Sunday, April 17, 2016

Food That Jiggles


I'm not going to lie, I'm not a huge fan of gelatin when it is plain and on its own. Gelatin can be used in some pretty fun and amazing ways in recipes, but made just according to the package's not really my favorite thing. However, when it is condensed in jiggler form, I can make an exception.


Fruit Jellies


1 1/3 cups fruit juice (any flavor) or water
4 packets powdered gelatin (1 ounce total)
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups fruit preserves or jam


Place 2/3 cup juice in a small bowl or measuring cup and sprinkle with gelatin. Let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine remaining 2/3 cup juice and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 5 minutes. Add preserves and whick to combine. Return to a boil and cook until thick and syrupy, 2 minutes. Add gelatin mixture and whisk until gelatin dissolves. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into an 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate until set, 3 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

Place remaining 1 cup sugar in a pie plate or shallow bowl. Cut fruit jelly into 1-inch squares. Toss in sugar to coat just before serving.

Source: Martha Stewart. You can find it here.

Notes: These were really good. If you don't plan to eat them all at once (for instance, you aren't serving them at a large gathering, you are just planning to snack on them at home), don't coat the whole batch in sugar all at once. Once they sit for awhile, they will absorb the sugar and become sticky. If you are having just a few here and there, toss them in sugar right before eating.

I made this batch with white grape juice.


Fruit Juice Knox Blox


4 pounches Knox Unflavored Gelatin
1 cup cold fruit juice
3 cups fruit juice, heated to boiling
2 tbsp. sugar or honey, if desired


Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over 1 cup cold fruit juice in large bowl; let stand 1 minute. Add 3 cups fruit juice that has been heated to boiling.Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey, if desired (though not necessary).

Pour into a 13x9-inch glass pan. Chill until firm, about 3 hours.

Cut into 1-inch squares to serve.

Source: I got this recipe off the back of a box of Knox gelatin. You can also find it online here. You can also find it here.

Notes: I really love these. I love using fruit juice and unflavored gelatin as opposed to a flavored gelatin. I used apple juice for this batch. I love the taste, texture, and look of these. These seriously look so cool!


Jell-O Jigglers


2 1/2 cups boiling water (Do not add cold water)
2 pkgs. (8-serving size each) Jell-O Gelatin, any flavor


Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 3 minutes until completely dissolved. Pour into 13x9-inch pan.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until firm.

Dip bottom of pan in warm water 15 seconds. Cut into 1-inch squares, or cut into decorative shapes using cookie cutters. Be careful to cut all the way through the gelatin to bottom of pan. Lift Jigglers from pan with a metal spatula. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Source: Kraft Recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: Honestly, this is the only way I ever make Jell-O for my kids and if they have Jell-O served to them in any other way, they kind of look at you like, "Wait, I can't pick this up with my hands?"

I used strawberry Jell-O for this batch.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Don't Trifle With Me


Oh, I love a good trifle. Soft, creamy, rich, and yet refreshing. It really is the perfect dessert.

Blueberry Lemon Trifle


3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
2 cans (15 3/4 ounces each) lemon pie filling
2 cups (8 ounces) lemon yogurt
1 prepared angel food cake (8 to 10 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Lemon slices and fresh mint, optional


Set aside 1/4 cup blueberries for garnish. In a large bowl, combine pie filling and yogurt.

In a 3 1/2 qt. serving or trifle bowl, layer a third of the cake cubes, lemon mixture, and blueberries. Repeat layers twice. Top with whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with reserved blueberries, and lemon and mint, if desired.

Yield: 12-14 servings.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

Notes: Summery and delicious. Besides, I love lemon pie filling. It is one of the best things ever!

Lemon Berrymisu


1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 pkg. (8 oz) soft ladyfingers
6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
6 ounces blackberries
6 ounces raspberries
6 ounces blueberries


Whip cream, sugar, mascarpone, and lemon zest with a mixer until soft peaks barely form.

Lay half of the ladyfingers in a 2-qt. glass serving dish or an 8-in. square pan, separating them a bit if needed for fit. Brush ladyfingers with half of lemonade concentrate. Dollop and spread with half of cream mixture, then sprinkle with half of mixed berries. Repeat layers.

Source: Sunset, found on You can find it here.

Notes: Yummy stuff! You can't go wrong with mixed berries, whipped cream, and mascarpone! Somehow, I don't have a picture for this one!

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle


For the Strawberry Compote:

3/4 pound (about 3 cups) strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Lemon-Buttermilk Biscuits:

1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the Whipped Cream:

2 cups very cold heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For assembling the Trifle:

1 lb (about 4 cups) strawberries, hulled and sliced, reserving one or two whole strawberries for decorating the top, if desired


For the Strawberry Compote:

Combine the coarsely chopped strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until slightly thickened and syrupy.

Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the vanilla extract.

Cool to room temperature. You can make the compote up to 3 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.

For the Lemon-Buttermilk Biscuits:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub the sugar and zest together until it is moist and fragrant.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, and whisk together.

Add in the cubes of butter and, using your fingertips, rub and blend in the butter until you have various sizes, from small flakes to pea-sized.

Pour the cold buttermilk over the mixture, and use a fork to quickly and gently toss the ingredients together until just moistened. It may look slightly curdled.

Knead the dough gently, folding it over on itself about six to ten times.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour, turn out the dough and pat it to about 1/2-inch thick.

Using a high-sided 1-inch diameter cutter, cut out biscuits and place them on the baking sheet.

Repeat one more time, patting the scraps together to 1/2-inch thick and cutting out more biscuits.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the biscuits have risen and tops and bottoms are golden brown.

Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool the biscuits to room temperature.

For the Whipped Cream:

Combine the ingredients in a chilled bowl and whip with a hand mixer or whisk attachment on a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks are formed.

For assembling the Trifle:

Gently cut each of the biscuits in half. Line the bottom of a trifle bowl with about half of the biscuits, decoratively placing the golden brown tops facing out, if desired.

Top with about half of the compote and half of the fresh sliced berries.

Spread about half of the whipped cream evenly over the berries.

Repeat the layers; start with the biscuits, and top with the compote and fresh berries, finishing with the remainder of the whipped cream.

If desired, garnish with a few whole berries and/or a few biscuits.

Source: Cupcakes and Kale Chips. You can find it here.

Notes: I don't have a picture of this one either! Sorry!


Brownie Trifle


1 (9x13-inch) pan of your favorite brownies, crumbled or cut into small squares
1 (16 oz) container of whipped topping
1 box (4 serving size) chocolate pudding (or 2 boxes if you want extra chocolate!)
Chocolate bar (such as Hershey's), shaved, for garnish, if desired


Layer half of the brownies on the bottom of your serving bowl or trifle bowl. Layer half of your pudding on top of the brownies. Carefully layer (to prevent smearing) half of your whipped topping on top of the chocolate pudding.

Repeat layers. Top with chocolate shavings for garnish, if desired.

Source: I came up with this myself, but it is very similar to this Betty Crocker recipe.

Notes: I made this simply because I had some ugly brownies that didn't cut very nicely, but I didn't want to just throw them out. So, I froze them until I could think of a use for them (they were ugly, but they were still delicious! I couldn't bear to throw them out and I didn't want to eat them all by myself). As mentioned in the Betty Crocker recipe, you could add in toffee bits between the layers. Or you could add any favorite chopped chocolate candy (Kit-Kats, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, etc.).

I doubled this and made two of them. I was asked to bring some brownies to a baby shower and I followed a tried and true recipe...except that I asked my husband to buy some unsweetened baking chocolate and he brought home semi-sweet baking chocolate instead. I thought, "Well, it can't make that much of a difference...," but it totally did, and while the brownies were chewy, gooey, and delicious, they stuck to the knife when I was cutting them and made an ugly mess instead of uniform, beautiful brownies. I couldn't take the brownies to the baby shower because I was too embarrassed (so I made another tried and true brownie recipe that called for cocoa powder). However, as I mentioned, these brownies were still delicious, so I came up with this use for them.


Above: Here's what the brownies look like when you don't screw them up and turn them into ugly brownies. :)

Baker's One Bowl Brownies


1 pkg. (4 oz) Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray foil with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high 2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour. Mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift brownies from pan before cutting to serve.

Recipe notes: Cake-Like Brownies: Prepare as directed, stirring in 1/2 cup milk, along with the eggs and vanilla, and increasing the flour to 1 1/2 cups.

Source: This recipe is on the box for Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Bar. It is a Kraft recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: The original recipe calls for 1 cup of pecans as well, but I always omit the nuts because of my son's tree nut allergy.

These brownies would be fantastic in this trifle recipe if you follow this recipe exactly...or they are also fantastic in this recipe if you screw up the recipe and use semi-sweet baking chocolate instead of unsweetened and bake a batch of "ugly brownies" that are only good for one thing: crumbling up to put into this trifle. Ha ha!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Yay for Poke Cakes!

Who doesn't love a nice, gooey, moist poke cake? This is a pretty wonderful one that will help you satisfy a lot of cravings. Caramel? Check. Nuts? Check. Chocolate? Check.

Chocolate-Caramel-Peanut Poke Cake


1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist chocolate fudge cake mix
Water, oil, and eggs called for on cake mix box
2 jars (11.5 oz each) salted caramel sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray; line with cooking parchment paper.

Make cake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Immediately after removing from oven, poke holes all over cake using chopstick. While cake is still warm, gently spread 1 1/2 jars of the caramel sauce over cake. Cool cake completely, then refrigerate 2 hours.

In medium bowl, beat cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. Spread over top of cake; drizzle with remaining caramel sauce and chocolate syrup; sprinkle with peanuts.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here

Notes: Yummy goodness...not a light dessert though, by any means!