By Donna Erickson
Signal Contributing Writer
When a snack attack hits, or you crave a sweet dessert after a meal, what do you reach for? Crunchy cookies, creamy pudding, silky chocolate pie?
I’ve been thinking how these tempting treats come in all shapes, sizes and wonderful tastes, but it’s also their texture that’s part of the draw. How about something that’s smooth and also wobbly, jiggly, shimmery and just plain fun to eat? That’s where this recipe for cooking up healthy fruit-juice-based gelatin comes in.
Cooking a batch of fruit juice gelatin is as super simple to make as the Jell-O brand product you may have eaten as a kid, but in this version, you’ll be heading to the juice aisle of your grocery store.
Look for clear juices (without added sugar), and while you’re at it, you might pick a flavor that’s new to your kids. My latest bottled juice picks were peach mango and cranberry pomegranate, along with all-time favorites pure grape and white grape.
This recipe is ideal for cutting the chilled gelatin into bite-size square blocks. Serve them in small dessert dishes or parfait glasses. Top with a dollop of whipped cream for a special occasion treat.
Or, you might like to create whimsical shapes with cookie cutters. How about shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, or alphabet letters that spell your toddler’s name? Set out the healthy snacktime treats on a platter for the taking.
Simple-to-make fruit-juice gelatin
2 cups 100% fruit juice (avoid pineapple juice)
2 (1/4 ounce size) envelopes unflavored gelatin, such as Knox brand
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of juice until it just reaches a boil. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, pour the 1/2 cup remaining juice in a medium-sized bowl (preferably one with a spout). Sprinkle two envelopes of the unflavored gelatin on top, and let stand at least one minute. Add the hot fruit juice and stir until mixture is completely dissolved.
Pour into a bread loaf pan if cutting into square blocks. Or, pour into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish for making shapes with cookie cutters.
Chill until firm, about 3 hours.
Dip the base of the pan or baking dish into warm water for a few seconds to loosen gelatin. Cut into square blocks or cookie cutter shapes. I use a small offset frosting spatula for lifting the shapes out of the pan.
NOTE or a lighter, less-dense gelatin, use one envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin rather than two. Pour finished mixture directly into a serving bowl or dessert dishes to chill.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
© 2020 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Synd.