Bare Bears - Vegan Gummy Bears

Designing my own vegan gummy bears!

As part of Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy, we were required to produce a final shop project. The task was simple - create your own recipe, product, design the packaging, labels and prepare to take it to market. This post shows the product, as well as a video describing it.

The assignment was a lot of fun. I did market research to look at the gummy market in the EU/UK. I learned that 500 tonnes of fruit gellies (gummies) are comsumed weekly, with an annual market of £80 million (source: Haribo, 2016).

Yet there are few vegan gummies on the market, and those I found had a lot of preservatives, food colourings and other additives. I wanted to create something from nature "wild and free". This is where the idea of BARE BEARS arrived in my mind - gummy bears stripped of nothing but what nature intended!

THE LABELS

bare-bears-front.jpg

THE VIDEO

We were required to produce a video explaining our product. This is mine! It responds to specific questions for my assignment, more about costings and lessons learned - the recipe is below the video! (note, I say the market is £80 billion, I meant £80 million, apologies). Source: Haribo, 2016.

THE RECIPE - MAKE YOUR OWN VEGAN GUMMY BEARS

This is a really easy recipe, that you can do with children, as they are ready in minutes! Choose your own flavours of fruit juices, or mix with nut milks for a fun alternative. Agar agar is an alternative to gelatin (which is animal based). It's healthy and cruelty-free.

INGREDIENTS

  • Silicone gummy molds (I got mine on amazon here!)
  • Fruit juice or puree (1/2 cup for each flavour, makes about 130-150 gummy bears)
  • 4 tb agar agar (tip - try to get the flaked kind, if you use the fine powder, use only 2 tablespoons, and I find even then they are a bit gritty. Clearspring in the UK is a good option)
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (depends how sweet your juice is, and your sweet tooth)
  • Optional: use natural food dyes to brighten your gummies, for example a pinch of turmeric powder for yellow, spirulina for green, beet juice for red or pink. You could also add a capsule of probiotic as the LAST STEP for probiotic gummies, or vanilla bean powder for vanilla. So many ideas!

METHOD

In a small saucepan, add the liquid (either 1/2 cup juice/puree or milk, or 1/4 cup juice and 1/4 milk). Add in 2 tb maple syrup. Bring to a simmer on low heat continuously stirring. Wait for 4 minutes and the mixture will thicken. Add in the probiotics, vanilla or other colouring at this stage (optional). Put into silicone gummy molds. Freeze for 10 minutes and they are done, popping out easily. Store for 1-2 weeks in the fridge (best eaten right away of course!)

*Tip, you can also make drunken gummies, using gin/tonic, prosecco, rum, absinthe. Not for the faint-hearted! You can add them as the last step to the thickened sauce (so the alcohol doesn't burn off) - only add 1 shot worth for each 1/2 cup liquid!

Vietnamese Pho, Smoked Tofu, Coconut Noodles

As my classmate Chef Ali says, this dish is "pho-nomenal". A new take on tofu, a new take on a Pho classic, using a miso broth, young coconut noodles and squash.

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. For copyright purposes I cannot share the recipe, but I will share the photos and main ingredients here.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

smoked tofu • coconut noodles • phở vegetable broth • squash • sesame

To start, make the tofu a day or two in advance - this recipe uses agar agar, young coconut meat and cashews for a non-soya option, that is divine! The broth is made from a juiced vegetable base, combined with tamari, lime, lemongrass, miso, spices and sweetener. This is reduced in a dehydrator. The coconut noodles are made from thinly slicing young coconut meat, combined with spiralised courgette or squash (any kind is fun). To plate, place some raw veggies like peppers and green onions, plus fresh herbs, in the bottom of the bowl. Fill with broth, placing the noodles on top, along with some cashews, sesame, cilantro and any other toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

Festive Superfood Salad

This salad is vibrant and festive, perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. For copyright purposes I cannot share the recipe, but I will share the photos and main ingredients here.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

fresh spinach • macadamia chèvre cheese • apple slices • goji berries • pine nuts • dressing

What makes this salad special is the slight wilting of the spinach - it really makes a difference to the dish. You add some olive oil, salt and pepper, and can put it in a dehydrator, or sous vide, just until it starts to wilt. Paired with a rich and creamy macadamia chèvre cheese rolled in pink peppercorns, and the pink gogi berries, the salad really pops!

A good dressing must incorporate apple cider vinegar here: ¼ cup both apple cider vinegar and olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove; 1 tb Dijon mustard; 2 tb lemon juice; 2 tb honey. Delicious!⠀

mk_Level2-wilted-spinach-salad-LittleJarsCo (3 of 3).jpg

Beet Carpaccio, Macadamia Chèvre

What an easy and beautiful way to serve beets. Their earthy tones are muted with truffle, and paired with macadamia chèvre, and frozen lemon oil, the taste is simply amazing!

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. For copyright purposes I cannot share the recipe, but I will share the photos and main ingredients here.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

beetroot • frozen lemon oil • truffle • smoked salt • crumbled pistachios

The beets are sliced very thinly, and marinated with truffle oil, smoked sea salt, and thyme, overnight (or with a sous-vide method). They are then wiped and plated, topped with the macadamia cheese, frozen lemon oil, crumbled pistachios and microgreens. The lemon oil is made by blending olive oil with fresh lemon juice, then frozen. When you add it to the plate, it melts like butter. Plate and enjoy!

Macadamia 'Chèvre' Nut Cheese

Even if you haven't tried nut cheese, or love dairy cheese, trust me, you need to make this! It's creamy, easy to make and is so delicious!

This is a simple recipe for a nut cheese roll. Perfect to throw together for guests or for your own cheese board. I served this with other dairy cheeses to guests, just to see what would happen (sometimes the idea of eating non-dairy cheese outright causes some eyebrow raises). I didn't tell anyone. But people ate it and said "oh wow, this one is really good, so creamy!"

The reason? Macadamia nuts! These little babies are full of fatty acids, giving them a profile that is unparalleled. After coconut oil, macadamia nuts have the lowest amounts of omega-6 fatty acids of all nuts (this is good as we want to aim for higher omega-3 foods, and lower unadulterated omega-6 foods). They are also extremely high in monounsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants. So, nutritional benefits are fab. Additionally, from a culinary perspective, the oily nature of macadamia nuts means that their oil, and blended nuts, gives off a creamy, buttery flavour in food, and is a bright white, perfect for making cheese.

By fermenting the blended nuts, we get a texture and flavour very similar to goats cheese (chèvre). You can flavour the cheese with a variety of herbs/spices, to go from savoury to sweet. The creamy nature also means you can make logs, balls, or shapes. Recipe below!

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. The basic recipe is the same anywhere, and I'm sharing my flavouring tips below.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

BASIC MACADAMIA CHEESE

  • 2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked for 7 hours, or overnight, rinsed and drained well*
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 capsule probiotic powder (acidophilus)

*always soak your nuts! Click here for a good soaking guide

STANDARD FLAVORING

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To make the basic cheese, blend the nuts with about 3 tablespoons of the water. Try to use as little water as possible as this is better for fermentation, but if the mixture won't blend, slowly add 1 tablespoon at a time and keep blending. You want the blended product to be quite dry. Then add the probiotic powder and pulse the blender to mix through, ensuring not to over-blend as heat can denature the probiotics.

Pour the cheese into a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or even a pantyhose (obviously clean!) Place the bag into a strainer/colander over a bowl. Plate something heavy on top of the bag, to allow all the liquid to slowly drip out into the bowl below. Make sure it's not too heavy or the cheese will come out too!

Leave the cheese to ferment. You have two options here:

FERMENTATION OPTION 1: leave the bowl in a cool but warm spot for between 24 to 48 hours. You don't want black mould to grow on top, so watch it carefully. Check it after 24 hours - a light crust should have formed on top and you should be able to smell the slight fermentation. For me, about 35 hours was perfect (1.5 days);

FERMENTATION OPTION 2: put the cheese (with the colander/bowl) into a food dehydrator, set to 85°F (29°C), and leave for 24 hours.

After fermenting, scrape the cheese out of the cloth and put into a new bowl. You may notice the darker yellow crust on top - this is normal and can just be mixed into the cheese. Add the standard flavouring (see above), and mix well. Divide into two, as you can get two nice logs from one recipe, and flavour each differently!

You can also add other flavouring of your choice as this time, as the standard flavouring is really to give the cheese a savoury feel. Don't use fresh herbs as these can spoil the cheese - dried are best. I used lemon rind, thyme and pink peppercorns. You could also try orange, vanilla, floral flavours, rosemary, dill, paprika - the flavour combinations are up to your imagination. Don't cover the outside until serving!!

Roll the cheese into your desired shapes (two logs is nice). They can be wrapped in baking paper (parchment paper), twisting the ends to keep their shape. Store them in the fridge. They will get creamier and creamier over time - 2 weeks is best, but the cheese is still delicious the next day!

When ready to serve, unroll the cheese from the baking paper, and roll it in other desired flavourings. I used pink peppercorns for one, and black peppercorns for the other. But you can use chopped fresh herbs (parsley/dill/cilantro/mint), or many other combinations!



What to serve with macadamia cheese? Here is some inspiration. Links to recipes below.

Festive Superfood Salad

Creative Cheese Plates (incorporating fresh fruit, pickled items, sauces or berry purees, chia or flax crackers, etc).

Linzer Cookies, Raspberry Jam

This is an ode to the Linzertorte, traditionally made of rich buttery dough that is nut based, using almonds, with strong hints of lemon zest, and cinnamon. These cookies utilize almond, macadamia and coconut as the flour base for the same crunchy consistency.

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. For copyright purposes I cannot share the recipe, but I will share the photos and main ingredients here.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

berry jam • almond flour • macadamia • coconut flour • coconut oil • spices

The jam is made with berries of your choice, and dates, along with vanilla and lemon juice. Blackcurrants were traditional, but raspberries have become popular in the USA. So many good options here, so get creative - rhubarb and gooseberry, blueberries, strawberry! You blend, reduce slightly and then use as the filling.

The cookie dough incorporates flour from almond meal (not flour), macadamia nuts and coconut. There is a lot of lemon juice and zest to bring out the flavour, plus some sweetener. The dough is frozen until set, then rolled. You use your choice of cookie cutter, making cookies bases and matching tops. Fill with jam, top with fresh berries, and voila!

Portobello Piccata, lemon olive oil butter

Traditional Italian piccata is "dredged in flour before being browned in butter". This dish is much lighter! Sous-vide portobello mushrooms with rosemary, lemon olive oil ice cream which melts just like butter.

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. For copyright purposes I cannot share the recipe, but I will share the photos and main ingredients here.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

portobello mushrooms • celeriac mash • lemon olive oil butter • walnut breadcrumbs • basil oil

The portobello mushrooms are sliced diagonally and then marinated in the dehydrator with rosemary. The celeriac is processed with cashews, nutritional yeast and seasoning, then warmed slightly. The walnut breadcrumbs are made with fresh herbs, using a walnut toast that has been dehydrated. The basil oil is made by blended basil and spinach with oil, then straining. The olive oil butter is made by blending the oil with lemon juice, agave and salt, then freezing in moulds (it melts just like butter). Plate and enjoy!

Blackberry Vanilla Panna Cotta

Blackberry Vanilla Panna Cotta

Vanilla panna cotta • blackberry & raspberry gin purée • ginger & rhubarb gin foam • elderflower gin oil • forest fruits