Jolly Rancher is an American brand of sweet, somewhat tangy or sour/sweet hard candy, gummies, fruit chews, jelly beans, lollipops, gelatin desserts, gum, and sodas. It is currently owned by The Hershey Company
Using a Microwave
Place 4 Jolly Ranchers in a microwave-safe dish.
A bowl will work, but depending on where you will be pouring the melted candy, a coffee cup will pour a little cleaner.
If you are microwaving more than 4 candies at a time, you will need to increase the cooking time.
4 candies will produce about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of liquid.Be sure whatever it is has a handle because the candy will be quite hot once melted.
A glass Pyrex measuring cup works quite well. If heating multiple batches, though, give the glass time to slowly cool between heating.
Microwave the Jolly Ranchers at 80% power.
Initially cook them for approximately 1 minute. Microwaves will vary, so you will need to adjust based on your specific model. This should get all four pieces to melt in one go.
If the candies do not melt entirely on the first heat, cook them again in 15-second intervals. Then in the second batch, heat for the combined time.
Remove the candies from the microwave carefully.
Once the candies are melted, they will be very hot, so handle with care. Using an oven mitt or dish towel can help you handle the dish if it is hot as well.
The liquid will begin to harden again within a few minutes, so you will need to work quickly. If it hardens again, simply reheat the candy in 15-second intervals to liquify them again.
Melting in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
Some recipes call for different heats, which you can follow, but this temperature will allow the candies to be melted in a shorter time.
Place your unwrapped candies in an oven safe pot while the oven heats.
Use a little more candy than your recipe or idea calls for so you have extra to work with. Make sure the candies are level with or lower than the lid of the pot so that the liquid will not overflow when it is done cooking.
Put the candies in evenly stacked layers to ensure they melt evenly in the pot, depending on how much liquid you need to make.
You can expect the liquid to be about half the height of the candies themselves depending on how well they are packed into the pot.
Heat your candies in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
You do not need to stir the liquid. The less agitation while heating, the fewer air bubbles you will have. If working towards a thin candy-coating, air bubbles will cause cracking.
Remove from the oven when the candy has melted.
Keep an eye on the liquid as you get near the 10 minute mark. You will want to remove the candy once all the pieces have melted fully. If you heat for too long, it will begin to bubble from the heat. Don’t forget to use oven mitts!
Use the liquid immediately after removing it from the heat. Keep the oven on in case the mixture begins to harden again, but you should have a few minutes to work with the liquid before it does.
If the liquid re-hardens before you are done, pop it back in the oven for about 2-3 minutes.
Using Your Melted Jolly Ranchers
Use a mold to reshape the candy.
By using a decorative mold, you can reshape the Jolly Ranchers into a themed candy. Allow the candy liquid to cool and re-harden for about 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
Make sure your mold is approved for high heat. Some plastic or chocolate molds will not hold up to the melted liquid.
Coat apples with your Jolly Ranchers.
Dip each apple in the liquid and hold above the pot for about 30 seconds to allow the liquid to stop dripping. Then place the apple onto a non-stick sheet or plate to cool. In 10-15 minutes, you’ve got a new take on caramel apples.
If the liquid isn’t deep enough to dip anymore, you may need to transfer them to a smaller, deeper bowl or pot. Otherwise, you can pour the liquid over the apples, although this can be more messy!
Use a stick or skewer to pierce and handle the apples. This makes dipping and eating cleaner and safer.
Each apple will need about 12 candies to coat it.
Make lollipops using molds and candy sticks.
You can find specific lollipop molds in stores that just require pouring the liquid over the candy stick into the mold!
Using either of the melting methods above, you will simply pour the liquid over the molds that have a lollipop stick in them.
Once the candy hardens completely, it will have formed around the stick into a lollipop.
Mix the liquid into your favorite drinks.
The melted candy will dissolve well into other liquids, such as alcohol. Approximately 12 candies to 8 fluid ounces (227 mL) of liquid will make a fairly sweet drink.
Try mixing them into a brewed tea while it is hot. Then once it cools, you will have a fruity iced tea!
Cooled drinks will take a little longer for the candies to mix with. Consider heating the drink before mixing in the candy liquid if you are in a hurry