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Stretch your way to a sweet time and make your own candy. (Photo: ChefSteps.)

It’s that spooky time of year, and there’s one thing we can’t wait to get our hands on: candy! Our friends at ChefSteps showed us a great and fun way to make soft, chewy Starburst-style treats at home. While it includes more science than your typical chocolate recipes, making these taffy-like sweets will surely give you a sense of accomplishment. Bonus: It counts as a workout! Check out the recipe and video below.

Servings: About 100 candies


30 grams gelatin, 140 bloom
256 grams water, divded
3.5 grams gum arabic
18 grams citric acid
6 grams mandarin oil, or other citrus oil
130 grams shortening
0.6 grams lecithin
25 grams powdered sugar
600 grams glucose syrup
600 grams sugar


  1. Combine gelatin and 30 grams water in a ziplock-style or vacuum bag and seal. Place bag in water heated to 140°F/60°C. Keep it there about 30 minutes, plus or minus about 10 minutes. You can tell the gelatin has fully bloomed when the bag’s contents form a thick syrup that is lump- and streak-free.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 7 1/2 grams water and gum arabic. The gum arabic has a tendency to clump. To ensure it hydrates fully, keep stirring or whisking until smooth, or combine an hour ahead of time. Cover. The mixture will turn clear in about 30 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, combine 18 grams water and citric acid. Stir until acid dissolves fully. Add essential oil.
  4. Combine shortening, lecithin, gum arabic mixture (from above), powdered sugar, and citric acid mixture (from above).
  5. In a pot, combine 200 grams water, glucose, and sugar.
  6. Over medium heat, cook sugar mixture until it reaches a temperature of 262°F/128°C. Remove from heat.
  7. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the paddle attachment. The gelatin-water mixture may be tricky to remove from the bag—you don’t have to get every last drop out, but try for as much as possible.
  8. Begin mixing on low until ingredients begin to come together. Slowly increase speed to high. If mixture begins escaping the bowl, you’re going too fast. Throttle back a little until it gets stickier. Once you have achieved maximum speed, keep mixing for about two minutes to make sure everything is well combined. The candy should be white and thick and will form a ball pretty quickly when you rub it between your fingers. (Psst: Add coloring here if you want monochromatic candies.) Once it is ready, scoop onto a flat, cool, lightly greased surface to cool and grow firm.
  9. Once you can poke the candy without any sticking to your fingers, it’s ready for pulling.
  10. Begin pulling and folding (see video for visual cues on techniques). Pull until it no longer exhibits elasticity (and stops growing lighter in color), or until you can no longer pull—whichever comes first. This should take about 20-30 minutes. Once you have finished pulling the candy, mold or twist into desired shape and allow to cool completely.
  11. Optional: Once cool, wrap and allow to rest for 48 hours before eating. Candy that’s been rested will have a harder, shinier exterior, and a more tender center.

Note: If making multicolored candy or coloring only a portion of the batch, separate candy into sections and apply coloring before you begin pulling.

ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. You can also get access to all of ChefSteps’ Premium content — including paid classes and dozens of recipes available only to Premium members for a onetime fee — for the special price of $24 (regularly $39). Classes include Sous Vide: Beyond the BasicsFluid GelsFrench Macarons and more!