Which kid does not like jelly?
Er, actually, that would be me 30+ years ago.
Too wobbly. Too jiggly. Too slippery.
When we were kids, Sundays were special. Like every God-fearing Catholic in Bombay, we started the day with Sunday mass. Then, a Hindi TV show marathon (on a black and white television), followed by a sumptuous Sunday lunch.
My favourite part was what came after lunch. Just like my Nana Evelyn, I had a separate stomach for dessert. My mum rotated through her repertoire of blancmange, creme caramel, jelly and custard, lemon soufflé, poached fruit like peaches or dried apricots (jardaloo), and fruit salad.
Now, when it came to jelly and custard, my brother Jason and I had a deal: I would give him my jelly if he gave me his custard. Sad but true: I never liked jelly as a child. Sigh!
Totally different story with my own kids. They LOVE jelly! So the minute I saw these Jello Cookies by iheartnaptime on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them.
It’s C2’s birthday today and he’s super excited to take these colourful jelly cookies to school for his classmates!
(It was C2’s idea to bag each child’s jelly cookies with the ingredients listed inside because so many kids have food allergies and intolerances these days…)
On the face of it, these are your basic shortbread cookies. But the addition of jelly crystals elevates them to playful pops of buttery biscuits.
I must admit, I expected the flavours from the jelly to infuse the bikkies, but the taste was very mild.
Get the kids to knead the dough – it’s heaps of fun for them and (shh! don’t tell them) it’s great for their fine motor skills. You can choose to omit the added food colour, but, let’s face it, the reason you’re making these jelly biscuits is precisely for their vibrant colours.
1 1/2 cups (350 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (220 g) caster sugar
1 large egg
4 cups (600 g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 sachets of jelly (jello in the US), different flavours
Food colouring, optional
Pre-heat your oven to 150°C (300°F). You want this low temperature so that the cookies keep their colours and don’t brown.
Line 2-3 cookie sheets with baking paper.
In a large bowl sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar and set aside.
Pour jelly crystals into four separate large plates/bowls and keep aside. We chose lime, strawberry, orange and blueberry.
In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together (with a hand mixer or stand mixer) until light and fluffy.
Then add the egg.
Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
Knead the dough with your hands until it comes together. If it is too sticky, you might need to add a little more flour.
Divide the dough into as many colours as you have chosen and place each in a separate bowl. I ended up with approx. 1.2 kg of cookie dough, so I got four lots of 300 g each.
Knead 2 heaped tablespoons of each flavour of jelly crystals into each batch of dough until totally incorporated.
Now add a drop or two of food colour into your dough if you want more vivid shades. Massage again.
You can choose to proceed in TWO ways:
Roll the dough in the remaining jelly crystals.
Now, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1cm thick on a clean surface.
My cookies were too flat at 1/2cm thick.
Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes. Keep reusing all the leftover bits of dough until you are done.
Roll the dough into small balls and then roll these balls into the leftover jelly crystals. Using the underside of a bowl, smash the dough to flatten into a rough flower-shaped cookie.
Place onto cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
So tell me, do you also have a separate stomach for dessert? In your family, was/is dessert reserved for special occasions? What was the favourite dessert that your mum made when you were a child? And lastly, do you like jelly?