Goody Goody Gumdrops! Now you can make your own homemade gumdrops. These CranApple Gumdrops have just the right balance of sweet and tart, and are made without any artificial ingredients or gelatin. Fresh apples and cranberries are abundant in pectin, which creates a natural thickening reaction when cooked. Granny Smith Apples contain the highest amount of pectin, so they are the best choice for this recipe. You can cut the finished gumdrops into squares or use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
Prepare an 8 x 8-inch pan by lining it with parchment paper and coat with a very thin film of vegetable oil. Set aside.
Do not peel apples. Cut washed apples in quarters and remove core and stems. Lengthwise cut each quarter in 3 equal slices. Cut crosswise in 6-8 pieces. Measure in a cup and obtain a total of 12 cups of apple pieces.
Place in a wide pot along with water, sugar, and cranberries. Bring to a boil and then turn to a medium simmer. Stir a few times with a flat bottom spatula.
After about 15 minutes, apples will be tender. Either puree mixture using a stick blender right in pot or transfer in a blender and blend until smooth.
Return pureed fruit to the pot and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer while stirring constantly. The cooking process will take about 45 minutes. Near end of cooking process mixture will spatter a bit. Wearing gloves will protect your hands.
Towards end of cooking, keep an eye on the gumdrop mixture as it will become very thick and could burn if left on too long. The mixture is ready when it has thickened and completely holds its shape when a small amount is dropped onto a plate.
Transfer to prepared pan and smooth surface. Allow to dry and firm overnight at room temperature.
The following day remove from pan and cut in desired size. Toss pieces in granulated sugar.