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Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Layer Jello

Don't ask me why, but my mother LOVES jello. When I was a little kid, my dad bought me a patty pan shaped like a heart and I made her a two layered jello heart, red and green because it was Christmas time. That was my Christmas present to her, because I was in elementary school and obviously new at this whole gift giving thing.

I should have never done that.  Ever since, when my mother had a hankering for jello, I would find next to my breakfast plate a giant mountain of jello boxes and some new jello recipe to make for her.  The kicker: I don't particularly care for jello.

My mother's favorite, and my personal bane, was seven layer jello. Every layer had to be mixed separately, and the next layer had to be poured over the cooled jello layer without being too hot and burning a hole in the layer below.  The problem with most recipes is that it calls for you to mix the jello powder with boiling hot water, then wait for it to cool down enough.  And god forbid you let it cool down too much, then you need to put the bowl in a hot water bath.  In short, its fiddly and time consuming.  My recipe solves that by using a mix of hot and cold water so that there is no waiting.  That way in between layers you are free to do something else, and come back at your leisure to finish the whole project.

Seven Layer Jello

1 6 ounce box of red, green, yellow, orange (or whatever rainbow you want, choose 4 colors)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Clear layer:  Mix half of one of the jello boxes with 1/2 cup boiling water to dissolve. Add in 1/2 cup ice cold water and pour into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Make sure your fridge is level, and place in it for 15 minutes.

Milk layer: Mix the condensed milk and 3 cups of hot water. Stir to dissolve. Divide the milk mixture into three separate containers and add in the other halves of the jello boxes. (i.e. one red milk, one green milk) This batch doesn't get any cool water because it will be waiting around for all the other layers to set in between.

Alternate the clear layer with the milky layer, letting the pan sit in the fridge for approx 15-20 minutes, or until set enough to pour on the next layer. This version actually has 8 layers.

The more traditional seven layer jello has alternating white stripes. To do this version, see my Thanksgiving Layered Jello post.

I like the clean crisp look of the white layers separating the colored, but I invented the above recipe because my mom kept forgetting to purchase the unflavored gelatin required in the more traditional one.

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