Due to the large demand for a how-to on the rainbow cookies, I've created a new blog post outlining the recipe and instructions for creating sugar cookies and the Jell-O icing. You can link to the post by clicking here.
Did you know you can colour AND flavour your cookie icing with Jell-O crystals? It's a quick, economical, and fun way to dress up your cookies if you don't have a cupboard full of food-dyes or extracts. What started out as a substitution (I didn't have any food colouring in the kitchen) became a rainbow of possibilities.
First, let me clarify I have no affiliation with KRAFT or Jell-O. In all honesty, I try to avoid as many as the company's products as possible. An exception to that rule is the wobbly, jewel-toned, quick & easy dessert in-a-box. It's a textural thing and believe it or not sometimes I crave that purple flavour (also found in popsicles). I know it's full of sugar, artificial colours and flavours, but I figure that since I don't drink soda pop, I can afford this little guilty pleasure every once in a while. It's a treat. And it's fun.
See this blog post for detailed instructions.
Inspiration For Valentine's Day Cookies
To shorten the story, I added watermelon Jell-O to my icing (powdered sugar mixed with water) and it not only turned the icing pink, it made it taste like (artificial) watermelon. I tried it- liked it, seven year-old Tristan tried it- liked it. The idea to make rainbow Valentine cookies was born. I took a few pictures to share the idea with others through the internet, and at this point the picture has had more than 150 000 views (edit to say: 170 000). If it inspires people to have an interest in baking their own cookies, I'm all for it.
Please note: We're talking about Jell-O and cookies here, so I'm not going to debate any health/political/real-food concerns. It's my personal guilty pleasure. I don't recommend eating them everyday.
That being said, if you do use Jell-O as a colouring/flavour addition in your icings, please be courteous to let your vegan/vegetarian friends know (if you are sharing with others, that is). Gelatin, the ingredient in Jell-O that makes it set, comes from collagen, which is derived from animal carcasses. Many vegetarians chose to avoid gelatin wherever possible and wouldn't expect to find it in cookies. Vegans would be wary of cookies anyway due to butter and egg concerns.
Rainbow Jell-O Parfaits
- To make white jelly- bloom 2 packets/5 t of unflavoured gelatin in 1/2 c of cold water. Add 1/2 c boiling water to bloomed gelatin. In separate bowl, mix one can of condensed milk with 1 c of boiling water. Add gelatin/water mixture to condensed milk/water mixture. Use as per recipe.
Tips for Using Gelatin
- You don't have to use Jell-O brand products to create jelly desserts. Unflavoured gelatin is available in powdered or sheet form and 2 1/2 t or 3 small sheets will set 2 c of liquid firmly. If you prefer natural flavours, create your own jellies using fresh juice. If you are preparing jelly shooters, remember that alcohol will inhibit the gelling properties so use less water and don't use too much alcohol.
- Gelatin is very useful in the kitchen. It can be used to create aspics and jelled layers on desserts or terrines, collagen (where gelatin is derived from) is what gives intense stocks and braises their incredible, jammy mouth feel, and mousses have more stability with the addition of gelatin. Marshmallows, gummies and candies also get their chewiness from gelatin.
- For those who do not consume animal products, vegan-friendly gelling options are available. Agar agar is a sea-weed derived product that can be used as an alternative to gelatin.