October 25, 2011

Olive Oil Gummy Worms

As our culinary team here at The Cooking Lab developed many different kinds of gels and candies for Modernist Cuisine, we tried shaping them into a variety of clever, fun, or surprising shapes. One approach we like is to use fishing-lure molds, which are sold at many sporting goods stores. For this recipe, we used earthworm molds to make gummy candies that look remarkably like real worms.
—Johnny Zhu, Development Chef

I love gummy worms! I get to eat them at the baseball game. I usually get them from the candy store.
—Jerry Zhu, age 3½, future Development Chef 

What better time of year than Halloween to make this Modernist treat! In the video below, we show you how to make gummy worms at home (along with cookie crumb dirt!) and how a special helper can aid in the process.

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We use fishing lure molds to create our gummy worms It is all right if the candies pull and stretch a little bit when you take them out of their molds. Remember, they are gummies; they are supposed to do that! Injection molds are less messy and easier to use than other kinds, and they produce perfectly round worms. Spray your mold lightly with cooking spray before filling. If you still encouter difficulty removing your worms, try using a bamboo skewer to pull them out. gummy worm

Additional Tips

  • Use fishing-lure molds to create your worms. You can find them at larger sporting goods or fishing supply stores.
  • To make transparent worms, put the filled molds in a chamber vacuum sealer; otherwise, they will be opaque (although the taste will be the same).
  • The worms will be more transparent if you also take care to let in as little air as possible while emulsifying the mixture. If you are not using a chamber vacuum sealer, you can remelt the mixture after it has set to remove more of the air.
  • Even if you do use a chamber vacuum sealer, you may still end up with cloudy worms if you overcook the mixture. If too much water evaporates, the ratio of water to gelatin skews away from the optimum.
  • You can also use other mold shapes; one of our readers tried making cute, speckled owls. The recipe will work with any shape, but shallow molds tend to work best.
  • Be sure to disperse the gelatin completely. If it is not dispersed properly, your gummy worms may have a tacky texture.
  • Use the full 20 g of gum arabic we call for. It may seem like a lot, but this will give your worms a texture that is easier to handle.
  • Fully emulsify the olive oil into the gelatin mixture by using a handheld immersion blender or a rotor-stator homogenizer.
  • Lightly spray your molds with cooking oil before casting. This will help you remove them once your worms have set.
  • Use a bamboo skewer to help remove the worms from their molds.
  • Grind chocolate cookies in a food processor to make your "dirt." About six pulses of the blade should do the trick.
  • To make a spooky, glow-in-the dark version, substitute tonic water for the liquid. Tonic water contains quinine, which will glow under a black light.

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Discussion

  1. Luis August 22, 2012 Reply

    I love dirt and worms! Last October I really had the crnviag for it as a dessert, but my husband is absolutely grossed out by worms (some childhood tragedy, that I absolutely make fun of him for) and refused to eat it if I were to make it so I tried to think of another gummy treat to put in it. Gummy bears? Sure but not realistic. Then I found these awesome red, yellow, and orange gummy pumpkins. I made little pumpkin patches instead of having the worms. Oh it was so delightful. Gosh, I miss elementary school because of these!

  2. shawn williams February 6, 2014 Reply

    I want to make these gummies, I have a mold coming. I have a vacuum chamber machine.

    Can you provide a better explanation of what to do in the vacuum chamber to clarify, like how much air do I take out, will all of the liquid rush out of the mold, etc…. please more instructions if you dont mind thanks

    Shawn

  3. Lesley October 4, 2014 Reply

    Hey there
    Love you guys and im hoping you can helpme.

    I am having a difficult time finding gum arabic and am wondeeirng if there any subs
    that would work in this recipe. Being gluten free I have xanthan gum and agar in fine supply
    in my kitchen

    Thanks Lesley.

    • Caren October 6, 2014 Reply

      Hi Lesley,

      We’re happy to help! Unfortunately your best bet for this recipe is going to be the gum arabic. Xanthan gum is a great thickener, but not a gelling agent. Gum arabic definitely can be hard to source, so we recommend getting it online. You can purchase small and large quantities through Modernist Pantry: http://bit.ly/1s5HipR

      Let us know if there is anything else we can help with!

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