It's been a busy week in terms of my Jelly Job, as I've started to call it - making a cache of simple recipes that people can choose from for their eating pleasure during our weekend event.
All six of these recipes involve only a few ingredients, have relatively little prep work, and can be easily modified to suit your taste (or what's in your pantry). One is even straight from the "For Kids" section! If a tween can do it, ...actually there's some pretty impressive tweens out there. Don't go down that rabbit hole. Instead, know that I was able to make all of these successfully, half-asleep, with low blood sugar, at 2am, without waking anybody up with an electric mixer.
Flake it until you make it
In terms of texture, I've talked before about the wonders of whipping; aerating slightly thickened gelatin is really transformative, and results in a fluffy, light dessert. But what if you already committed to firmly set gelatin, only to find that your choice of mold was...not ideal?
I had successfully used small silicone molds (common for candy-making, fancy ice cubes, cosplay accessories...) for frozen gelatin recipes, so when I decided to try making Knox Blox (basically Knox Gelatine's recipe for cube-able, flavored gelatin) with various liquids I had in my fridge, I figured "Let's skip the slicing and dicing, and use all these molds!"
Reader, don't use all those molds. It's possible that if I had let the gelatin set overnight (recommended when you are making firm gelatin shapes) I may have had more luck unmolding. But I suspect the small size of the mold just didn't give me enough play to pop them out without flaws. The standard advice to pour the gelatin into a rectangular sided pan and cut out the shapes from the resulting sheet is sound. I do have some Jell-o Jigglers™ branded molds with little Halloween ghosties and bats and what not, but they are fairly shallow, which I think is another crucial factor.
In any case, if you run into an unmolding disaster, don't fret it! Just find a fork and flake it!
Yes, you just shred firm-set gelatin with a fork. You can use a ricer if you wanna get fancy. Pile the resulting flakes into a fancy glass or cup, and garnish. Combine different color flakes for extra pizzazz. (I don't recommend flaking too much ahead of time, as the gelatin can re-glue itself back into a giant blob, which still tastes okay, but kind of defeats the point.)
In terms of making your own gelatin flavors, I found that fruit-flavored carbonated beverages worked best, followed by 'juice drinks', with straight fruit juice being just okay. Honestly, I think it boils down (and yes, I'm still having fun boiling soda) to balancing sugar and acidity. If using pure fruit juice, consider diluting it and/or sweetening it; you can taste test the mixture before pouring it into molds and adjust as needed.
A Gelatin of Culture
Have I told you how much I like whipped gelatin? Oh, every week? Literally just in the last section? ...Well my parents also enjoy whipped gelatin, so I favor recipes that call for whipping. I'm not eating all this gelatin by myself.
Lately, I've been whipping gelatin with a wire whisk, instead of breaking out the electric mixer. Anyone who knows me can tell you that 'stamina' is not anywhere near my list of physical characteristics, so it really doesn't take much (as long as it is thickened enough). Underwhip before pouring? No problem! The unwhipped gelatin will sink to the bottom of the glass and create a two-toned dessert. You meant to do that!
This easy whip involves adding yogurt. I have not bought yogurt in ten years, and I likely will not for ten years more. Have you seen the yogurt aisle? No wonder my sister just makes her own. The decision fatigue alone...
1 3-ounce package flavored gelatin (any flavor)
1 cup boiling water
¾ cup cold water
8 ounces yogurt (Kelp tip: good luck in the yogurt aisle)
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add cold water, and chill until slightly thickened. Add yogurt and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Pour into glasses or what not and chill about 2 hours.
Easy Peasy Parfaits
I follow an account on Twitter that just shows me theme cafe news. All parfaits, all the time. Those tall spoons...fluted glasses...someone's IP branded content- ah sorry. Got distracted.
Most parfaits are actually pretty easy - the hard part is having the right glass and spoon, honestly. The second hardest part? Getting the Maraschino cherry not to bleed on the whipped cream. (Yes, I have a technique.) Third hardest? Layering! Really, it's all about the layering. But even if you don't end up with a picture perfect parfait, it'll still taste good. Here are two foundation recipes for gelatin parfaits - I made both using lime-flavored gelatin, but any flavor should work.
1 3-ounce package flavored gelatin
¾ cup boiling water
2 cups ice cubes
1 cup whipped topping
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add ice cubes and stir constantly until gelatin starts to thicken (about 2 minutes). Remove any unmelted ice. Remove ¾ cup gelatin mixture and set aside. Fold whipping topping into remaining gelatin. Alternately spoon plain gelatin and whipped topping mixture into glasses. Carefully zigzag spatula or knife thru mixture to marble, and chill to set. (Kelp tip: Depending on the glass, best to just achieve the marbled effect when layering and skip the zigzag.)
1 3-ounce package flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 cup club soda
¼ cup cold water
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Whipped topping (optional)
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water in a large bowl. Add club soda and cold water. Chill until slightly thickened. Reserve 1 cup of thickened gelatin in a small bowl and set aside. Place a scoop of ice cream in each glass and partially fill glasses with thickened gelatin. (Kelp tip: You can skip the ice cream, or add it later atop of set gelatin, or incorporate melted ice cream into the next step.) Beat remaining gelatin (in small bowl) until light and fluffy. Fill remainder of each glass with whipped gelatin. Chill sodas until firm (about 2 hours). Before serving, garnish as desired.
A Blanc Slate
One of the perks of making simpler recipes is how easy they are to modify to your tastes. The Knox Gelatine booklet often details a foundation recipe (such as a Bavarian Cream) and then spends a whole page on variations. For the last two easy recipes, I tried my hand at a Blanc Mange (pretty much just sugary milk) and a Jiffy Cooler (pretty much just ice cream). The former tasted fine, but is definitely a plain dessert; I layered it with fruit, but next time I'll try making the chocolate variation.
As for the Jiffy Cooler, I have full faith with the recipe despite being displeased with the results, since I have made a number of gelatin desserts that involve incorporating melted ice cream to great success. So where did I go wrong? In my efforts to make a more photogenic dessert, I broke out the grape flavored gelatin...and ended up with a grey dessert that tasted faintly of kid's cold medicine. (I still drank about half of it. I think that cup is cursed, tho.) The original recipe specifies "any red flavor" and I think that's the way to go.
1 level tbsp Knox Gelatine
2 cups milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup + 2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Soak gelatine in ¼ cup of cold milk for about five minutes. Scald remaining milk with sugar, then add soaked gelatine. Strain, cool slightly, add flavoring and pour into molds, and chill. When firm, unmold and serve with currant, strawberry, or any preferred jelly, or with whipped cream, pineapple, strawberry or any fruit sauce. When Blanc Mange begins to stiffen, any sliced canned or fresh fruit, drained of juice, may be stirred through the mixture.
(For Chocolate Blanc Mange, add a square of melted chocolate or 3 tbsp cocoa and 2 tbsp more sugar to the scalded milk.)
1 3-ounce package flavored gelatin (maybe not grape...)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water (Kelp tip: I plan to replace this with milk next time)
2 cups vanilla ice cream
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water in a large bowl. Then add cold water and stir. Add ice cream by spoonfuls, stirring until melted. Pour into glasses or serving dishes. Chill.
That does it for this Early Edition of the Jelly July Journal! See you all this weekend~
Join us for Jelly July on July 24th-25th for virtual panels, contests, and a jelly-themed party! For more info, check out the Jelly July page and follow Bay Area Kei on social media for updates. If you're making your own jellied creations, be sure to use the hashtag #jellyjuly and tag @bayareakei! If you want to follow along Kelp's Jelly Journey, follow her on Instagram @itskelp.