Candy Sushi! I first came across the concept while Pinning ideas for my son’s Ninja Themed Party. It was such a hit that I used it again for my daughter J’s Geisha Themed Party, and we will definitely keep on doing it whenever it suits the occasion, because it is so much fun to make, and so tasty! If you like sweets, you will like Candy Sushi.
First off, I want to give credit where credit is due. I have no idea who first thought of Candy Sushi, but I learned about it from Kim Becker aka MommyKnows. She writes an excellent tutorial, but I am going to write my own anyway because I discovered a few things that she doesn’t mention.
Enough for 6-8 kids
• A big box of Rice Krispies (Enough for 12 cups)
• Four 10 oz. bags of marshmallows
• Butter or coconut oil
• Three boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups
• Twizlers (The red and yellow ones with the fillings are DELICIOUS)
• Gummy Worms
• Maynard’s Swedish Fish candies (Yes, get the brand name. “No Name” or “Great Value” candies are almost always old, hard, and lack flavour)
• Pink, red, or orange Jelly Belly jelly beans (the colour is meant to mimic fish eggs, and the smaller size of the Jelly Belly brand works best)
• Green buttercream icing, about 1/4 cup (homemade or store-bought)
First helpful tip: put those Fruit Roll-Ups in the fridge and keep them there until you need them. Even if you ate them all the time as a kid, you’ve probably forgotten how insanely sticky those things are, as well as how stretchy. Having them at a colder temperature makes the Roll-Ups WAY easier to work with! Not only are they less stretchy, and therefore less prone to tearing, but they will also not stick to your hands nearly as much.
The other thing you need to do ahead of time is make your Rice Krispie “Squares”. I put that in quotes because you don’t actually want to cut them in squares, and you don’t want to make them as thick as they normally are, either. MommyKnows added some extra marshmallows to the standard recipe (which is printed on every box of Rice Krispies, BTW, and can also be found here), but I went one better. My advice is to fully double the amount of marshmallows AND the amount of butter/oil in the original recipe. This makes the “squares” nice and flexible, which you need them to be for the Maki Sushi. Personally, I prefer to use butter instead of coconut oil in this recipe. Butter seems to cut down on the stickiness, though of course if you or your party guests are lactose-intolerant, you’ll want to use the coconut oil.
I made four recipes for my daughter’s party, but two would have been enough. Do NOT be tempted to do a double recipe in one batch. Not only would you need a LARGE stock pot (for melting the butter and marshmallows) and an ENORMOUS bowl (for mixing the cereal in), but a single batch is difficult enough to stir. I can’t imagine trying to work with a double batch!
Here are my Rice Krispie treat slabs. You’ll notice that I pressed them into rimmed cookie sheets, not the usual 9 x 13″ pan. You want a layer about 1/2″ thick. The thicker you make it, the thicker your Maki rolls will be (and may end up too thick to be fully wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up). My four recipes filled three of these cookie sheets, though one of them was definitely too thick. Two recipes would probably be perfect for two 10 x 15″ rimmed sheets (that’s the smaller of the two in the photo above). I recommend lining your cookie sheets with parchment paper. It’s kind of tricky while you’re pressing the mixture into the pans, since it slides around, but it makes removal of the firmed treats WAY easier. I also found that some of the non-stick coating on my cookie sheets flaked off and stuck to the slabs. You do NOT want to eat that! Lucky for me, it only stuck around the edges, which I trimmed off.
Another tip: when pressing the Rice Krispie mix into the cookie sheets, it will stick to your hands. The secret to combatting this is not grease, but water! Simply wet your hands under the kitchen faucet as needed, and nothing will stick to them.
When your Rice Krispie sheets have set (I waited a whole day, just because), grab the parchment paper and simply lift the whole thing out of the pans. If you’re really good at advance planning, go ahead and cut the sheets into smaller rectangles with a good knife. You want the short side of your rectangle to be slightly shorter than the width of a Fruit Roll-Up. I really really wish I could tell you exactly what that is, but I forgot to write it down. (Sad face) Also because I did not cut my sheets up in advance; I cut them during the party, while the girls and I discussed Geisha, so I had no time to measure things.
Here is a neatly cut Rice Krispie rectangle, on which I have placed the filled Twizzlers and trimmed the ends (feel free to eat those). You want two to three Twizzlers and/or Gummy Bears in your Maki Sushi. More than that just won’t fit when you roll them up!
Begin to roll the Krispie treat around the candies. Keep it as tight as you can. Once you have made a complete roll, to where the beginning of the rice rectangle is touching itself (as in the photo above), cut off the excess (but save it!). Press the ends of the roll together; they should stick.
Now you need your Fruit Roll-Ups from the fridge! Start wrapping them around the candy-rice rolls. As you can see, this particular one was a bit too thick, and needed another half of a Fruit Roll-Up to “bridge the gap.”
Ta-da! A Maki roll!
Slice the roll into sections about 3/4-1″ thick. I used my good Chef’s knife for all of the cutting. If the blade started getting sticky, I just rinsed it under some hot water.
Here is J, cutting some Fruit Roll-Up strips. You don’t need quite such a good knife for cutting those! LOL
Now you use that trimmed piece of Rice Krispie treat to make Nigiri Sushi! Just cut it into little rectangles about 1 1/2 x 2 1/2″, place a Swedish Fish candy on the rectangle, and wrap it in a strip of Fruit Roll-Up.
It’s time for the finishing touches. Remember that green buttercream icing in the list of supplies? It’s your candy Wasabi! Just like real Wasabi, you only need a little bit of it. Spread some on a piece of Maki Candy Sushi, and then stick the jelly beans to it. You probably don’t want to do that to every single slice of Maki, because you’re basically doubling the amount of sugar for that piece. . . (You can see four pieces of Nigiri on the right).
I’m more of a perfectionist than my kids, so here is my piece of Maki Candy Sushi with “fish eggs”.
Voila! A finished plate of child-made Candy Sushi. Time to dig in! I always eat way more of this stuff than I should. . . get ready for the sugar rush!
*But wait! Surely my sharp-eyed, quick-witted readers have noticed that this bottom photo is significantly different from the top one! That’s because my kids used store bought Fruit Roll-Ups, and I, being such an incorrigible perfectionist, used homemade mango fruit leather that I dyed green to look like the actual seaweed they use for real sushi.
I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly though. In addition to the obvious green food dye, I put in a few packs of gelatin in an attempt to make the fruit leather more pliable. It. . . sort of worked. I suspect that I overbaked the fruit leather a bit, since much of it ended up crunchy and completely dried out. I did, however, end up with one usable section for my Candy Sushi!
Cons: The homemade stuff was tough and very difficult to chew. It was also not very sweet at all (probably because I didn’t use the ripe mangoes that the recipe calls for; I used frozen mango cubes that were definitely not all ripe). My kids tried some and said, “Gross!”
Pros: Even though my homemade fruit roll-up strips didn’t feel sticky at all, they did actually stick together when I moistened the edges and overlapped them a bit. Also, the lack of sweetness didn’t matter at all when eaten in combination with the other candies.
Conclusion: Homemade fruit leather works great for picture-perfect Candy Sushi, but I wouldn’t make kids use it.