“You want to be careful with those,” Ron warned Harry. “When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor – you know, you get all the ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but then you can get spinach and liver and tripe. George reckons he had a booger-flavored one once.”
Ron picked up a green bean, looked at it carefully, and bit into a corner.
“Bleaaargh – see? Sprouts.”
They had a good time eating the Every Flavor Beans. Harry got toast, coconut, baked bean, strawberry, curry, grass, coffee, sardine, and was even brave enough to nibble the end off a funny gray one Ron wouldn’t touch, which turned out to be pepper.
-Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
This kitchen experience has been deemed the longest, messiest, most frustrating one to date. Although I’m sure I’ll beat this one day.
I’ve just spent the last week trialling recipe after recipe on how to make jelly beans. Not so much the inside bit, but the coating. How hard can it be to get the right recipe? Eight different techniques later says it all…
First, let’s start with the flavouring that makes these jelly beans special. ‘Harry Potter; Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans’ special. Some of them gag worthy special. Bleaaargh is right.
To make the flavours we infused them into containers of ~25ml of vodka each, excluding the flavours already in flavouring/oil format (strawberry, coconut and peppermint).
We used the following amounts to make the following infusions.
Chocolate: 2 tsp cocoa powder.
Marmalade: 1 tsp of actual marmalade.
Spinach was steamed and was sprinkled with salt and a dab of butter, before being added to infuse.
Toast: Bread was toasted and added to the vodka along with melted butter.
Baked Beans: The juices from the can was used directly.
Curry: 1/2 tsp curry powder.
Coffee: seeped single coffee bag in vodka.
Sardine: half a canned sardine was added to the vodka (refrigerate whilst infusing)
Pepper: 1/4 tsp black pepper
There were a few flavours we didn’t try. Liver,tripe and booger for obvious reasons. Sprouts I just completely forgot about. And I found spinach had such a grass taste to begin with, there was no need to make him too.
All the flavours were then left to infuse for 24-48 hours. Once infused, they were drained using cheesecloth into new glass containers.
Making a homemade jelly bean
I have two opinions about making jelly beans.
A) go to the supermarket and just buy a bag and eat it.
B) If you really want to make your own flavours, buy a food grade silicone mold making kit (links to Amazon) before we start. Especially if you want it to look like a jelly bean. I’m not going to even suggest you fluff about with the whole ‘make corn starch molds, dip into coating’ method. It’s messy and it never goes smoothly in this case. Trust me, I tried it.
Rule #1. Know thy candy temperatures.
There’s three recipes out there that we came across, each with different temperatures. The first we came across states to cook the sugar to 230F/110C, which ultimately, is just to dissolve the sugar to eliminate the grit, and relies on the gelatin to make it gummy.
The next temperature us is 255F/125C, which in candy temperature terms, is the hard ball stage. it means the candy can be formed into a shape, and will hold that shape. This is the temperature we decided to work with.
Th final recipe was seen in a professional candy making cookbook and cooks the sugar to 275F/135C then reduces the temperature to 120C/242F, soft ball stage (same consistency as fudge and fondant) before mixing with the gelatin.
My point is? Understand why you are reaching that temperature and what will happen to the candy when you do.
Rule #2. Skin burns at 55C/130F. You’re working with 230F/110C +. Be safe.
Sugar burns can make any macho man whimper. So.
A) Think of this as a chemistry lab. Hair back, no dangling clothing or jewellery. Wear closed shoes and wear covered clothing. Kids and pets out.
B) Pay attention. Turn the tv off, leave your phone elsewhere.
C) If you get burnt, get it under cold running water pronto. The longer it’s sitting on your skin at that temperature, the longer it’s sitting there burning your skin.
Before you start, make your jelly bean mold following the package instructions. You’ll need jelly beans and the mold making putty. Press the jelly beans in to create your jelly bean mold you’ll be working with. We had ours make 15 jelly beans.
- cornflour/starch to dust the molds. It may be silicone, but cornflour makes it easier to pop out
- your flavours (see above)
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups water
- ⅕ tbsp gelatin powder
- ½ cup cornflour
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- fondant (homemade or store bought)
- Prep your workspace. You're making 12 flavours, so pull out 12 bowls, place the flavouring and colour next to each, along with a wooden stick for stirring (easier to throw out after), and small metal spoons for scooping.
- In a large saucepan with a heavy base, stir together the sugar and 1 cup water over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once dissolved, increase the heat to medium and place in a sugar thermometer.
- Note: from here, do not stir.
- Cook until it comes to a boil and reduce the heat to the lower end of medium heat.
- Cook until the temperature reached 125C/255F (this will take ~20-30 minutes. Slowly is good!)
- While the sugar is boiling, in another saucepan, whisk together gelatin, cornflour, cream of tartar and 1 cup water. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil and thickens.
- Once the sugar mixture has reached 125C/255F, pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture.
- Over low heat, stir until well combined.
- Next, pour the mixture evenly between each of the 12 bowls. Add a few drops of colouring and flavour to each bowl and give it a good stir until it's combined. If it starts to become too gummy, pop it into the microwave for 10 seconds.
- Once they're all mixed with the colour and flavours, set them aside.
- Now for the time consuming bit. Take your fondant, split it into 12 pieces, and with each piece, knead in a colour that will match a flavour.
- Next take one flavour, its fondant, the jelly bean mold and cornstarch.
- Dust the jelly bean mold with the cornstarch.
- Place half the fondant in a small glass container and microwave 10 seconds at a time until liquid. Pour into the molds. Try to swirl it or tip it upside down over the bowl so it just creates a casing, so there is space for the jelly bean centre.
- There's two ways of filling the centre. melt in microwave and pour. Or tear a small piece of the jelly bean and press into mold.
- Go through the fondant melting process again with the fondant left over to coat the top of the jelly bean.
- Pop into freezer for ~3 minutes to cool and harden, before popping out and storing in an air tight container.
- Repeat the process for the other flavours.
Packaging (click image to go to pdf)