It’s a beautiful thing when people have faith in your abilities, visions beyond your wildest dreams.
Recently, I was asked if I could make “coloured” jelly for a party. I was hoping the host was thinking of the standard two-toned jelly in a bowl our family made at Christmas every year. I sent her an image of this “standard jelly” to contain expectations. Sure enough, she responded with images of delicate miniature, free-standing jellies. Even heart shaped ones.
Despite my forehead pulsating with anxiety, part of me was really excited about the opportunity. I was on it, focused, and determined to solve this jelly riddle.
I began searching for jelly recipes made with moulds and quickly realised the best source of recipes would be jelly-crystal makers’ websites. Thus I became well-acquainted with Kraft’s ‘jiggler’ recipes. There, I discovered recipes for a range of occasions, including eggs for Easter, trees for Christmas, and even “spooky” jigglers for Halloween.
After looking at a few different recipes, I decided I would concentrate the jelly mixture (by four times the usual amount of jelly crystals), to get the jellies to hold their shape. However, the heart moulds I had held about a quarter-cup of jelly – a quarter of a cup too much concentrated jelly mix for the average guest. The alternative was to use an ice tray with smaller heart moulds – however, I would risk the jellies losing their shape after removing them from their moulds (melting the jellies by running hot water over the moulds would be required to loosen them from the moulds).
This led me to settle on the cookie cutter method. I chose ‘bite-sized’ animal-shaped cookie cutters from Let’s Cook. These were 2cm deep, so I used a 4cm deep roasting pan to set the jelly.
In keeping with the host’s theme colours, I chose strawberry flavoured crystals, and next time I’ll experiment with vodka. I’ve included the recipe below, so you can make your own replica jelly Animal Farm. Four legs good, two legs bad.
Animal Farm jellies
4 packets of jelly crystals
2 cups boiling water
extra boiling water
- Empty the packets of jelly into a jug.
- Add boiling water and whisk the mixture until all jelly crystals are dissolved. This is important, for consistency and to cut clean shapes out of the mixture when it is set.
- Pour mixture into a baking tray lined with baking paper and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate jelly overnight.
- Prepare your serving plate with cooking spray.
- Place cookie cutters in a bowl of hot water before you use them, so they won’t stick to the jelly.
- Use the cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the jelly.
Tips for cutting clean, sharp shapes:
- Push the cookie cutters straight down.
- Push the cookie cutters down until they hit the bottom of the tray.
- Hold the cookie cutters down for several seconds before removing them from the pan.
- Use a butter knife to extract the shapes from the pan.