A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some disposable shot glasses at the Dollar Store. 24 to a pack, what a deal! Surely they were perfect for something even if I didn't know what. Fast forward to this past weekend. While running errands, I was considering what super cute mini dessert deserved to go into those cups. What would show off the new printable cupcake flags in the shop? I'd also been eyeing the rainbow cakes on Pinterest for a while but the right conflux of spare time and occasion just hadn't happened. And, so....rainbow Jello. Perfect for mini cups, not as complicated as rainbow cake. I picked up six boxes of Jello in a rainbow of colors and trundled home to start my little project.
Before starting, I did a quick Google search to pick up some tips. The search came up with tons of beautiful images. And nearly all of the rainbow Jello creations had a layer of white between each color. What? What is that? Perhaps the search should taken place before the trip to the grocery store. I could have made the layers without the white, but the contrast made the colors look so much more vibrant. Most of the recipes made the white layer with a mix of Jello and cool whip (I hadn't bought enough) or sweetened condensed milk (who keeps that in the pantry?). So, I got creative. I had a bit of cream and plain gelatin. I added a little sugar and almond extract to create the milky layer. Seven bowls, a kettle, three measuring cups and a drawer full of spoons later, I had colorful bowls of gelatin lined up to layer into cups. Here are some things I learned along the way:
- Six boxes is a lot of Jello. A whole lot of Jello. I filled 48 shot glasses, 4 drinking glasses, and another random bowl.
- One cup of white gelatin is not nearly enough to layer between six boxes of Jello.
- Gelatin gels. Even before you put it in the fridge. Aiming for efficiency, I made all my colors at once. The yellow, orange and red destined for the top layers was a little sticky by time the other layers had gelled in the fridge.
- Don't stir Jello in an attempt to re-liquefy it. It'll make lots of little air bubbles and still be congealed. 15 seconds in the microwave is the way to go or, better yet, don't mix all the boxes at once.
- If you're using small cups, create extra thin layers. On most of my 48, I ran out of room for the orange and red layers. Luckily, a handful got the full rainbow of layers and posed for photos. My taste testers didn't seem to mind a couple missing colors on the rest.
And, one final tip – unless you're a night owl, start in the morning!
Rainbow Jello Recipe*
- Jello in a range of colors (for a rainbow: cherry, orange, pineapple, melon, berry blue, grape)
- 2/3 cup whipping cream, divided
- 2 envelopes plain gelatin
- 2 cups boiling water, divided
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 1/4 tsp Almond extract
- Make the bottom 2 or 3 colors of Jello according to the directions on the box. Layer in the first color (think thin!) and pop it into the fridge to firm up while you make the next layer.
- To make the first batch of white gelatin (1/2 the recipe), sprinkle one envelope of gelatin over 1/3 cup of cold cream and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. The box says five minutes. I did two. What can I say? Five minutes is a long time to stir.
- Add the almond extract and some sugar. I used 1/3-ish cup of sugar for each batch of cream gelatin. I was winging it. I didn't measure. Just taste and see if you like it.
- Layer your white gelatin over the firmed up first layer and pop it back in the fridge.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
*If you want a more "proper" recipe, just do an internet search for rainbow Jello. There are lots of recipes online with a white layer made of cool whip or sweetened condensed milk. Most of these folks seem way more organized than me.