoothie (But the recipe is NOT Vegan, as the gummies contain gelatine, an animal product)
Active Time: 20-40 mins
Set: 15-60 mins
Ready in: as little as 1 hour
Total Yield: depends on size and shape of gummies made – I made 39 pumpkins (each 3.5 cm = 1 ½ inch wide) from 1 cup of juice
Carb Content:depends on size and shape of gummies made – each of my orange pumpkins had 0.5 g carbs.
- 1 cup of liquid – your choice of:
- Fruit Smoothie 1 (store bought or home-made) in orange, red, blue or purple colour
- Orange Juice 2 (for orange gummies)
- Carrot Juice 3 (optional – for orange gummies)
- Grape Juice 4 (for purple or black gummies)
Avoid pineapple, kiwi and mango juice/smoothie, as the acidity may prevent the gelatine from setting.
- 4 Tbsp (4 x 7 g-packets) powdered gelatine 5
- Colouring (optional): 6
For purple gummies:
- 2-4 drops of pink, red and/or blue food colouring OR
- Juice of Purple Cabbage (amount depends on the final shade that you want – adjust the amount of juice/smoothie to not exceed 1 cup of liquid)
For black gummies:
- 2-4 drops of black food colouring OR
- 1/4 tsp of food grade activated charcoal
- Glucose Powder (optional, to make home-made low treatments) 7
You will also need:
- Silicone Gummy/Candy Mold(s) in desired shapes and sizes
- Plastic pipette / eye dropper, or small spoon
- Cooking spray
- I used ready-made Bolthouse Farms Red GoodnessTM Fruit Juice Smoothie for the red leaves: 31 g available carbs, 0.2 g fat per cup
- For the orange pumpkins and leaves, I used ½ cup PC Blue Menu Orange Juice with Calcium and Vitamin D, which has 29 g of carbs per cup; 0 fat PLUS…
- …½ cup Bolthouse Farms 100% Carrot Vegetable Juice: 13 g of carbs per cup; 0 fat.
Tip from the Trenches:
I added the carrot juice to deepen the colour of the orange juice (which was a light yellow-orange to start) – they turned out a beautiful, rich, orange hue! There is, however, a faint carrot taste in the final product (which we didn’t mind, but…) if this is a turn off for your family, you could instead add a drop or two of red food colouring to the orange juice – or simply enjoy the lighter orange colour of the unaltered O.J.!
- I used Welch’s 100% Grape Juice: 42 g of carbs per cup; 0 fat.
- I used Knox Gelatine packets: 0 carbs; 0 fat.
- I used Wilton Color RightTM Food Colour Mixture: 2 drops of Black in ½ cup of grape juice for black gummies, or 4 drops of Pink in 1 cup of grape juice for purple gummies. (0 carbs; 0 fat)
Tip from the Trenches:
Most recipes for healthy gummies use activated charcoal to make black skulls, bats, cats and other Halloween-themed creatures. However, activated charcoal is used to absorb toxins from the stomach; if you or someone you know has a food allergy, you may have seen it used in emerg after accidental ingestion of that allergen, to absorb it and so reduce the allergic reaction. It is also known to affect absorption of some medications. Since insulin action and the rate of food digestion are intricately linked for our T1D kids, I didn’t want to upset the balance and thereby risk any unintended BG extremes, so chose not to use activated charcoal in this recipe. That being said, I have found no evidence that using charcoal would cause problems for those with T1D. If you have experience with this compound and T1D, I’d love to hear about it. ~Michelle
- I didn’t add glucose to this batch, but one brand of glucose/dextrose powder that I have found at my local Asian supermarket is Dutch® Baby brand Glucose (Dextrose).
- Lightly spray the candy mold with cooking spray, dabbing at any “pools” to remove excess oil. (Make sure to prep the molds before going on to the next step, as you will need to work quickly once you mix the gelatine.) Place the molds on a cookie sheet or cutting board for easy transfer to the fridge (in step 6).
- In a 2-cup measuring cup or small glass bowl, heat ½ cup of liquid for about 30 seconds in the microwave. (If you prefer, you can heat it for a few minutes in a small saucepan on the stove (medium heat), removing it from the heat before it boils.) For example, for the purple and black gummies, I heated ½ cup of grape juice.
- Add any optional glucose powder (see Tip from the Trenches in step 7 below) and/or colouring to the heated liquid. For example, for the purple gummies I added 4 drops of pink Food Colour Mixture to the heated grape juice. Or for black gummies, instead of pink add 2 drops of black Food Colour Mixture to the heated grape juice.
4. While the heated juice is cooling, “bloom” the gelatine: gradually whisk all 4 packets of gelatine into the remaining ½ cup of (cool) liquid, making sure to scrape all the gelatine granules from the bottom and sides of the container. For example, for the purple and black gummies, I mixed the gelatine into ½ cup room temperature grape juice. The mixture will thicken, taking on a grainy paste-like texture. If it doesn’t thicken as you are mixing, let stand for up to 5 minutes to allow it to “bloom.”
While this may seem like extra work (and though most recipes suggested just mixing all the gelatine into the entire amount of warm liquid), I find that it really makes a difference in terms of the final consistency of the gel, as the dry gelatine granules don’t dissolve as smoothly as the “bloomed” gelatine does.
5. Gently whisk the warm liquid into the bloomed gelatine mixture until all gelatine is completely dissolved. Whisking too vigorously may create a bubbly foam on top (especially for the grape juice!), which will make the next step slightly harder. Though if a foam is created, no worries – you can work around it, or simply skim it off the top before moving on to the next step.
6.Using a plastic pipette (or a small spoon), fill each cavity in the silicone mold with the gel mixture until level or slightly heaping. The pipette helps to get gel into the corners and tiny features of the mold. You need to work fairly quickly, as the mixture in the cup will start to set as it cools, making it harder to pipe in. Keep track of any unused gel mixture, for accurate carb counting.
7. If you want to make black gummies from the same batch, once you’ve used about half of the mixture, add 2 drops of black Food Colour Mixture to the remaining mixture. Continue filling the molds.
8. To set the gelatine, place the filled molds into the freezer for 15 min (or into the fridge for 60 min).
9. Once set, unmold the gummies by flipping the mold over a serving dish and shaking gently until gummies fall out. If needed, gently push on the back side of the mold to coax them out. To prevent ripping, it may help to start with the “delicate” features – for example, I pushed the cat tails out before the rest of the body. If they still don’t slip out, carefully loosen the gummies by running a tip of a sharp knife around the edges. Or dip the bottom of the mold into warm water for about 5 seconds. (NOT hot water! or the gummies will melt – I learned this the hard way and ended up with several bat puddles.)
10. Store any uneaten gummies in an air-tight container in the fridge for about 3 days.
DETAILED CARB / FAT CONTENT:
Total yield: 1 cup of orange/carrot juice gel made 24 medium pumpkin gummies and 96 small leaf gummies (312g finished weight) with a total of 84g carbs and 0 fat.
Nutrient Content for Each Gummy: depends completely on the size of each gummy, which varied widely for my batch. To give you an idea, for 1g of carbs you would need to eat 2 pumpkins (each had just over 0.5g of carbs), or 12 small leaves (4 of them make up just a third of a gram of carbs).
In this case, calculating the carb content of multiple gummies may be easier using the Weight method…
Nutrient Content by Weight: 100g serving of orange gummies contain 7g of carbs and 0g of fat, which means:Carb Factor = 0.07
Purple and Black Gummies:
Total yield: 1 cup of grape juice made various shapes and sizes of both purple and black gummies, with a finished weight of 230g and containing 42g carbs total, 0 fat.
Nutrient Content by Weight: 100g serving of grape juice gummies contains 18g of carbs and 0g of fat, which means:Carb Factor = 0.18
More on Carb Factoring:What is a carb factor and how do I use it to count carbs?
By cup or by weight???Advanced Carb Counting
Should I Give Insulin to Cover the Fat???Reducing Post-Meal Spikes Caused by Fat & Protein
Please don’t rely exclusively on my carb counting! Nutritional information is given for general information only, and will vary depending on the amount, type and brand of ingredients you choose – Please verify your carb and fat content when you make your own version of this recipe.
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