Easter on a Dime: Make Your Own Jelly Beans

 

I’m a starving freelance writer with a generous heart—these two characteristics of my being don’t mix well. But I’ve found a variety of ways to work around it without people knowing how much I DIDN’T spend on things. You all are an exception, and I am glad to share my penny-pinching ways with you.

I have recently been infatuated with the idea of making my own candy, and I found a cool recipe for jelly beans/or jelly bean drops if you don’t want to buy the special “bean tray mold.”

What you’ll need:

~1 ½ cups water, and then ½ cup water

~2 ½ cups sugar, and then 1 cup sugar

~½ oz gelatin

~½ tsp. salt

~1 cup juice (this flavors your beans!)

~Cornstarch

~Vegetable oil

~3 or 4 Jelly bean pans or cookie sheets

~Saucepan

~Stainless steel pot with lid

~Wooden spoon

~Cooking thermometer

~Bowl of ice

~Food coloring

 

Pretty basic stuff, right? Good! Now let’s make the beans!

1. Combine 1 ½ cups water, 2 ½ cups sugar and ½ oz powdered gelatin in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously using the wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil.

2. Periodically check the temperature with a cooking thermometer as your stir until the temperature reaches 230 degrees F. Once it reaches 230 degrees, take the pan off the burner and CAREFULLY place it in a bowl of ice so that the temperature doesn’t increase any more. If you let it get hotter than 230 degrees, the jelly beans will end up being too hard—so 230 is your magic number, and don’t let it get any higher than that.

3. Now take your 1 cup of whatever flavor of juice you like. Start basic, because we don’t want to be making any of Bertie Bott’s reject beans. If you use a blander juice like blueberry or orange, you can add lemon juice for a little punch. In that case, you would use ¾ cups juice and ¼ cup lemon juice. Filter out pulp. After stirring in the juice, let the syrup cool.

4. Now, whether you use a cheap candy jelly bean mold or cookie sheet, lightly oil the surface with vegetable oil. Then you will quickly fill the mold or pour small, jelly-bean sized drops on the cookie sheet.

5. Let your soon-to-be delicious jelly beans sit in the trays for about 4 to 6 hours until completely firm. After they have sat and are firm, take them out onto a wax paper sheet and dust the sticky beans with cornstarch to dry them out. If they don’t pop out after you’ve let them sit in the trays, then put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes and try again.

6. For the outer shell coating, combine the jelly beans with ½ cup water and 1 cup sugar in a stainless steel pot with a lid. Add food coloring for some extra pizazz. Put the lid on top of the pot and quickly move the pot in a circular motion so that the beans are evenly coated with the sugar and/or color. Continue to check the beans until you no longer see a lot of moisture left in the pan.

7. Finally, place your coated jelly beans on cookie sheets and put in the fridge to sit for 2-3 hours until the shells are completely dried and hardened.

Finished product? Lookin great!

THIS person was feeling extra clever…

It’s George Clooney! People amaze me

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