1/2cuppulp-free juice or your favorite cocktailNote: If you use a mild juice flavor, you may want to mix it with lemon juice to make it more tangy. I used an actual margarita for mine. If you use a margarita or other cocktail, you’ll probably have some leftover to drink. Oh no! ;)
In a large saucepan on medium heat, combine 3/4 cup water, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and gelatin.
Bring to a boil, stirring regularly to ensure that no clumps of gelatin form.
As soon as the temperature reaches 230 F, take the pot off the burner - the syrup should still be quite liquidy. This should not take more than 25 minutes. If your syrup gets any hotter than 230 F, it will make your jelly beans too hard.
Set the pot in a bowl of ice to stop the temperature from rising. If you don’t have a bowl bigger than your pot, just fill your sink with ice water and put the pot in there.
Quickly stir in the juice (or booze) and salt.
Spray the jelly bean molds with non-stick spray and pour the syrup into the molds. I found that it was better to overfill the molds than to underfill them. The beans that I underfilled a little bit were harder to remove from the molds.
Let the jelly beans sit for four to six hours, or until the gelatin has hardened. It will still be gummy and sticky.
Pop the jelly beans out of the molds and transfer them to parchment paper. This part is a little bit tricky. I used a small spoon to dig them out. The great thing is that the beans are very forgiving. Don’t worry too much about mangling them when you remove them, as they hold their shapes surprisingly well.
Lightly dust the beans with cornstarch to help them dry. Let them sit for another few hours.
To make the outer shell, mix 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, and whatever food coloring you like.
Pour the mixture into a jar along with the jelly beans.
Seal the jar tightly. Tilt the jar at an angle (like a slide) and turn it in your hand (as you would a doorknob), preserving the angle. The goal is to make a mock version of a tumbler (a tool used for coating candy – that at $700 is cost-prohibitive for the average home baker) that allows the sugar to gradually build up and evenly coat the jelly beans. This step is extremely important. If the candy is not well-coated, it will not have a hard outer shell. Tumble for 10-15 minutes. This, my friends, is the workout portion of your candy making experience.
Fish the coated beans out of the liquid and place them on fresh parchment to dry and harden overnight.
Once the top side is hard, flip each bean and allow the other side to dry.