Instructables

Pixie Sticks (Pixie Stix)

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These dead-simple homemade treats are the best pixie sticks you'll ever eat! They're made with real fruit instead of artificial flavors and colors, but still have the exact sweet-tart flavor you love in pixie sticks. And the recipe for homemade pixie sticks couldn't be simpler.

This is a great hands-on activity for kids old enough to operate a funnel, as you'll probably want help filling all those straws. Keep them occupied and entertained making their own portable summer treats!
 
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Step 1: Tools & Ingredients

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Ingredients: (scale as you see fit)
60g dextrose1 (I got mine cheaply from Amazon)
3g citric acid (I got mine at the local yuppie grocery, but it's also cheap and easily available online)
10g freeze-dried fruits of your choice (I picked strawberries & blueberries up at Trader Joe's, and cherries at Whole Foods)

Tools:
scale (especially if you're doing small quantities)
spice grinder (clean coffee grinder or mini food processor)
straws (brightly-colored paper straws look awesome, and hold about 1g powder)
paper funnel & poking stick


1I used dextrose because this is the same sugar used in commercial pixie stix, but you can also substitute table sugar (sucrose).  However, since table sugar is generally estimated to be 1.5-2x as sweet as dextrose, you'll have to use 30-40g of table sugar in place of the dextrose in the recipe above, and it may never taste quite "right".  I'll run the test myself soon, and update the Instructable with suitable quantities, but in the meantime taste and modify as needed.

Step 3: Add sugar and citric acid

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Weigh out the dextrose and citric acid, and add them to your powdered fruit.  It's fine to mix them directly in your food processor or grinder with the fruit, as this will ensure an even distribution.  Otherwise mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk.
leeski3 years ago
talk about reliving life through your children. Thanks to Canida my kids got the chance to try Pixie Sticks for the first time. Here's how it went downDad, why am I sucking on a straw..wait, hold that thought...this is good....can I have another....
pixie sticks.jpg
canida (author)  leeski3 years ago
Uh-oh, I've helped you give your kids fruity sugary crack! Sorry. ;)
truliwicked4 months ago

Pixy Stix and Fun Dip!!! My all time favorites...even at 44. Thanks for sharing :-)

Mauigerbil2 years ago
Why am I the only one that realises it is technically PIXY STIX?
I love Pixie Stix. This recipe is great!!
canida (author)  Woodstock Candy Lady2 years ago
Thanks!
I'm not a big fan of candy but my sister is...she loves these!

Just wanted to say hi after the Maker Faire...I did eventually see Randofo (when he was leaving though!) but thanks for the Sugru!
canida (author)  blinkyblinky2 years ago
You're welcome! You should make her some for her birthday. :)
YoshiB2 years ago
another question sorry,
What do you mean by crimping the end and how do you do it/ what do you do it with?
thank-you once again in advance.Great instructable by the way!
toodle-pip
canida (author)  YoshiB2 years ago
To crimp = to pinch the end together and fold it over so the powder doesn't fall out. Check out the initial picture to see what that looks like.
YoshiB2 years ago
Riddle me this!
it looks like you have powdered dextrose and liquid citric acid.
i found that glucose is the same as dextrose and so i have powdered citric acid and glucose syrup/. Will this work?
thank - you in advance!
toodle pip
canida (author)  YoshiB2 years ago
You need to use powdered versions of all of these - if you use a syrup, it will be syrupy, not powdery. Look online for powder if you're having trouble.
jmccoy22 years ago
You have to fold the bottom. Fold it under. Do it with your fingers,but if you are worried it would come undone,I guess you could tape it done.
kimnga2 years ago
wow ! you have great instructions !!!
Ingeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenious! :0) We had something in Canada called Lickamade. It came in a pouch and wasn't as much fun to look at as yours.
codongolev3 years ago
I made carbonated pixie sticks using kool-aid, sugar, citric acid and baking soda. it was a hit at school. (I tried to make them caffeinated using crushed caffeine pills, but it just tasted nasty.)
canida (author)  codongolev3 years ago
Ooh, please post! Sounds like fun.
if I get my hands on some citric acid again I will. however, I got it at the ashery (grocery place) in amish country, and it's not really a place I tend to frequent (it's about an hour away and the ashery is the only really interesting thing there; the rest is just amish stores and restaurants). I might buy some online if I get the gumption to do it, but unfortunately I doubt I ever will.
I wa thinking of ways to carbonate these earlier, how much baking soda did you use? I'm afraid to try it and accidentally use too much and be left with a bad taste.
I didn't really need to use much. just a bit. just start out with barely any and then keep working up until it fizzes.
You can buy anhydrous caffeine powder online from many different sources for about a buck a gram. Even at 200mg per stick (like strong coffee), it's relatively cheap. It could very well taste nasty, though. Especially if the straws only hold 1g. That would be around 20% caffeine.
yeah, and it wouldn't surprise me if the makers of the caffeine pill I was using put a bitterant into it to stop meddling kids from trying to eat like, eight of them at once. but the taste was more of the nasty "too much caffeine" taste. (is it bad that I know what caffeine tastes like?)
clunymph3 years ago
if you want organic kiddie crack, just tomatoes has a wide slew of freeze dried organic fruit. they have bags of powders, too, but those are sometimes a little chunky. this would be fun for a birthday party! hmm...
haha kiddie crack
I laughed, too!
teche3 years ago
yum chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dmiles23 years ago
Perhaps you could taste and measure for some artificial sweeteners, too? My wife's diabetic and LOVES Pixi Stix.
d,
You're right: I don't think it's logical (?) to encourage a diabetic to pour sugar into her mouth ;-) However, I bet you could do a decent version of this with a combination of the fruit, the tart (citric acid) and a mixture of Splenda (the kind you can measure/pour, in the yellow bag) and Whey Low. Whey Low is a sweetener developed for diabetics by a chemist, and it has 1/4 the glycemic load of regular sugar, and behaves just like sugar. (No, I'm not affiliated with Whey Low!) We've used Whey Low while low-carbing, and it doesn't knock us out of ketosis, and will caramelize on the top of our SF creme brulee! www.wheylow.com if you're curious.
zodono kcbirder3 years ago
you might also try xylitol...
Citwi zodono3 years ago
xylitol doesn't always agree with the digestive tract.
it gives me the runs.
Xylitol is good for your teeth, doesn't nuke your immune system the way sucrose does, and doesn't steal calcium from your bones. I use it in Kool-aid, and the family never even notices they're accidentally being healthy (er, healthier than sugar). Tastes exactly like sucrose to me.

Stevia, though... well, they're getting pretty good with stevia. For years it was soooooo sweet and had that nasty "I just licked an IRS envelope" aftertaste. (Have you ever licked an IRS envelope? Nearly as bad as ear wax, but envelope flavored. Just a bit of extra nastiness to remind one just whom one is dealing with.)

ANYWAY, it's much better now. I think they're even calling it "rebiana" just to trick people from thinking it is the same old yukky stevia. Hm... Just looked that up... Rebiana, which is Coca-Cola/Cargill's trade name for stevia, is the main ingredient in Truvia. Pepsi's competing product is PureVia.

Erythritol-inulin-stevia blends would work as a dessicant, so that would go well with the freeze dried fruit. They're available here and there, even in Walmart.

They totally need to come out with a stevia-xylitol blend... Sucralose/splenda gives me migraines.
Yeah, I love xylitol, its awesome. I wish coca cola was made with it.
Awesome. Thanks. Now I can make sugar-free creme brulee, too! :-)
canida (author)  dmiles23 years ago
Cool idea, thanks to both of you for the thread! I've got some Splenda, but have never played with Whey Low. I've put this on my to-do list, but if you try it first please post your recipe!
Rowen27 canida3 years ago
If you do try Splenda, I would suggest using quite a bit less, as it is a great deal sweeter than sugar or dextrose. If done right the only way you'll be able to tell the difference is that the sweetness will stay longer on your tongue, at least that's what the folks at the candy trade shows tell me...
I read the reviews of whey-low on Amazon, and quite a few diabetics reported blood-sugar spikes after consuming it. TANSTAAFL. Sigh. (For those who do not read Robert A. Heinlein," There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.")
splazem3 years ago
Great job! I love the pictures!
What a cute idea! I wonder if one could substitute Stevia for sugar?
canida (author)  dodgedehaven3 years ago
Probably not on a 1:1 ratio - you'd have to do some taste-testing to get the mix right, and it will never taste exactly like a "real" pixie stick. But a potentially good substitute! If you try it let me know.
Rayney3 years ago
I might have to make some of these for my grandma and put crush her vitamins in them. lol She loves to eat any kind of candy but she doesn't like vitamins. We have the gummy ones but those gum up in her dentures.
canida (author)  Rayney3 years ago
Sneaky!
suayres3 years ago
Not that kids need a way to eat more sugar, but do you think the fat "bubble-tea" straws would work?
canida (author)  suayres3 years ago
Of course! Just heat-seal the ends - one of the other comments suggested using pliers and a lighter.
suayres3 years ago
One pointer: DON'T try to make these on a hot, humid day--not only are your ingredients likely to clump up on you while you're trying to work, any product you DO get made is liable to set up like cement in the straws. Also, any you don't consume immediately, you might want to store in a container with a desiccant of some sort (a dryingnagent). Even a cup or so of ordinary rice would work. Of course, they may not hang around that long.....
canida (author)  suayres3 years ago
I kept mine around through a couple of days of heavy rain, and was pleasantly surprised to find they didn't soak up too much water. I also habitually roll my pixie stix to soften them before opening the straw - a childhood tactic I didn't even repeat consciously. Weird. ;)

But yes, I do mention desiccants above - if you're somewhere extremely humid that's smart.
suayres canida3 years ago
So you did--I didn't read your directions carefully enough. My bad! In any case, I plan to make these with my granddaughters. I'm sure we'll have a blast! We get together every week or two, to play together. One of the best perks of Gramma-hood is playing with my "Grannies"!
canida (author)  suayres3 years ago
Awesome, let me know how it goes! If you post a picture of your version I'll send you a 3-month Pro code. ;)
Knightsabre3 years ago
Nice idea, I like it!

Seems to me that if you use plastic straws, you could heat-seal the ends, then they would be effectively air-tight, presumably extending their shelf life, especially in humid conditions.

Use a small torch and a sharp knife. Heat the blade and "cut" the end of the straw. That should seal it right up.

The only drawback to this is the need for a pair of scissors or a knife to re-open the straw.
I used to make something similar as a kid, using plastic straws, and you don't need a knife to open them (especially if the straws are a bit stiffer).

Just hold the very tip of the straw to a flame, and then pinch it with pliers. If the seal is only 1-2 mm wide and at the very end of the straw, then it'll break open if you bite it (perpendicular to the direction of the seam, if that makes sense), but still be strong enough to stay sealed. I don't know if just cutting them with a hot blade will effectively do it - worth a try.
canida (author)  Knightsabre3 years ago
Nice idea! I'll give it a shot when I run out of the paper straws. If you or anyone else try it, let me know how it goes. ;)
How neat! I love the use of freeze-dried fruit in these - genius! :D
canida (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
It's just plain good! I was totally surprised how easy these were to make.
Ninzerbean3 years ago
These will hopefully end up in the Instructables hall of fame.
canida (author)  Ninzerbean3 years ago
They were ridiculously good.
caitlinsdad3 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
canida (author)  caitlinsdad3 years ago
Fixed! Thanks for saving me the embarrassment, as normally I'd be the one catching it.