aka kiddie crack.
I couldn’t say how many of these sugar shots I downed as a child… oblivious, of course, to the fact that their cheerful fruity flavors probably contained a laundry list of ingredients, not one of them fruit.
But, hey. Kids don’t care about that stuff.
As long as they have their sugar.
Indeed, pixie sticks were one of my favorites, along side Smarties and Reese’s (you know, a good, balanced diet).
So when a random tweet pointed to a recipe for a homemade pixie stick, my sugar sensors kicked into high gear.
A few weeks and a few more bucks later (hey, I HAD to buy the new coffee grinder. Couldn’t have my pixies tasting like espresso, now, could we? Although… now that you mention it…)
I had a handful of homemade pixie sticks.
In flavors that 12-year-old me could never have imagined.
Granted, it wasn’t easy, per say (stuffing sticky sugar into itty bitty little openings is harder than it looks), but there’s no denying that these are fun. I found some reasonably priced freeze-dried fruit at Trader Joe’s, and once I had my shiny new coffee grinder and pack of color-coordinated paper straws, I was ready to go.
My first batch was surprisingly lack-luster. Lacking that particular punch of brightness. It needed citric acid in a big way. So once I had that ordered, then I was really ready to go. The citric acid, just a bit of it, made all the difference.
While you may be able to source the ingredients you need locally, you can also order them online. I got my citric acid on Amazon. There’s also a fabulous assortment of freeze-dried fruit (not to be confused with just dried fruit, I’d imagine that would gum up your coffee grinder in a hurry) at Nuts.com. I mean, blackberry? Pear? Elderberry? Hello gourmet pixie sticks. Oh, and you’ll also need straws. Take your pick (and perhaps hide your credit card).
Homemade Pixie Sticks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup freeze-dried fruit
1 teaspoon citric acid
For Cocoa Raspberry:
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
For Strawberry Vanilla:
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
In a (clean!) coffee grinder, combine sugar, dried fruit, and citric acid. Pulse until fruit is ground to a fine powder.
Crease and fold one end of a paper straw. Using a piece of paper rolled into a funnel, fill straw with sugar until almost full. It may help to use a toothpick to help the sugar flow through the funnel. Fold the top of the straw to seal.
Adapted from NPR.All images and text © Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.
(FYI, this post contains an affiliate link. I’m required by law to tell you. The spare change I’ll get if you order yourself some citric acid from Amazon might not seem like much, but it adds up. I promise I’ll only use it for good. Like chocolate. And sprinkles.)
Would this work if we dehydrated fruit? Trying to do this for a party and it’s hard to find that much freeze dried fruit that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg 😅
Unfortunately I don’t think that will work. Freeze-dried fruit has absolutely no moisture. Any little bit of moisture here will cause the mixture to stick and clump.
I have seen various fruit powders usually made from fruit juices vs whole fruit, something like this would work here and might be more cost effective.
Where did I go wrong? I used paper straws. And, freeze dried grapes. I am thinking the freeze dried grapes were to sticky because there was no way I could pour, stab, or blow the powder thru the straw to remove the Pixy Stix mixture. Any experience w/ freeze dried grapes? Or, maybe it was the kind of straw….? Would love to know bc I’d love to try it again… just not hopeful. I had to scrap this idea and just buy real pixy stix. BTW, love the lemon-flavored kool aid tip.
How long were they sitting out? I haven’t personally used grapes here, but some freeze dried fruit is really susceptible to humidity; if the powder sat in a humid environment for any length of time it will likely solidify. You can try storing in an airtight container or bag, throw in one of the silica packets from your freeze dried fruit which should help too.
Thanks for the reply. I had just made them in the grinder and filled the paper straws… and tested them that very moment. All stuck. So, we learned that freeze dried grapes from Thrive Life are too sticky. :-) Will try the others – freeze dried strawberries and raspberries – another day/year. Thx.
Use a small funnel to fill the “stix”
I don’t drink coffee, so I don’t own a coffee grinder. I do own a vitamix blender. Do you think this recipe would work in the dry blender?
In theory it should, but I’ve never tried it. I think as long as you had enough fruit in there to keep it moving. My vitamix did a great job grinding cookies to a very fine powder so I would assume it could do the same with fruit. If you try it let me know how it goes!
I tried fruit on it’s own and it was super-tasty! Thanks Lindsay! : )
I just wanted to post that I was Able to find the paper straws at target, and micheals. There were about$2.00 per pack.
Thank you for posting this recipe, it is really great. But while I’ve been experimenting with it I have run into the same problem over and over again-the powder won’t come out of the straw. I was able to find a manageable way to get the powder into the straws, but when I go to eat them the powder won’t come back out. Have you had this problem? I have been unable to find a solution.
Just a thought, Could you perhaps put the powder mix into a decorating bottle (the sort you would use for sugar cookies or fancy pancakes?) then sqeeze it into the straws from that? I have two grown up girls who would love these. :D
Question: how long will these last once you make them? Pixie sticks have a shelf life of about a billion years…what would you estimate it is for these?
They should keep for a month or so at least, although if you’re in a humid climate like we are, they do tend to clump quite a bit.
Could you do this with granulated Splenda? Some of my grandmonsters, (just like Granny) do not eat a lot of sugar. It makes us feel icky. Would be great to share without the shaky/head-achy part. I’ll give it a go and let you know?
If you like things sour you’d probably be ok doing just the fruit and citric acid. The fruit on its own is pretty tasty. I’d probably try that first over splenda.
You’re my newest BFF! As a kid I think I went through thousands of these straws, they were a total favourite with me. Ya know, among pounds full of Cadbury’s milk chocolate, Smarties and M&M’S (you get the idea, right?) I used to spend my hard earned morning, evening and hefty Sunday paper round money on all these sweet goodies.
Nothing’s changed since I became an adult. I still eat candy like I’m a child. In fact! I think I’m probably worse now. My Mum always thought I’d grow out of it, that showed her! I’m so glad that my metabolism is still good at 31 that I can still eat bucketfuls of sweets and candy and still not put on the pounds. Don’t think that’ll last for much longer though!! :/
How fun!! I would never have thought to do this. I bet it would be fun to make with the kids.
These are just pure sugar filled childhood genius!
O M G. I can see these being a hit with my kids. They’re so used to me making cupcakes and sweets but these will totally stand out since I don’t buy them the real things like “everybody else gets them, Mom.” Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait till your book comes out! I have big plans to subject my family to a slew of cookie dough desserts! I’m sure they’ll be so upset by it! ;)
Thanks for the tips, I must definitely try this!
OMG! are you kidding me? homemade pixie sticks. i love you.
I am so jealous that Taylor gets to eat all of your genius kitchen creations!
These are the cutest things ever!
I loved these as a kid!! Tubes filled with flavored sugar? HELLO! Such a fun idea to make yourself.
You are amazing. These are so cute.
I’m so glad you included the link for the straws because I was oohing and aahing over them!
Sheer genius Lindsay…I love these!
You’re pretty awesome but you already knew that I think that. These look wonderful!! Brings back memories!
This is the cutest idea! It looks a little challenging but the best stuff is! Great post!
Please delete my last comment…I was talking to my friend Lesley and having her on my mind I wrote Lesley! Sorry Lindsay…
LOVE love love this post! I have been wanting to buy those from amazon for my nieces but did not because the amount of sugar! But now looks like I can make my own. Thanks a bunch Lindsay ! You are a rock star!
LOVE love love this post! I have been wanting to buy those from amazon for my nieces but did not because the amount of sugar! But now looks like I can make my own. Thanks a bunch Lesley! You are a rock star!
Just FYI…the easiest way to add citric acid to almost anything is to add lemon flavored kool-aid mix to it. (From the small envelopes, not the bigger tubs where the sugar has already been mixed for you.) It doesn’t take a lot and it’s much cheaper.
P.S. You don’t have to buy a second coffee grinder…you can “clean” the coffee residue from your coffee grinder buy simply running coarse salt such as sea salt or rock salt thru a cycle in the grinder and then wiping it clean with a dry towel. The salt gets to all of the places I can’t clean such as the nooks and crannies under the blade.
That helps, thank you Sarah!
What a great idea! Such a better option than the store bought stuff. And it looks so pretty!
Oh my–these look and sound amazing. I lived for pixie sticks as a kid but it was a rarity if my mom would even let me have one!
Oh man I love these. I would however NOT share them with my nieces and nephews.
These look so yummy! And if you have any leftover citric acid, I hear it’s fantastic for making your own bath bombs (which I think the kids’ parents might need after you feel them all pixie sticks). That’s definitely been on my list for a while, and now so are the pixie sticks
These are adorable!! I have to make these, I think there so darn cute and my daughter would LOVE them!
This makes me want to squeal like a 6-year-old! How fun.
This is brilliant!
These look fun! love the straws too- so many flavor possibilities to try!
These are so cute!!! Your photos are just stunning. Love Love Love!!
too creative for words! Putting this on my Facebook fan page!
OMG these are so cute!! But to be honest I am afraid to give it a try and fail! :(
Boy, have I just been transported back to my youth! What a great recipe to do for my grands:-D Thank you, XOXO
This is a cute idea. I remember eating pixie sticks when I was a child whenever I wanted a sugar rush 8-)
How great are these?!
Ok, very cool. Now tell us about the straws……..
I LOVE this! I need to get myself some citric acid to try these out. I think it would be wasted on my kids, but my hubby and I would go crazy for these :D
Elderberry pixie sticks! Yes, please!
Yes yes yes!!! I am giddy!!!!!!!!!!
Nice! Like it very much!
I love these! They’re gorgeous. And super fun.
how creative! :D
Brilliant!! Can’t believe how little sugar these actually contain. :)
What a cute idea, perfect for the childrens birthsdays party, Thanks for the tip!
I, too, love Pixie Sticks! And Nerds and Spree’s! I love this idea, super cute!!
So cute and incredibly creative!
Oh thank you for the link to Sweet Lulu (or not…too much cute stuff$$) :)
I was wanting some cute props and paper straws for pics and was looking everywhere.
Great pixie stick recipe!
So fun! Love this idea!
Great idea. Looks so cute!
the last time I had a pixie stick was the day of my college graduation – my friend showed up with a handful of those oversized ones! as if we needed any more excitement that day ;)
these are wonderful – such a great idea!
What a brilliant idea. I use to love the giant pixie sticks lol… you know, the big plastic ones ha. They were so awesome and bad. Your flavor ideas sound great!
these are fantastic!!
This is beyond cool. Homemade pixie stix! I didn’t think it was even possible! Great job, haha
What a FUN/HAPPY post. Thank you so much for sharing your “trade-secrets!”
Hmmm. have you contacted Amazon for your new business??? Foodzie?
The “straw” is the limit… :”)
How cool! I’m sure the moms on Toddlers & Tiaras would go crazy for this….haha :)
These are precious!!! :D