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CHEF JESS: Boozy bears

These boozy little bears are a fun way to enjoy your wine. (Photo by Jessica Karley Rerick 1 / 3
Silicone molds are used to shape the gelatin mixture into gummy bear shapes. (Photo by Jessica Karley Rerick) 2 / 3
The bears get their beautiful color naturally from different wines. (Photo by Jessica Karley Rerick) 3 / 3

Over the Christmas break, I had big plans to do fun projects with the kids.

I purchased items to make homemade gifts, shrinky-dinks to make little plastic trinkets with the boys, gummy bear molds to show them how fun it is to make your own candy—and the list goes on.

Needless to say, in my houseful of four boys, I did 95 percent of the Christmas baking myself, and I took care of the baby while my husband shuffled kiddos to and from various practices and activities. We struggled to find time to even get the Christmas tree up.

Now that the holidays are over and the kids are back in school, I actually found time to use the gummy bear molds. A few years ago, I heard about people making wine gummy candies, and I wanted to give that a try. After doing some research, I decided I was ready to tackle that project and see how these cute little gummy bear molds worked.

I wanted to try gummies using a few different wines instead of just the rose that I had read about. I made gummies out of cabernet, chardonnay and rose. Because the wine is not sweet enough in tiny amounts, I added sugar to each batch to help sweeten them up and to intensify the flavors of the wines. Selecting which gelatin to use wasn't really all that scientific. I picked the single envelopes from the baking aisle in the grocery store I have worked with for years.

To make the gummies, I placed the wine, sugar and gelatin in a small pot and whisked together over low heat until the sugar was dissolved. If you would like the gummies to retain their alcohol, you will need to keep this mixture under 90 degrees. If you are just going for the novelty and pretty colors of the candies, feel free to turn up the heat.

After the sugar dissolved, I removed the pan from the heat and used an eyedropper to fill the gummy bear cavities of the silicone mold. This is when I ran into a problem. The mixture was a little too thick for my dropper, so it would start to clog. Instead of continuously running the dropper under hot tap water, I got out my baster, which worked a lot better. I could between 12 and 15 bears at a time instead of 3 or 4. If I was doing it with the kids, I would stick with the smaller dropper, but since this was all for me, I went for speed.

After the wine-filled molds spent 90 minutes in the refrigerator, I took them out and placed them in a serving dish.

I eventually will use these molds for the kids, I promise, but for now, these will be bear shaped molds are all mine.

Wine Gummy Bears

1 cup wine (I used cabernet, chardonnay and rose; I did add a few drops of cabernet to the rose drops for better coloring. You can use 1 drop of pink food coloring if you like)

½ cup sugar, granulated white

4 or 5 packets of gelatin (I used Knox brand)

Directions:

Place the wine, sugar and gelatin in a small saucepan. Whisk together and turn the heat to low. Keep the heat below 90 degrees if you would like to retain the alcohol in the candies. Stir gently until sugar and gelatin is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and begin filling silicone molds with the liquid. Place the filled molds in the refrigerator and chill for 90 minutes. Remove the gummy candies from the molds by pushing from the back.

Makes 120-140 gummie bears (Be sure to label these not for children)

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