Looking for something super easy and delicious to make for your child’s Easter basket? Looking for an excuse to eat jelly beans and chocolate at the same time?
Mmmmm. Jelly beans and chocolate.
Adult reactions to this candy varied from “GET IN MY BELLY!” to “Gross”. However, the children are in total agreement. Thumbs up all around. Comments included “Yummm”, “Now THAT looks good” (I suppose in stark contrast to my other food) and “Ohhhh. Can I have some?”
Making this candy is very easy, it takes about 10-15 minutes, but it does require you to do something that you might find a little bit scary.
To make this right, you will want to temper your chocolate.
WAIT, come back! It isn’t that hard to temper chocolate despite everything you have heard. To make this process REALLY easy, however, you will need one particular tool, a laser thermometer.
WAIT, come back! I know you probably don’t have a laser thermometer and you can use a candy thermometer instead. Still, I recommend that you go online right now and buy a laser thermometer like this one.
I have owned several and, so far, the Mastercool has been the best.
Laser thermometers are surprisingly useful. I use mine all the time for everything from gauging the temperature of my food & oven to discovering if my daughter has a fever. You can test the efficiency of your windows, the heat of your radiators or if your refrigerator is cold enough. Really, anything you would use a regular thermometer for can be done in a nanosecond with your new laser thermometer.
Step one: Buy a laser thermometer. Yep, I’m serious. You won’t regret it. (or alternatively, you can use a candy thermometer)
Jelly Bean Bark
- 1 pound of High Quality Chocolate (white, milk or dark) – Almost exclusively I use Callebaut Belgian Chocolate that I can get ridiculously cheaply at the Restaurant Depot because of my food business. If you can sneak in and get some, I would recommend it. The different varieties are about $3.25-$3.75 a pound, but you do need to buy them in 11 pound blocks. What a hardship.
- 1/2 cup or more of Jelly Beans (Fruit Flavors) – I am a Jelly Belly girl all the way, but if you want a different kind (my kids love Starburst Jelly Beans), go for it. Just make sure that they have a strong fruity flavor.
TEMPERING THE CHOCOLATE (Stay with me!!)
This isn’t rocket science. You are going to gently melt your chocolate to break down any structure that exists and then you are going to very slowly cool it back to solid by adding finely chopped tempered chocolate that will cause the chocolate to reform in a new shape with the right kind of molecular structure that it had before. You keep stirring said chocolate (mmmmm. chocolate) until it drops to the right temp and then you spread it out and don’t mess with it anymore until it is solid. Done.
That’s the concept. Here is the practice.
- Chop your chocolate very finely.
- Place approximately 3/4 of the chocolate in a glass bowl in a microwave for 20 seconds exactly.
- Stir the chocolate and continue to microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny.
- Add the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until smooth.
- Keep stirring until the chocolate measures 87 to 89 degrees F for dark chocolate OR 86-87 degrees F for white chocolate.
- Quickly spread the tempered chocolate on a parchment lined baking sheet in a rough square until it is roughly 1/3 of an inch thick. Knock the baking sheet on the counter a couple of times to remove any big bubbles.
Now, quick as a bunny, on to the next step.
ADDING THE JELLY BEANS
Quickly arrange the jelly beans decoratively on the chocolate pressing them in slightly.
Let the pan sit until the chocolate is completely solid. How long this will take depends on the temperature of your room. Mine set up in about 10-15 minutes.
Then, just break up the chocolate into rough pieces. If you want to avoid finger prints, make sure your hands are cold and use gloves or even just hold the chocolate with pieces of plastic or parchment paper when you handle it.
I made all three kinds (dark, milk and white) and white chocolate was definitely the prettiest. However, they all tasted great!