Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Jelly Bee product review - Candy Melts & Flavouring Oils

When I was asked by Jelly Bee to review their candy melts and flavouring oils, I jumped at the chance. Their candy melts are made with real cocoa butter, and none of the artificial things that you might find in Wilton Candy Melts. This is evident in the price – at £7.99 for a 500g bag, these are most definitely a premium product for more discerning clients (by contrast, Wilton are £2.99 for about 14oz)

Their coloured melts are beautiful pastel shades in various flavours such as lemon & lime, cappucino, strawberry, honey, and orange. They are certainly delicious and I found it rather challenging to resist eating them before I melted them! I'd never nibble on a Wilton whilst waiting for them to melt, so the fact I ate almost a quarter of a bag in the melting process is really saying something.

Thinking of those chocolate lime boiled sweets I had in my childhood, I tried the lemon & lime over a chocolate flavoured cake pop and a strawberry chocolate combination too. Due to the cocoa butter content, I thought it best to melt in a double boiler, and to temper it, rather than risk the microwave. I therefore heated both up to 49 C, before seeding with the other half of the bag and dipping at 30 C. There weren't any instructions on how to use the melts on the bag, so it is possible that I did something incorrectly, of course.

Strangely, the lemon & lime was rather thick and did still bloom on my cake pop despite being tempered. To disguise this, I dusted with some silver lustre. They still tasted great, but I was a bit disappointed that they weren't perfect. The strawberry worked brilliantly, however – it was thinner to dip with, gave a smooth finish and dried quite promptly without the need for refrigeration.

Biting into the finished cake pops, you get that 'crack' of chocolate breaking that you don't get with a regular cake pop, so it did feel quite decadent.

I think the only downside with flavouring the candy melts beforehand, is that you don't have the flexibility – if you wanted to make green aliens for a child, say, they would have to be lemon/lime flavoured. Best for grown-ups as luxury pops, methinks!

One of the clients who tried them out for me asked for more of the lime, so I think we could be onto a winner there. They said “I think the lime one had more flavour than the strawberry. It's harder than the normal coating. Wasn't too sweet though so not sickly.”

I use a concentrated peppermint oil to flavour my mint-choc pops, so I'm no stranger to using them in my kitchen. I'm already a fan of the Lor-Ann flavouring oils (specifically the lemon and the lime) which are considerably more expensive (£2.75 for only 3ml, as opposed to £2.99 for 10ml for the Jelly Bee) so I'll definitely be purchasing some Jelly Bee oils once my current supply runs out. I use the lemon oil to flavour my lemon pops, as I find the lemon zest and juice alone isn't quite enough to give it the real zing that I'm looking for. I tried the Irish Cream concentrated oil-based flavouring in a chocolate cake pop, and whilst I wasn't a fan, my assistant thought it was lovely, so it's probably a personal thing. I have a few more flavours to try, but I'll save that for another time. They're very potent, so just a few drops go a long way.

The oil-based flavourings are also suitable for flavouring your candy melts and chocolate (although please be careful as too much can cause seizing, apparently) as well as frosting or buttercream or even hot drinks if you're that way inclined – so if you wanted to do something a bit different, they're a good choice. Check out the selection at: http://www.jellybeefoods.com/flavour-oils.html

In summary, if you're looking for a premium flavoured product for your cake pops and balls, then the Jelly Bee candy melts are a great choice. For everyday pops, however, I think their use might be a little more limited due to them being already flavoured and therefore not as versatile. The flavouring oils are fantastic for everyday use – definitely worth investing in!

Strawberry melt-covered pops - see how smooth they were, with no oil?

Lime flavoured melts, much thicker -a nice effect though, and very tasty

Friday, 3 February 2012

It's been a while, but my FACEBOOK interview!

So, I owe you some posts and they will be coming very soon (I have some AWESOME makes to share!) along with my first ever product review (exciting!). In the meantime, why not check out this video of me being interviewed by Facebook? I was a case study for small businesses using Facebook to get ahead. Did you know that 95% of my business comes via my FB page?

Facebook Initiatives 2012 - Final Cut from Newspepper on Vimeo.