Well, Easter has been and gone - are you all choc-ed out yet? My ultimate Easter surprise wasn't of the chocolate variety this year - I received this fabulous box of Jelly Belly jelly beans to review. Yum, they are my absolutely favourite sweet !
This big 500g box comes with a pretty springtime-inspired cardboard sleeve but the traditional Jelly Belly packaging can be found underneath. This extra sleeve is great for helping out your failing willpower when you can't stop eating them - you can't just lift the lid and sneakily poke your fingers inside, you actually have to go to the extra effort of taking off the sleeve before you can get into them ! And boy, is it worth it?! You get a whopping 40 flavours to try out ... are you ready for this ?! :
Strawberry Jam - Caramel Apple - Buttered Popcorn - Orange Sherbert - Chocolate Pudding - Strawberry Daiquiri - Vanilla - Green Apple - Pink Grapefruit - Raspberry - Kiwi - Berry Blue - Bubble Gum - Red Apple - Lemon - Cantaloupe - Crushed Pineapple - Strawberry Cheesecake - Blueberry - Lemon Lime - Coconut - Top Banana - Licorice - Cream Soda - Pomegranate - Very Cherry - Juicy Pear - Plum - Orange- Island Punch - Peach - Tutti-Fruitti - Margarita - Sizzling Cinnamon - Tangerine - Cappuccino -Toasted Marshmallow - Candy Floss - Watermelon - Pina Colada
The total weight of 500g corresponds to about a dozen jelly beans in each flavour. I love the fact that one bean is packed full of a huge amount of flavour so you can savour it for ages before going on to the next one. As each bean contains zero fat and just 4 calories, that means that I can eat them with a totally clear conscience even if I'm trying to lose weight !
My ultimate favourite thing about Jelly Belly is the recipe suggestions, where you take several flavours, pop them all in your mouth at once and get a real Willy Wonka moment when they all combine and taste just like something totally different ! The leaflet enclosed in this box had several recipes that I couldn't wait to try out.
First up, 2 x Very Cherry + Buttered Popcorn + Caramel Apple = Cherry Turnover. (Why couldn't maths be this much fun at school?!)
2 x Blueberry + Buttered Popcorn = Blueberry Muffin
Chocolate Pudding + 2 x Cappuccino + Raspberry = Raspberry Mocha
2 x Lemon + 2 x Coconut = Lemon Meringue Pie
And there's still more !
Kiwi + Strawberry Jam + Blueberry + Cantaloupe = Fruit Salad
2 x Green Apple + Cinnamon = Candy Apple
2 x Strawberry Jam + 2 x Vanilla = Strawberry Shortcake
But, believe it or not, you don't just have to restrict yourself to these "virtual" recipes - you can also incorporate Jelly Belly jelly beans into proper cooking. You may remember I shared a recipe for Jelly Belly pancakes for Shrove Tuesday but the fabulous Helen from Fuss Free Flavours has done it again and come up with these Jelly Belly Easter Nest Cupcakes.
Jelly Belly Easter Nest Cupcakes
Pretty vanilla cupcakes each topped with butter cream and a chocolate nest of Jelly Belly "eggs". You can use any Jelly Belly beans for decoration but the Ice Cream Parlour mix is especially pretty with egg like speckles!
For the cakes:
125g softened butter or baking margarine
125g caster sugar
2 eggs - beaten
125g self raising flour - or plain flour with a tsp of baking powder added
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 - 2 tbs milk
Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand held mixer or in your stand mixer. Add the eggs together with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well.
Sieve the flour, baking powder, vanilla essence and salt and fold into the batter. If the batter is very stiff add the milk to loosen the mixture.
Line a bun tin with fairy cake cases. Fill each case 2/3 full with batter and bake at 190C / GM 5 for about 12 - 14 minutes.
The buns are done when risen and springy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then removed from the tin.
For the Buttercream
This quantity will be enough to pipe the frosting onto the cakes - if you are going to spread the frosting you can reduce the amounts by a third.
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
Green food colouring
1 - 2 tbs milk
The secret to fluffy buttercream is to beat the butter really well before you add any sugar.
Place the butter in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until soft and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar beating as you go. Add the milk to loosen the mixture. Add the food colouring a few drops at a time until the frosting is the colour you require.
You can also make your buttercream in a food processor, again beat the butter well before adding the icing sugar, milk and colouring.
For the Chocolate Nests
1 ½ tbs golden syrup
1 ½ tbs cocoa powder
1 ½ tbs white granulated sugar
50g shredded wheat - crushed
Place the butter, syrup, cocoa powder and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring all the time, until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the crushed shredded wheat.
Dollop teaspoons of the mixture onto a piece of greaseproof paper or silicon baking mat and shape into nests by flattening and hollowing out the centre. Allow to cool and set.
Pipe or spread the buttercream onto each cake, top each with a chocolate nest filled with a few Jelly Belly jelly bean "eggs".
Wow ! What more can I say, except don't go away - I have a fab giveaway coming right up for all you Jelly Belly fans.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £16.18 for the 500g 40-flavour gift box
for more information : www.jellybelly-uk.com
Disclosure : I received the product in order to write an honest review.
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