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  • Polka Dots

    Polka Dots

    Polka dots were one of my favorite candies as a kid. My grandparents would visit us in Mexico from New York and bring us these colorful dots of candy on long strips of paper. They were crunchy, sweet, fruity—candy that looked really cool! Now, of course, I realize they were terrible: The flavors were artificial and unrecognizable. But I also realize that it’s so easy to make them better!

    In my kitchen, we start with natural fruit purees and mix them with confectioners’ sugar and a bit of cream of tartar (which helps the dots harden quickly and keeps their color vibrant.) Then I remembered something which used to annoy me tremendously as a child: Every time you’d peel off a dot, there was always a little bit of paper left on the bottom. How do you fix that? Well, what if you could eat the paper? In the spirit of problem solving for future generations, we use rice paper, so you can eat the whole thing and don’t have to do any peeling.

    Servings & Time

    • Servings 40 Sheets (10 to 20 servings)
    • Prep 40 minutes
    • Cook None, only 48 hours to dry


    For the Fruit Puree
    • ⅓ cup water
    • ⅔ cup sugar
    • 5 ounces fresh or frozen fruit such as black currants (cassis), apricots, raspberries, or pears
    For the Polka Dots
    • 4 sheets 8½ x 11 inch edible wafer paper
    • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
    • Generous ½ cup fruit puree , or more if needed
    • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar


    For the Fruit Puree

    In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely. Puree the fruit and ⅓ cup of the sugar syrup in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl and set aside.

    For the Polka Dots

    Using an X-Acto knife, the tip of a paring knife, or scissors, cut the wafer paper into about forty 2x3-inch rectangles and arrange evenly on baking sheets.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, fruit puree, and cream of tartar. Make sure the mixture is very smooth, free of lumps, with the consistency of molasses. Pour the icing into a piping bag and cut off ¼ inch of the tip. If the icing is too thick and won’t pass through the tiny hole (it depends on the type of fruit puree you use), add more fruit puree a tablespoon at a time. If the icing is too thin, add more sugar.

    Pipe 20 dots onto the smooth side of each sheet about ⅓ inch apart in a 5x4 grid.

    Repeat until you run out of icing. You may need to cut more paper to use up all the icing.

    Allow the sheets to dry at room temperature for 48 hours. Once dry, they can be served, or stored in an airtight container. Because the polka dots do not contain water they can hold practically indefinitely, although they may start to lose come color after a few days.

© 2016 Alta Editions, LLC