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How to Make Jelly Beans at Home

Seriously delicious confections like jelly beans are hard to resist any time of the day. This highly addictive candy is quite easy to make at home, especially when you have this Buzzle post to give you a hand with an easy jelly bean recipe.
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Different version of jelly beans recipe
The History of Jelly Beans

Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States was a connoisseur of jelly beans. He is rumored to have been the force behind the creation of blueberry-flavored jelly beans, just so that he could serve red, white, and blue colored beans during his parties.
From being a presidential favorite to an Android version, the humble jelly bean has been all over the place. They're colorful and portable, and not to mention, delicious as well which makes it ever so easy to get to the bottom of a bag in no time.

So, if you happen to be a jelly bean addict who is tired of running down to the store to keep replenishing your stock, we've got some good news for you.

The jelly bean recipe we've brought you isn't really a cakewalk, so be prepared for some variations in the final product. Beginning with small batches and improvising along the way is a concurrent theme with all amateur cooks, I suppose. The only piece of advice for you would be to not give up, and thoroughly enjoy the ride towards attaining perfection.

Homemade Jelly Bean Recipe
Homemade jelly beans

INGREDIENTS

For the candy
  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of desired juice
  • ½ cups of water
  • ½ ounce of powdered gelatin*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Big bowl of ice cubes
  • Cooking spray
  • Cornstarch for dusting
    *Vegetarians can replace gelatin with apple pectin.
For the coating
  • 1 cup of confectioners' sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Food coloring
Tools
  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Wooden spatula
  • Candy mold
  • Glass jar

PROCEDURE

Making the jelly beans

In the saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and powdered gelatin. Always ensure that the saucepan has a thick bottom so that the mixture does not burn as it begins to thicken.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and keep stirring the contents using a long spatula. Be patient and let it boil steadily―you don't want this to heat too much too soon, or you'll end up with hard candy.

Reach for your cooking thermometer to check the temperature occasionally. We want it to reach precisely 230 degrees F, and not any warmer for that jelly-like consistency to the candy. Getting to this temperature should take 20 - 25 minutes.

Once it attains the perfect temperature, immediately set the saucepan on a bed of ice, thus preventing it from heating any further.

This is when you quickly stir in your flavored juice along with the salt. You have the option of adding lemon juice at this stage, if you're aiming for a tangy aftertaste (recommended!). In case you go in for the lemon, remember the proportion: ¾ cup of fruit juice + ¼ cup lemon juice.

If you're making the adult version of jelly beans, replace the fruit juice with flavored spirits or cocktails―go for a classy martini or a delicious margarita, or even good ol' tequila or flavored vodka. The proportion remains the same.

Next, bring in your candy molds and grease them ever so slightly with a dash of cooking spray. Pour the mixture slowly into the mold. Alternatively, you can also use a cookie sheet in the same manner, placing tiny spoonfuls of the mixture on it. Make sure to work fast at this stage, because the mixture is already in the process of hardening.

Now relax for a bit, put your feet up, as your jelly beans need 6 - 7 hours to set. Avoid touching them every now and then as you'll only end up fingerprinting them.

The jelly beans will easily pop out of the molds once they're completely dry, dust them with cornstarch if they're too stubborn and let them sit for a while. The cornstarch will dry them out.

Now to the coating

Mix the confectioners' sugar with water in a glass jar, and add the food coloring to it. Use different jars for different colors, obviously. Lid the jar and shake it a bit to let things mix.

Pour the jelly beans in the jar, and lid the jar tightly.

Now, hold the jar horizontally and roll it so that the mixture evenly coats the beans inside, Keep doing so until most of the mixture is on to the jelly beans and not lining the jar. This does take sometime, so do this while watching TV.

Next, lay out the jelly beans on a cookie sheet, ensuring that they don't stick to each other. Place this in the refrigerator for 3 hours to harden up. Again, do not keep touching the beans under the pretext of "checking" them, you'll end up spoiling the beautiful glaze.

And there you have it―delicious homemade jelly beans, all in a day's work. Tell us all about it along with any improvisations you made along the way.
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Published: August 20, 2014
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