I thought I was done with food here forever. But no, I had to post another food post.
See, I get angry sometimes. This time it was because I could not have dinner with my husband, even if it’s Friday night. Still on a liquid diet, because well, gastroenteritis just isn’t fun. Dang, this whole thing has even taught me how to spell the word.
Sometimes, when I get angry– I cook. (But never bake. No. You wouldn’t like it when I bake angry.)
So to bring back cosmic rightness, I decided to do something very very wrong with gelatin. I made… coffee gelatin. And I think it works pretty well. There is definite alcoholic potential here, although I’m not up to partaking yet. I hope to experiment when I have the chance. So, I offer you, the one, the only NA ‘jello shot’ option in the universe. If you can find that agar stuff, you can probably make this veggie friendly. But I’ll take the hit of protein, thank you very much. (Also, it’s possible agar would not work with solidifying the coconut milk. But I have to ask Dave about that.)
(I won’t tell you how to eat it, but it could be anything from breakfast to dessert!)
I used an 8x8x3 inch pan. The recipe makes four cups of liquid total. That will cover about four ice cube trays. But I’m here to warn you– if you go the ice cube tray route, you will want to have ample room in the freezer, ample time, and a steady hand. Because this is a bi-layer treat!
4 packets of kosher gelatin, divided. (You can also use ONE 1oz packet, divided in half, or 4 tablespoons of gelatin divided into 2 tbs batches)
1.5-2 heaping tablespoons of “Dandy Blend” or instant espresso * (We will discuss coffee options. Trust me.)
2 heaping tablespoons of powdered coconut milk (I assume powdered milk would work here. Admittedly, powdered milk is less tasty)
Eight to ten (or more– I used stevia and eight was plenty) packets of your favorite sweetener, from stevia, to sugar, to the sky is the limit!
5-8 drops of Lori Pecan or Black Walnut flavoring (optional)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (you can use more)
Have two pyrex measuring cups with at a least two cup capacity. Divide up your gelatin evenly between them. Do the same for the sweetener packets. Add powdered coconut milk to one, and powdered coffee to the other. Though I used one extra sweetener for the coconut side, as flavors, even sugar, tend to get lost there. Add 1/2 cup of water to each of them, stir and let them bloom. Be generous with time here. 10 minutes is about my average.
Set your water to boil. Measure out 1.5 cups of it and dump it into the coffee side. Let it stir and start to cool.
Take the coconut milk container after it has set a bit, and bring out a whisk, and beat the crap out of it. The problem is that the coconut powder is more hydroscopic than the gelatin. So you have to beat it to make sure everybody gets a fair hearing with the liquid. Keep beating until all the darker yellowish stuff integrates and it gets fluffy, thick, and homogeneous. YOu aren’t’ going to add hot water to this right away, because the coffee side has to be somewhat set before you pour it on. But this coconut powder/gelatin mix is going to need all the time it can get to hydrate properly.
After the coffee side has cooled a bit, but isn’t gelling yet, you take your flavorings, whether Kahlua, or Lori’s and add them in now. Stir. Then pour in your pan(s).
Take this time to start up the hot boiling water for your other side. IT also has to cool by the time you pour it in the pan and that can take a while.
Anyway, take your pan, and let it set on the counter until it’s not hot anymore. It can be a bit warm to the touch, but not steaming.
Put the coffee side into the freezer and go find something to do for half an hour. Let chill until set, but not frozen. Freezing too hard does some odd things to the texture of your gelatin, and you may not like it. It makes tapioca perls look appetising, and resembles eating rubberized broken glass. It would make a kick ass thing for Halloween, and maybe I’ll cover some of that later.
At any rate, after you are off the exerciser, go back and check your jello. Might not quite be set yet, but look thickish. If it sloshes, put it back. You want to come back now, because now’s the time to pull the coconut stuff, add the vanilla, give it a whirl, and put it in the fridge. Yeah, I know, I tease.
Go away for another 15 minutes. Now, you can take your gelatin, and put it in the fridge instead of the freezer, because you want it as firm as possible when you pour on the cream. Check the temp of everything. Nope, you need 15 more minutes.
Okay! IT should be cool enough by now! Except… now you take out the cream side, and you grab your whisk, and you beat the crap out of it again. This way you can get a frothy top on your capp. You might use an electric whisk. That might make a truly interesting frothy top. But I only used a hand whisk, and I liked the crema I got on top. Not stiff peaks like a meringue, but just a bit of froth on the top, like a cafe Americano.
Now you take out your gelled coffee, and pour your cream on top. Do it gently. There is a technique, because your coffee gell is still pretty fragile. Wouldn’t want something to happen to it, do you?
Okay, you drizzle the stuff down the side of the pan, letting that stiff edge take the bulk of the action. I find a corner works best. Then it flows out from that point, fanning out over the whole wobbly coffee surface. Now you see why it would be a pain to do this with an ice cube tray. For each and every little section, you’d have to pour it from that side like that in a slow and gentle fashion. I can’t imagine doing this drunk.
At any rate, You scrape out every bit from that pitcher, then immediately put your beautiful creation in the fridge. It is almost done. But before you leave the kitchen, put all your used stuff into hot water. Seriously, this stuff binds when it dries, and it’s much tougher to clean out later.
Extra, extra optional: you can peek in in an hour and sprinkle a few chocolate covered espresso beans over the top of it. Just a thought.
Let it set for 4 hours to overnight (overnight being best) and wake up to a beautiful cube of morning coffee! It even stands up to greet you!
The down side, is that it’s not aromatic until you eat it.
* Coffee options, as promised. You want two cups of intensely flavored liquid total. That makes it hard to do a fresh brew and have this work out. One way to do it would be to have one half cup of a strong coffee (say, espresso) in the freezer until it’s cool, while the rest sits where it can stay near boiling until ready to use. I’d recommend something more on the floral/aromatic side, like Gevalia. That works better with the jello taste aesthetic. Intelligentsia also has good coffee in this mold, too, or so I’m told. The capuchins (I’m not making this up) make the best instant espressos on the market, but I have to go find what that brand is– last I looked there were several. You can tell, they are the monks who look like emperor penguins.
Further note: “Dandy Blend” if you haven’t seen it before, is a non-coffee coffee flavored powdered beverage. It has toasted dandelion and other stuff in it, and it’s naturally gluten free. It also tastes half way decent. But, it’s still not coffee. I’ll grant that Techio is probably tastier in certain respects. But I’m still not certain I’d be able to get strong enough to flavor the gelatin effectively. If you think you can, give it a shot and let me know!