Better for You Candy (Gone Bad)

At the Boulder Canyon office it’s definitely easy to satisfy our salt cravings. However, we have a sweet tooth too which is often neglected and the reason why I was determined to cook up a healthier, more natural candy this past weekend for Halloween.

Disclaimer: Before I go any further, let me assure you that I am not at all involved in the actual making of our delicious chips – I just tell you about them.

Strawberries are one of my favorite foods so I decided to try concocting jelly strawberry candies. My Google search led me to a recipe on About.com for Double Fruit Jellies that looked easy enough.


  • 12 tbsp sugar, separated
  • 2/3 cup strawberry juice (see note)
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 8 tbsp corn syrup, separated
  • 8 tbsp unflavored gelatin, separated
  • Food coloring, optional

I decided to start with the strawberry candies and try the pineapple only if the strawberry jellies proved successful. However, after going through the process of martyring my beautiful rosy red strawberries to obtain their juice, I wished that I had started with the pineapple.

In an effort to make the recipe healthier, I decided to substitute Stevia for sugar, coconut syrup for corn syrup in Round 1 and honey in Round 2, and xanthan gum for gelatin. If you’re an avid cook or baker, you’re probably wincing and/or laughing at these substitutions because, needless to say, things didn’t really work out.

Round 1: I mixed together strawberry juice, Stevia, and coconut syrup and put it on medium heat on the stove. I then added gelatin to this batch just to see how it would taste with the right consistency. Unfortunately, I don’t think anything could have helped the taste of this mix. The Stevia tasted artificial and the coconut was overpowering.

On to Round 2: Instead of coconut syrup, I used honey and instead of gelatin, I used xanthan gum. While the honey slightly improved the taste, the xanthan gum left me with a pasty pink salad dressing that would likely suffocate and destroy even the best tasting salad. Perhaps I should have searched harder for a gelatin substitute, such as agar?

At this point, I decided to give up for the evening as I didn’t think I could taste another sugary treat gone bad. (It also really made me appreciate our Boulder Canyon chip taste tests.)

Do you have any advice or ideas on better ingredients, tastier recipes or healthier sweets that our office would enjoy?