Categories
Cookies Dessert

Sugar cookies had me at ‘Jell-O’

Jell-O Sugar Cookies
Jell-O sugar cookies with Jell-O frosting can be made in every color of the rainbow.

A few months ago, Joey and I moved into a new house, and I must confess that my pantry is still an absolute mess.

I often reference my pantry in this column, but up until we moved, my “pantry” has always been a large, open bookshelf in my kitchen, so a lot of my food items are tucked into containers and baskets to give it all the semblance of organization.

Now I have an entire, floor-to-ceiling cabinet, and I haven’t quite figured out how to get it into a state I’m proud of yet.

While digging for some rarely used Christmas spices, I came across a stash of gelatin, which I totally forgot existed. I added it to another stack of Jell-O I already had, wondering how and why I had so many boxes of the stuff, when I don’t really use it all that often.

(If someone understands the finer points of gelatin reproduction, you might enlighten me.)

But, in following with my new resolve to rid my pantry of its overabundance, I found a recipe that let me use up two whole boxes of gelatin, which I was pretty excited about.

I found a cookie recipe on the blog “Family Cookie Recipes.” You can find it at https://familycookierecipes.com/jello-sugar-cookies/ .The author suggests a frosting recipe, too, but I decided to go a different direction. The frosting recipe I used came from “Little Delights Cakes.” You can find that one at http://littledelightscakes.com/jello-frosting/. The recipe author notes that sugar-free Jell-O shouldn’t be used for making this. My only changes were to add a bit more vanilla to the frosting and bring these two great recipes together.

Jell-O Sugar Cookies
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Jell-O Sugar Cookies

Jell-O sugar cookies with Jell-O frosting can be made in every color of the rainbow.
Course Dessert
Keyword colorful, cookies, frosting, gelatin, Jell-O

Ingredients

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces Jell-O any flavor
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting Ingredients

  • 3 ounces Jell-O any flavor
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Instructions

  • For the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, and then beat in the Jell-O.
  • Beat the eggs in until the mixture is smooth, and then finish out by beating in the dry ingredients.
  • When everything is well-incorporated, scoop the dough by the tablespoon onto a prepared cookie sheet, spacing them about two inches apart.
  • Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
  • Let the cookies cool completely before frosting them.
  • For the frosting, combine the Jell-O, sugar, vanilla and egg white in a mixing bowl and beat together until they’re well combined.
  • Add in the boiling water and beat the mixture for about 7 minutes to get the frosting nice and fluffy. To make it easier to spread on the cookies, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to let it set up a bit.
  • Spread or pipe the frosting onto the finished cookies and store them in an airtight container. (Fair warning: this frosting is more like a whipped cream, so it won’t harden, and you won’t be able to stack the finished cookies.)

These were really good. I had an overabundance of strawberry gelatin, so that’s what I used for both the cookies and the frosting, but you could use any flavor combination that sounds good to you.

I also wondered if you could make two different colors and swirl the dough together to get a fun look.

It felt nice to get a couple items cleaned out of the pantry, but I’m still going to need to get to work on my food organization. There may be even more surprises just waiting to be discovered.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 2, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Salad Side Dish

Recipe traditions can provide a ‘berry’ Christmas

This simple combination of ingredients is a beautiful addition to the family table for the holidays.

This is the first year of major holidays our family will celebrate without my maternal grandparents. Thanksgiving was a tough transition to the new normal, and I know Christmas will be even more difficult.

When my paternal grandmother passed away several years ago, I began taking solace in using her pie pans every holiday season. Bringing them out of my cupboard always makes me feel close to her.

I employed the same strategy this Thanksgiving, baking pies in her pans, and then pulling out the handwritten recipe for cranberry sauce I asked my maternal grandma for only a year before.

In typical Grandma fashion, there were no measurements—although, to her credit, she wrote it down for me from memory while we sat chatting after dinner—but as I tentatively walked the aisles of my grocery store, wondering if I’d be able to decipher what she meant by a “tuna-sized” can of crushed pineapple, I discovered that her instructions were perfect.

She had given me just what I needed to recreate the cranberry sauce that graced her Thanksgiving and Christmas tables alike throughout my childhood.

So I wanted to share it with you this week. I added the measurements for the ingredients now that I have them figured out.

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Lola’s Cranberry Sauce

This simple combination of ingredients is a beautiful addition to the family table for the holidays.
Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword Christmas, cranberry, pineapple, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

  • 6- ounce package cherry gelatin
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 14 ounces jellied cranberry
  • 1 cup diced celery

Instructions

  • Prepare the cherry gelatin according to package instructions. Once it is set up, proceed with the next step.
  • Drain the crushed pineapple well.
  • In a serving bowl, stir together all the ingredients. (It’s kind of fun to mess up a whole batch of perfectly set gelatin.)
  • Once everything is well-combined, serve or refrigerate covered overnight.

This has always been one of my favorite side dishes at our family get togethers. It’s certainly nothing fancy, and I don’t think it would win any culinary awards, unlike many of my grandma’s other recipes, but it tastes like the holidays to me.

My favorite way to eat it growing up (and I confess I may still employ this strategy), was to put a spoonful into the middle of a dinner roll and enjoy it like jelly.

I will warn you that the gelatin and jellied cranberry break down pretty quickly if you leave this sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, so it’s best to either stir it up the same day you plan to enjoy it or the night before.

I chopped my celery and mixed up the gelatin the night before so it was simple to throw together right before our meal.

And if you get some especially green celery, you’ll get perfect Christmas colors to add to the holiday table.

I’m still working on perfecting recipes from both of my grandmothers without the benefit of their help these days. It always makes me feel connected to them, even if I’m not always the best at recreating each dish.

Celebrating the holidays without loved ones is tough, but just like my grandma’s handwritten notes for cranberry sauce, the people we’ve lost often give us just what we need to keep going—whether we realize it or not.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 12, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Gelatin pie will make you say ‘Jell-O, there’

Strawberry gelatin pie is a cool treat for a hot day, with very simple ingredients and preparation.

With heat advisories peppering the weather reports this past week, I found myself in serious need of a cool, summer dessert that wouldn’t heat my kitchen past its breaking point.

I guess I didn’t really “need” it, but when the heat index is pushing into the triple digits, I often search for something sweet to try to cool things down a bit. Of course, I’m nearly always in search of something sweet.

This time, I opted for a non-ice-cream treat, which is rare for me, and I instead reached for a box of strawberry gelatin sitting in my pantry.

I was in the mood for a slice of pie, and since I’d recently found a recipe for a gelatin pie I wanted to try, I decided it was high time to whip one up.

The recipe I found was on the blog “Spaceships and Laser Beams.” You can find the original post at https://spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com/no-bake-strawberry-jello-pie/. I changed absolutely nothing, except I realized quickly that there is way too much filling produced by this recipe for just one pie, so I added an additional crust. If you’d rather make just one, you’ll just have leftover filling that you can let setup in the fridge and eat in non-pie form.

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Strawberry Gelatin Pie

Strawberry gelatin pie is a cool treat for a hot day, with very simple ingredients and preparation.
Course Dessert
Keyword gelatin, Jell-O, no bake, strawberry

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 3- ounce package strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 16 ounces frozen whipped topping defrosted
  • 2 prepared 9-inch graham cracker crusts

Instructions

  • Add the gelatin to the 2/3 cup of boiling water and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  • In a large bowl, combine the gelatin and cold water and stir it until it begins to thicken just a little. Add in the whipped topping and stir well.
  • Refrigerate the filling for 30 minutes to let it begin to set up.
  • Stir the filling and spoon evenly into the two crusts.
  • Refrigerate the pies for at least three hours or overnight before slicing.
  • Store covered in the refrigerator.

This is one of those recipes that would be perfect for a beginning cook, especially if you do like I did and boil the water in the microwave instead of on the stovetop.

I also lazily created my ice water by putting a cube in my one-cup measuring cup, filling it with cold water, and waiting. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long to dissolve into nice, super cold water.

If you’ve never tried a gelatin pie before, it’s incredibly airy, making it the perfect, light after-dinner treat, and since it’s such a pretty shade of pink, it’s a nice addition to the table. You could easily decorate it with some more whipped cream if you wanted to.

And, while I won’t claim this as a health food, I did use the low-fat whipped topping and a reduced-fat graham cracker crust, so despite the fact that it’s most certainly still a dessert, it didn’t pack the calorie wallop that most pies tend to have.

Plus, it did cool me down, for at least a couple minutes, which was nice, but full disclosure, if Mother Nature persists with this balmy weather, it will probably take more than one slice to do the job.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 22, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.