Saturday, January 17, 2015

Coffee Jell-O

It is no secret that I love Jell-O, even the 50s experiments that were once referred to as “salad” that often featured seafood, mayonnaise, onions and other unappetizing ingredients. Jell-O doesn’t have to be disgusting, though! Not only can it be quite refined, the history of gelatin-based foods goes back over one hundred years. 
Here I am, about to enjoy a delightful coffee Jell-O!

This recipe for the perfect after-dinner treat / pick-me-up actually comes from a 1971 book on fondue (the cheerfully titled “Fondue on the Menu” by Beverly Kees and Donnie Flora) but coffee gelatin desserts date back to the turn of the last century. The variety here would have been served after fancy dinners; huge vats of Jell-O made with leftover coffee have been common at church pot-lucks for nearly as long.

Even Fondue cookbooks sneak in Jell-O recipes

This is an easy treat to make, and if you have a fear of the Jell-O mold / un-mold process, make each one in a cocktail glass or small ramekin instead, which gives each guest their own little pot of shimmering caffeinated goodness to enjoy with a demitasse spoon! Word to the wise: the liqueur does not get cooked out, and these will be as strong as the coffee you use.

I'm thrilled to use my new Chemex coffee maker as well as my very own coffee liqueur!

2 Tbsp (2 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
½ cup coffee liqueur
3 cups coffee
¾ cup sugar
Pinch salt
Sweetened whipped cream

In a bowl sprinkle gelatin over liqueur to soften. In a saucepan, warm the coffee and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the gelatin mixture and salt; stir and heat until all the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is perfectly clear. Pour liquid into individual molds and chill several hours. Unmold; garnish with whipped cream.