Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans

Hooray for a magical treats! We have reached a sentence that will take us a little while to get through:

"What she did have were Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life (Sorcerer's Stone 101).

It never really occurred to me that jelly beans could be made at home. I could only find a couple recipes of how to make them (all can be found at The one I chose was pretty much a disaster. Perhaps the others yield better results. Clearly the correct choice is to simply buy some. Perhaps your local Hogwarts Express Trolley Lady can sell you some. But for now, here is my attempt to make jelly beans. 

You Will Need:
1 1/2 cups (plus 1/2 cup) water
2 1/2 cups (plus 1 cup) sugar
1/2 oz plain gelatin
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup your favorite juice (with any pulp filtered out)
vegetable oil
jelly bean molds or cookie sheets (you really do need some kind of mold)
candy thermometer

1. In a medium to large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, 2 1/2 cups sugar, and the gelatin, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and slowly bring to a boil.

2. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. (The recipe says 230, but that is the point at which syrup forms threads, not a soft ball. And since I went with 230, and my jelly beans were a disaster, I'm guessing that may have been a contributing factor.). 
3. When the temperature reaches 240, place the pan in a large bowl of ice to stop the temperature from increasing any further. 
4. Immediately stir in your juice and the salt. The recipe recommends that you add some lemon juice to give your chosen flavor some zip (I didn't). Allow the mixture to cool.

5. Pour the cooled mixture into your (greased with vegetable oil) chosen mold. I don't have jelly bean molds, so I used truffle molds and tried to make enormous jelly beans.

6. This is the point at which things turned disastrous for some reason. You should let the jelly beans sit for 4-6 hours. The recipe does not say to put them in the fridge. After 10 hours, they were still jelly. Then I put them in the fridge. 10 more hours later, they were more solid... but not so much like jelly beans as like gummy bears. The recipe suggested sprinkling them with cornstarch to help them dry out.

7. The candies need to be coated so they have an outer shell. The easy way to do this is with a candy-coating attachment on a kitchen mixer. I don't have one of those. The other way is with a pot with a lid and very burly arms. Put the gummies in the pot with 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar and pop the lid on. Then, holding the pot at an angle and holding the top on, swirl it so that the beans swirl around the pot with the sugar.

8. Unfortunately, this did not turn my gummies into candy-coated jelly beans. It turned them to mush.

Soooo, yeah. You're supposed to keep swirling until the moisture is absorbed, and then put them in the fridge for 3 hours to harden. At which point, you should apparently have jelly beans.

...or you could just go buy some.

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