Homemade Tootsie Rolls

By • October 18, 2012 • 40 Comments

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Author Notes: Make your own Tootsie Rolls at home using this easy recipe! There's no cooking or baking required and it's made using simple pantry staples, so enjoy them often!

Note: Powdered milk should be very fine. If your powdered milk is lumpy or coarse, run it through a food processor before using.
Heather Baird

Makes 22-24 pieces of candy

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups instant non-fat dry milk powder
  • Wax paper
  1. In a large bowl, combine honey, cocoa powder and vanilla using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk until well incorporated. Add in the powdered sugar and pinch of salt; whisk again until well combined.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the instant milk powder ¼ cup at a time until a dough forms. When you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon, knead it with your hands. Keep adding in milk powder until a firm dough forms. You may not have to use all the milk powder. The finished dough should be firm and a little sticky but not so sticky that you can’t handle it. Roll the dough into a ball and place on waxed paper lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Let dough rest uncovered on the wax paper for 5-10 minutes. As the candy stands it will relax from a ball shape into a disc. Cut candy into ¾-inch strips and then into 2-inch lengths. If candy sticks to the knife, spray it with cooking oil or coat it with butter.
  3. Cut wax paper into 3 ½ x 5 inch pieces. Wrap candies with the wax paper pieces. Store candies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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Comments (40) Questions (0)

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5 months ago Audrey

Yikes. Despite reading all the comments, and having faith in the gorgeous photography of these homemade tootsie rolls, and faith in my own experience in making confections/candies: these turned out just awful. The concept of adding instant nonfat dry milk powder directly to the room-temperature wet mixture sounded like a recipe for grittiness, but I took the plunge and tried it anyway.

Total waste of time and ingredients. (And yeah, the time required was a little ludicrous for this 'simple' recipe. I sifted cocoa powder, sifted powdered sugar, ran the milk powder through my food processor to get a finer texture: and THEN I sifted that, to try to eliminate the grit issue others had encountered.)

The taste is spot-on if you substitute a bit of the vanilla with orange extract (made all the difference in the world-- otherwise would have been quite one-dimensional.) But the bizarre, gritty texture made me throw this away. It was also extraordinarily difficult to cut: rolling the 'dough' and snipping it into Midgee-sized bites was much easier, though ultimately not worth it because of the unpleasant texture of the candy.

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over 1 year ago Devon

This has WAY too much honey! My kids said all they could taste was honey, and I followed the recipe exactly. Also, I thought the dry milk made it grainy, even though I used a fine sifter. My family did NOT like this recipe, and I won't be making it again.

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almost 2 years ago GregoryBPortland

Yes, it is the same thing. Looks like bigger granules than powder. And it is skimmed milk. I had to drink it as a kid and loathed it. However, it does tenderize homemade bread, which is why I still give it room in my kitchen.

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almost 2 years ago Grainnie

okay, thanks!!

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almost 2 years ago Grainnie

I know this isn't a recent post, but i was wondering whether anyone could help me out with something... i live in the UK and i don't think we have 'milk powder', i bought 'dried skimmed milk' which isn't powder it has bigger granules, will this work? does anyone have any advice?

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almost 2 years ago Jazzball

What you have should be fine. It's not actually powder in the US, either, it's just called that.

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about 2 years ago Ceege

Oh my. My husband LOVES tootsie rolls. His birthday is in Apr. I plan on making a batch or two of these to surprise him. Wish me luck as I see some have had problems with them forming.

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about 2 years ago bad024

mine were a little to sticky so i added butter. i also put them in the freezer for 1 hour then into the fridge and they hardened up very nicely

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over 2 years ago ChrissieRusso

I used Karo syrup and Coffeemate instead of powdered milk--both things I had on hand..Turned out great, not gritty at all, and I'm thinking of trying the Irish Cream or Hazlenut flavored coffee creamer next!

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over 2 years ago ChrissieRusso

Oh...and I rolled it into a long rope and cut it in pieces...easier, I think!

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Wow...great ideas. I'll try another batch. Thanks.

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over 2 years ago Gardenmom49

I will make a batch using honey as the recipe states, and I will make another using brown rice syrup and let you know how it turns out.

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

I just found another recipe for tootise rolls that have less powdered milk and much more sugar. I wonder if that would cut the "milky" taste. I'm going to try it tomorrow and will "report" back!!

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over 2 years ago Cecilia M.

This is the second time I've made it. First time all I had was raw honey,but I just heated it slightly and it was easy to bring together. After a few days in the refrigerator they were fantastic! I used a drop of orange extract and sure enough they taste exactly like tootsie rolls. The second batch I made with regular honey and it tastes just as good.

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

That's a great idea. I, too, had the batter ALL over my hands. I still have a batch in the freezer (to peel of the paper to throw away) so I'll take it out and try your suggestions!

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over 2 years ago amhendricks

Umm.... didn't love this one. Took FOREVER to knead it together to not be a sticky mess all over my hands. My powdered milk made it pretty grainy too. Fortunately, my roommate and I got a little crafty and dropped the chunks into cups of boiling water to make hot chocolate!

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over 2 years ago soleilnyc

Hi Heather! Any reason you cut the disc into strips instead of rolling the whole thing out like a rope and cutting it into pieces?

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

Hi soleilnyc,
You could certainly roll it all out. I found the dough cut into strips a little more manageable, but that's just me.

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Has anyone had success with this recipe? I've tried it twice and cannot get it stiff enough....and not tasting like dried milk. Any help is most appreciated!

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

Hi BobbaT,
Maybe it could be the milk powder you are using? I'm sure they're not all created equally. I use and recommend Barry Farm brand if you can get your hands on any. They have a website that can be rather clunky to navigate, but the product is good. http://www.barryfarm.com... It's good to knead this "dough" very well. It will firm a little as it stands. Best of luck!

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Thanks so much, Heather. I'll try it again. I left some in the freezer because it was too sticky to get off the pan...to throw away. Now, I'll try kneading it.

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Has anyone had success with this recipe? I've tried it twice and cannot get it stiff enough....and not tasting like dried milk. Any help is most appreciated!

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Has anyone had success with this recipe? I've tried it twice and cannot get it stiff enough....and not tasting like dried milk. Any help is most appreciated!

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Has anyone had success with this recipe? I've tried it twice and cannot get it stiff enough....and not tasting like dried milk. Any help is most appreciated!

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over 2 years ago BobbaT

Has anyone had success with this recipe? I've tried it twice and cannot get it stiff enough....and not tasting like dried milk. Any help is most appreciated!

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over 2 years ago threefresheggs

I wonder if cooking the honey/syrup down a bit might make for a slightly stiffer dough/product that would be a bit more self-stable and less melty? Have you tried this and found it lacking?

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

@ask209 are you asking about a milk substitute? I think organic non-dairy creamer would work, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm going to try it soon and report the findings here.

@Jazzball, Yes- I added maple extract to a batch and it was really tasty! I've tried orange extract but I'm not crazy about it in this recipe, but that could be matter of personal taste.

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over 2 years ago Jenmister

Better than Milk makes soy and rice milk powder. Growing Naturals makes an allergen free rice milk powder. They might alter the flavor, however.

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over 2 years ago Jazzball

Thanks, Heather! I was thinking, even, something like coconut. Your thoughts?

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

That sounds great to me!

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over 2 years ago Jazzball

Hi, Heather, have you experimented with other flavors yet?

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over 2 years ago azk209

Would it be possible to use a milk / in these? Does that even exist in powdered form?

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over 2 years ago Joy (My Turkish Joys)

Love this childhood treat! And thank goodness you don't need corn syrup bc I can't get it here in Turkey. Definitely saving this recipe & hope to try soon!

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over 2 years ago GregoryBPortland

Dear Heather--I'm wondering, since honey has such an assertive flavor, it you could substitute Lyle's Golden Syrup instead and have the same results.

This looks like a terrific Halloween treat.

Best,
Greg

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

Hi Greg,

I haven't tried golden syrup in this recipe, but I feel confident that it would work.

Thank you so much!

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

Hi Katie,
These can be made a couple of days ahead. They do lose some of their chewy texture over the course of about a week, but they are still delicious.

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over 2 years ago Katie Seitz

Hi! I'm just wondering how far in advance these can be made? Thanks!!

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over 2 years ago jbban

Yay! I love tootsie rolls but can no longer bring myself to buy them with their horrifying list of ingredients. Very excited to try this!

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over 2 years ago Heather Baird

Hi Franca,
I've updated the recipe. For some reason the drop-down menu didn't save the info. Should be corrected now.

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over 2 years ago Franca

Hi the recipe states 1/2 honey, 1 unsalted butter and 1/4 powdered sugar. Is that in cups as it doesn't specify?

Thanks