I love the texture of gumdrops, but the flavor of the cheap ones can be appalling. Here are a couple of sophisticated, homemade alternatives.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 C sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1/2 C coconut milk
1/4 C water
1-3/4 oz powdered fruit pectin (found with canning supplies)
1/2 t baking soda
Line a loaf pan with foil, extending it over the edges of the pan. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a long-handled spoon for three minutes to dissolve the sugar. Be careful not to splash the mixture on the sides of the pan as you stir.
Cook over medium heat with a moderate, steady boil over the entire surface, stirring occasionally, until it registers 280 F on a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage). This should take about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, pectin, and baking soda. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
When the sugar mixture in the first pan has reached soft-crack stage, remove it from the heat. Bring the pectin mixture back to a boil. Gradually stir the hot sugar mixture into the boiling pectin mixture. Cook the combined mixture for another minute.
Remove saucepan from heat and pour candy int prepared pan. Let stand 2 hours until firm.
Use the foil to lift the candy out of the pan and cut into about 45 squares with a wet knife. Roll each square in coconut sugar: Process 1/2 C toasted coconut in the food processor until fine and then mix in 1/4 C granulated sugar.
Pink Grapefruit Gumdrops
Prepare as above, except replace the coconut milk and water in the second saucepan with 3/4 C red grapefruit juice. After combining the mixtures, stir in 1/2 t grated grapefruit rind. You can tint this with one drop of red food coloring. Then roll in the coconut sugar, above.