Magic Powder

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When I was a child, my Mom often served jello as a dessert.  Surprisingly, I harbour no ill-feelings towards the box of highly sweetened powder (unlike my feelings towards liver, mashed potatoes and boiled cabbage).  Lately, I’ve noticed that jello has been re-purposed as a flavour and colour enhancer.  I was quite skeptical because I thought it would make baked goods sickeningly sweet, but I was intrigued nonetheless.  So I decided to give it a try this past Sunday.  I needed to find a recipe that I could make with ingredients I had on hand.  I wasn’t about to venture out into the frigid cold for the sake of cookies!  I had one box of cherry jello in the pantry and that would have to do.  When I measured the powder, it fell about 1/4 cup short of what the recipe required.  I just substituted sugar for that amount.  Most recipes called for the addition of  colouring gel, but I found the pinky-red created by the jello good enough…and red food colouring is a known no-no for the hyper-active children that were likely to be my taste-testers.  The recipe was a basic sugar cookie with the addition of jello.  I was quite pleased with the end result.  The cookie was not too sweet at all.  I think the missing 1/4 cup of jello powder would have intensified the cherry flavour and I might be tempted to add a little citric acid to create a sour starburst chews cookie knock-off next time.  All in all, the jello created a cookie that was palatable and suitable for kids or a shower where bright colours could enhance a themed cookie tray.  I’m going to try more flavours next time and see how the jello will affect buttercream…..but the weather’s got to warm up as my pantry has no more jello left!

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