Never Give Up On The Good Times

Bonjour! Did you miss me? Of course you did. Let's get down to business shall we? Since we last spoke I actually won my first ever jello-related contest and was rewarded with a sweet prize. Pretty amazing, right? Let me start at the beginning.

You may or may not be aware of The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn (Victoria Ballanger) but she's basically the Queen of Gelatin on the interwebs and also who I want to be when I grow up. She is not only super awesome (evidence of this here - I have no words) and creative but also an amazing photographer. Her jello creations look WAY better than mine and every time I go to her site I seriously consider investing in an actual camera (for when Paige isn't around of course).

She recently published a JELLO BOOK (I. Know.) and partnered with The Recipe Club to host a jello photo contest to promote it. I, of course, submitted The Most Beautiful Jello Mold I Have Ever Made and miraculously (OK. There were only like, 10 submissions) I won a copy of the book. She even signed it "Stay Jiggly!" which is pretty fabulous.

So all of this is to say that although I love making up my own jello recipes, sometimes it's really nice to let someone else do the experimenting for you. Last month I hosted another one of my Friday Dinners (the one year anniversary!) and since it's now The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (otherwise known as Fall) I was drawn to Victoria's Orange Spice recipe. So yes, if you want really beautiful jello pictures she's your gal. But where else will you get my quirky commentary alongside your gelatin recipes? No where else. Only here.

I was a big fan of this recipe and I know those who tried it (some people just don't like jello - go figure) enjoyed it as well. So, if you're looking to spice up your fall jello routine, this is the recipe for you.

Also, it's important that you listen to this song while preparing it. Trust me.

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Orange Spice
Orange Spice

Ingredients:

3/4 cup peach syrup from 14 oz. can (or, 3/4 cup peach nectar) 1/4 cup vinegar 1/2 cup sugar 12 whole cloves 1/8 tsp cinnamon 14 oz. can of peaches, chopped (or, 2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and chopped) 1, 6 oz. package of Orange Jell-O 1 1/2 cup boiling water 3/4 cup light rum

In a saucepan, stir together peach syrup, vinegar, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Add peaches and simmer for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cloves (this may take a minute!).

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir boiling water into gelatin until fully dissolved. Slowly stir in the peach mixture and the rum. Allow to cool to room temperature and pour into 6 cup mold (or bowl, or pan) and refrigerate until firm (ideally overnight).

It's officially jello-molding season so I promise to be back soon with more of what you love. I know, you just can't get enough.

Happy Molding!

Chirp, chirp

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and/or Passover! I'm not sure my Easter weekend could have been any more delightful and a highlight was definitely attending my friend Natasha's amazing brunch on Sunday. She is a dedicated Breaking the Mold blog reader (and commenter) and when she asked me to bring a jello mold for her brunch, I knew I had to step up my game. She also helped me brainstorm what to make and thanks to her inspiration (and color palette suggestions) the result did not disappoint. Natasha is fancy and has lived in France where a popular drink is champagne and sweet vermouth. I happened to have a bottle of super nice sweet red vermouth thanks to my friend Tyson (ahem, who doesn't read my blog, ahem) and a bottle of super low-end Cook's that I was reserving for my next boozey jello mold. When making champagne jello molds, the cheap stuff is actually best because the flavor comes through better and really, just save the good stuff for something else.

Natasha is also an interior designer and has a great eye for color and design. As we were discussing what fruit to put in the mold, she suggested a monochromatic approach that would go well with the other dishes she was planning to serve at the brunch. Yes folks, we sometimes color coordinate our party food. Martha Stewart would be proud.

The mold turned out beautifully and tasted pretty amazing. Some of the brunch guests had never had my jello before and were a little hesitant to give it a go. They didn't seem too traumatized after tasting it though...so, that's a win. Breaking the Mold blog: converting innocent people to jello-lovers (or jello-tolerators) since 2010.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 5 tablespoons water

3 envelopes of Knox unflavored gelatin (approx. 7 1/2 teaspoons)

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups champagne

1/4 cup sweet red vermouth

1 drop red food coloring (optional)

About 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries and pomegranate seeds

Start by soaking the gelatin in the 5 tablespoons of water. Then, dissolve the sugar in the 1/2 cup of water over low heat. Once dissolved, add the two cups of champagne and then whisk in the gelatin until it's also completely dissolved. Add 1 drop of red food coloring and reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture before putting the rest in the fridge until the mixture thickens into a gel (approx. 60-90 minutes depending on...a lot of things - just check back often!). Whisk 1/4 cup of sweet red vermouth into the reserved 3/4 cup of the gelatin mixture and leave out at room temperature.

Once the gelatin mixture in the fridge has thickened into a gel, stir in the fruit and spoon into your mold. Return to the fridge to firm up (maybe another 30 minutes?) but check back frequently. You'll want to pour the final layer when the jello is firm but sticks to your finger when you touch it. Once it's reached that point, you can add a bit more fruit to the vermouth/gelatin mixture and spoon gently into the mold. Return to the fridge for at least another few hours to firm up. Finally, unmold on a pretty plate and impress all your friends.

Paige did a mini-photo shoot of every fabulous thing at this brunch so I've included a few more photos for your viewing pleasure.

Happy Molding!

Chocolate + Rum = Snow Day Dessert

I don't need to tell those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest that we've been having some weather lately. For those of you who haven't experienced the sweet chaos that is a Seattle snow day, I'll just leave this link here as background. Now, because I live on the top of a very high hill and because I was raised to be highly suspicious of any kind of inclement weather (you'd never know I'm the daughter of a Vermont native), I spent most of the week snowbound in my apartment. My company's campus was closed but thanks to the laptops we're all thoughtfully provided, work continued! I'm not a huge fan of working from home and three days was plenty to tide me over for quite some time. Despite my relative stranding and mountains of work, I did manage to get out for some snow-angel-making and sledding (that's still socially acceptable for adults, right?). By the time Friday rolled around, the snow was melting but the roads were just crummy enough that I lost half my Friday Dinner attendees. No matter! That just meant more chocolate-rum mousse for the hearty souls who trekked their way to my apartment. I don't recall how I came across this recipe but I reasoned that if the New York Times saw fit to print it in 1966 then it was probably worth trying. The recipe sounded a bit strange but it was easy to make and only required me going to the store for milk since I had everything else on hand. I have to say, it turned out to be exactly what everyone needed to get over our cabin fever. I will modify it a bit next time though, because it was a little too knock-your-socks-off boozy. The recipe calls for the mousse to be served with whipped cream and I decided to add a chewy cherry cocoa cookie (CCCC for short?) using this amazing recipe and adding chopped dried cherries instead of chocolate chips. I also took liberties with the garnish and sprinkled unsweetened shredded coconut on top because, well, coconut is delicious and bonus points because it looked like snow. I like to think Martha Stewart would be proud.

Mousse Ingredients:

1/4 cup cold whole milk

3/4 cup boiling whole milk

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

6 tablespoons dark rum

1 large egg

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup (approx. 6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

2 ice cubes

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the cold milk and gelatin in a blender to soften and blend at a low speed to combine. Add the boiling milk and blend until the gelatin is dissolved. Next, add the rum, egg, sugar, and salt. Blend at a high speed and add the chopped chocolate until smooth. Add the cup of cream and ice cubes, continuing to blend until the ice cubes are liquified. Pour into a serving bowl or individual dishes (this serves about 8) and chill at least a few hours or overnight. Whip the cream and vanilla before serving.

Note that I used 2 cups of half-and-half instead of 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream (hey, it worked) and I used dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet. Next time, I will use only 4 tablespoons of rum and add a few more ounces of chocolate. However, several dinner attendees loved it just the way it was so, to each their own - and no judging!

Happy Molding!

The most beautiful...

Jello mold I have ever made. To date. Hands down. I'll let this white sangria mold speak for itself:

As usual, Paige was my jello paparazzi - thanks Paige!

1/2 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups fruit juice (I used a peach/mango blend but really any flavor would work)

2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups white wine

1 cup seedless grapes (sliced in half)

1 cup diced apple

1 cup blueberries

Raspberries for garnish

Start by soaking the 2 envelopes of Knox unflavored gelatin in the 1/2 cup of cold water.

While the gelatin is soaking, heat the fruit juice to boiling. Once the gelatin has absorbed all of the water, slowly stir it into the juice and then stir in the white wine. Set the mixture to firm up a bit in the fridge. You want it to set just enough that you can stir in the fruit and the pieces won't float to the top.

While the gelatin is in the fridge you can chop up your fruit and prepare your mold.

An Important Note About Fruit: Certain fresh fruits do not work in jello - the gelatin won't set! These fruits include: pineapple, guava, mango, fig, and kiwi. However, you most definitely can use canned pineapple.

I decided to use this mold so I could add raspberries to the divots on the top like I did with this Blueberry Champagne mold.

Once the jello in the fridge has firmed up, carefully spoon a layer of the gelatin mixture onto the raspberries so they're just covered. Then stir the fruit in to the remaining mixture and pour into the mold.

Cover with saran wrap (jello can absorb fridge smells so this is an important step if you've got anything especially pungent in there) and let set overnight.

Carefully unmold just before serving and be prepared to bask in the beauty of this gorgeous masterpiece!

A little dramatic? OK, well, maybe a little...but just LOOK at it!

Happy Molding!

Jello, I do!

Last month I had the pleasure of co-hosting a most fabulous Indian-themed bridal shower for my dear friend (and sometimes jello photographer) Paige. My co-host (and co-maid/matron of honor) was the very lovely Sarah who took these great shots of the table and the jello.

Psst! Aren't those vases adorable? Find out more about them here.

I decided to use this recipe since it was such a hit with the guests at Paige's surprise birthday party. This time I used 1 1/4 cup of Prosecco and 1 cup of Trader Joe's finest sweet muscato wine. I also used orange slices and pomegranate seeds as the fruit.

Not only were they beautiful (and matched the color-scheme!) but everyone agreed they were delicious. This is definitely a crowd-pleasing recipe and will continue to be my go-to for parties and large crowds were everyone may not be a jello fan.

Can you believe some people don't like jello? Neither can I...

Happy molding!

Bachelorette Sangria Mold

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of hosting a bachelorette party for my dear friend Jenny before she ran away to Canada to elope. I wanted to try something new and since Jenny is a sangria fan I thought this would be as good a time as any. I decided to wing it recipe-wise and I have to say it turned out quite well! This is super easy to make and you could easily modify the recipe to use white wine and peach Jell-O if you'd prefer.

1-6 oz. box of Raspberry Jell-O

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups of boiling water

1 1/2 cups of red wine (any kind!)

1 cup of halved seedless grapes

1 chopped apple

1 chopped orange

To start, chop up all your fruit and let them soak for about 30 minutes in the red wine. Then, pour the Raspberry Jell-O and envelope of Knox into a heat safe bowl and mix them together. Next, slowly stir in the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until the gelatin is dissolved. Strain the red wine from the fruit and stir the wine into the gelatin.

Put the bowl in the fridge until it starts to firm up a bit. Stir in the wine-soaked fruit and then pour into your mold of choice. I added an orange slice in my mold for extra pizzazz - this was for a bachelorette party after all.

Unmold carefully (refer back to my very first post if you need a refresher) and serve! Because of the hard fruit, this mold doesn't look very pretty when you serve it up but it won't last on anyone's plate long enough for them to care.

Thanks again to Paige for her always lovely and appreciated paparazzi skillz.

I Have A Dream(sicle)

Hello old friends! I'm sorry it's been so long since I last posted but I was heads down studying for the GRE the last few months. Now that I have my life back I can resume jello molding on a regular basis. Please try to contain your excitement! Now, on to the jello... I was recently told about whipped cream flavored vodka and thought it would be a great booze for jello recipes. A lot of fruity flavors go well with whipped cream but I decided to try orange juice to make a sort of creamsicle flavored jello mold.

My friends came up with this pun-tastic title for this post since I made it right around Martin Luther Kind Jr. Day. As usual, thanks to Paige for photographing the final product.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons Orange Juice

4 teaspoons of Knox Unflavored Gelatin (you'll need about 3 envelopes)

1/2 cup Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka (divided)

3 tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup Water (divided)

There are two parts to this recipe - the orange layer and the cream layer. I would recommend pouring the orange layer first but you can do it in whatever order you want.

Orange Layer: Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Knox into 1/4 cup boiling water. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of orange juice and 1/4 cup whipped cream flavored vodka.

Pour carefully into your mold and refrigerate until the jello has firmed up. When layering the two make sure you don't wait too long to pour the second - you'll want the first layer to be firm but sticky to the touch.

Cream Layer: Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Knox into 3/4 cup boiling water. Slowly stir in 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup whipped cream flavored vodka.

Make sure the cream layer isn't too hot (a bit warmer than room temperature is best) when pouring onto your orange layer or the two will bleed together.

Refrigerate overnight and carefully unmold just before you're ready to serve. This recipe doesn't make a very large mold but you can always adjust the amounts to make more or less - just make sure you keep the ratios about the same.

If you ever have questions about the recipes or need a pep talk before embarking on a jello molding adventure please drop me a line in the comments. I'd LOVE to hear about your own jello creations.

Happy molding!

Fancy Citrus Wine Squares

I whipped these up with another jello helper (thanks Alia!) earlier in December but just now received the photo evidence (thanks Andrew!). I made this batch for a friend's surprise  party and they disappeared faster than any of my other jello creations! Not only are these boozy and easy to eat but they're quite pretty. I modified Martha Stewart's Dessert Wine Gelees with Citrus Fruit recipe and although I loved the end result, I definitely plan to make them again trying different dessert wines (sauternes, ice wine, etc.) and citrus fruits (blood oranges, meyer lemons, etc.).

Ingredients:

3 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/4 cups orange muscat dessert wine

1 large grapefruit

1/2 cup + 5 tablespoons cold water

First, combine 5 tablespoons cold water and the 3 packets of gelatin in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. While the gelatin is soaking, combine the sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the 2 1/4 cups wine in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Add the gelatin mixture, and whisk until melted. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and pour into a 9-by-13-inch pyrex. Let cool in the fridge while you're preparing the citrus.

Cut the peel and pith from whatever citrus fruit you chose. Cut each segment from the membranes, then cut horizontally into thin slices (you will need about 1 cup total). Arrange in a single layer over gelatin mixture - keep in mind that if you crowd the pan with too many citrus segments it will be hard for the gelatin to keep it's shape once you cut the squares. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the pyrex. Invert and turn out onto a moistened baking sheet. Trim edges, and cut into squares. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 1 day.

Now go impress your friends with a batch of these for New Year's - Happy molding!