The ~Magic~ of Nostalgia
In the days before internet, my mother was an avid collector of cookbooks. You could build a fort out of the stacks of Canadian Living magazines we kept in our basement. But I specifically remember being fascinated by this one aggressively '90s cookbook called, "The Magic of Jell-o"
I would open the book to the polar bear-themed igloo cake (that, as an adult, I now realize is strikingly complicated for the "kids treat" section) and stare at it, trying to will it into existence before me.
We never got to try that cake, but some of the easier recipes do stand out from my childhood. Mixing cookie crumbs or chocolate chips into instant pudding, or making Jello powder-coated marshmallows — called "Squisharoos" in the book. Recently, my mother unearthed this ancient artifact of yesteryear and – like every Boomer offloading their clutter to their kids – gave it to me. I've been excited to make something from this magical book of my childhood as an adult, and I finally got the time to do it.
Pie in the Sky
I wanted to choose one of the more involved recipes (ya know, to make it worth the mess). I don't have an electric mixer, so that limited a few of my choices. Looking around, I had almost everything I needed to make the Peanut Butter and Grape Jello Pie recipe – although I would have to buy Cool Whip for the first time in my life. Did you know they sell it frozen, and no where near the dairy section? Well, I did not. I also substituted Raspberry for Grape since that's what I had on hand, and because everyone knows that everything Grape-flavored just tastes like medicine.
It looked a bit wobbly when I left it to set in the fridge overnight, but it came out looking nearly picture perfect.
The peanut butter base is actually pretty delicious and I like how the pink mousse topping looks exactly like unicorn vomit. It tastes a bit like a sugar-coated PB&J sandwich... in a good way.
And since most the recipes in the book are based on these few simple twists to the regular Jello making process, I'm definitely going to push the boundaries of how far I can take these Jello experiments.
If you like the way this looks, its ridiculously easy to make.
1/2 cup — Smooth Peanut Butter (or crunchy if you're into that sorta thing) 1 cup — Milk (I use 2%, but you just do you) 2.5 cups — Cool Whip 3/4 cup — boiling water
1 pkg — Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix 1 pkg — Jiggly Grape Jelly Powder (or your favorite flavor, unless it's lime) 1 — 9" graham cracker crust 2 cups — ice cubes
STIR milk gradually into peanut butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add pudding mix. Beat with whisk until smooth. Gently stir in 1 cup of whipped topping.
SPOON mixture into crust. Refrigerate.
DISSOLVE jelly powder in boiling water. Add ice cubes until slightly thickened (about 3 - 5 minutes). Whisk in remaining whipped topping. Chill until slightly thickened (about 30 minutes).
SPOON jelly mixture over peanut butter mixture. Refrigerate overnight.