“There’s always room for Jell-O!”
~ Jell-O brand slogan since 1964
One of my favorite desserts from childhood is almond jello. Some people call it “almond jelly” since “Jell-O” is a trademarked name, but whatever. I’ve always called it almond jello. Maybe it’s because my parents and grandparents called it “jello” so we kids would be more inclined to try it since it doesn’t look like your typical jello. It’s made with milk, so it’s white, and sometimes it’s actually more of an off-white, more grayish color (depending on how much and what kind of milk is called for in the recipe, and if agar agar or gelatin is used). I wanted to make some almond jello of my own today, and decided to try making it with coconut milk since I didn’t have any regular milk on hand.
I loosely followed a recipe I had found online; almond jello is very simple to make, and only requires a few ingredients: water, milk, sugar, almond extract, and agar agar or gelatin.
All you do is sprinkle one packet of the gelatin over one cup of the water, and set aside while you heat the rest of the water to a boil in a pan on the stovetop. Then add all the ingredients (including the gelatin and water mixture) and stir until everything is dissolved and incorporated. Then pour the whole thing into a shallow pan and put in the fridge for 3-4 hours. After it’s set, cut into cubes. Usually you mix the cubes with canned fruit cocktail or mandarin oranges, but I didn’t have any – and I really just like the almond jello anyway. Here’s what I got:
Woah! Crazy. My my almond jello came out layered! Okay, my assumption is that because the coconut milk I used was very natural and fatty, as the mixture cooled in the fridge, instead of staying incorporated, the coconut cream separated from the coconut water and rose to the top, and I got a layer of almond jello made with coconut water, and a layer of jello made with coconut cream. The other interesting thing is that the coconut oil (the fattiest part) also made its own layer on the very top of all this, a thin layer of basically hardened fat. Now, coconut milk/cream/oil is some of the healthiest stuff on the face of the planet, so for me and Nick, all this separation and layers of fat are awesome (and tasty), but it was pretty funny to me that this didn’t turn out like the almond jello I’m used to. I think if I used a more “commercial” coconut milk (the kind that comes in a carton and has more additives to keep the milk from separating), I’d get a more traditional looking almond jello, so I may try that. But I kind of like that this is two-toned – it reminds me of Mah Jong tiles. Delicious, almond-flavored mah jong tiles. YUM.
Knox Original Gelatin (32-Count Envelopes), Unflavored, 8-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 2)
Roland Agar Strips, White, 3-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)
Simply Organic Almond Extract, Certified Organic, 2-Ounce Containers (Pack of 3)
Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk, 13.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
Madhava Organic Blonde Coconut Sugar, 16-Ounce (Pack of 6)