Drunken Coffee Jello Squares

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OK, kids: This is coffee. In solid form.

It’s been sweetened with condensed milk and booze-ified with a healthy dose of Kahlua—then rubberized into a blissful, cocktail-hour finger food thanks to the magic of gelatin.

(If you know me, you know how much I love coffee, so you can imagine how excited I was when I came across the recipe.)

Now, you have to like Jello, or Jello-like food, for this to work. If you do, you’re in for a treat.

Huge thanks to The Food Librarian for sharing their deliciousness. I tweaked her recipe, and will definitely be making them again.

(If you haven’t checked out the Food Librarian’s blog, you should. She does some amazing things with jello—not to mention other yummy stuff.)

So, years ago, I had several meals that ended with Classic American Jello Mold Torture. You know the kind I’m talking about. Those domed, gelatinous creatures swimming with fruit that seem like they should be on the table at a science fair—not in your dining room.

This is not that jello.

This jello is the short and stout cousin of Vietnamese iced coffee, that fabulous concoction of espresso and condensed milk.

This is jello that you could serve to your foodie friends. If you’re me, this is also your midnight-snack jello. And since I added a good dose of Kahlua to them, I guess they’re also kind of like Jello Jigglers for grown-ups.

This stuff is silly. This stuff is good. Go make some. You’ll see.

The short version of the recipe goes like this

Bloom the gelatin (i.e. mix it together with water) for about 10 minutes. Make some coffee. Add it to the gelatin, along with the condensed milk and Kahlua. Pour it into a pan and pop it into the fridge until it sets.

That’s it.(Really.)

Read on for step-by-step instrux of what that looks like.

Oh, be sure to get sweetened condensed milk (which is milk that’s been cooked down with sugar) NOT evaporated milk (which is unsweetened).

Drunken Coffee Jello Squares

Adapted from The Food Librarian

1/2 cup cold water
1 3/4 cups strong coffee, hot (I brewed 8 Tbls. French Roast with 2 cups water)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin
3 Tbls. Kahlua or other coffee liquor

8-inch x 8-inch glass baking pan

Brew the coffee

Make the coffee the way you normally would at home. The goal is to wind up with 1 3/4 cups of strong coffee. For me, I used 8 Tbls. French Roast to 2 cups of water.

Make the gelatin mixture

Grab your gelatin. I used regular old, unflavored Knox gelatin. You can find this in the baking aisle of most major U.S. grocery stores.

Put the water in a large bowl.

Toss in the gelatin. (Normally, I like to measure gelatin out, since the packages can have a varying amount of gelatin in them, but I went with the Food Librarian’s directions, and it came out just fine.)

Give it a stir to mix. It should immediately start to thicken and suck up the water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. (This process is called “blooming” the gelatin. Basically, you’re rehydrating it.)

After 10 minutes, it should be rubbery but still fairly soft.

Add the hot, brewed coffee to the gelatin.

Whisk it gently (gently!!! see below…) to break up the gelatin and incorporate it with the coffee.

Pour in the condensed milk. Whisk gently to combine.

Add the Kahlua. (If you don’t fancy Kahlua, definitely swap in your favorite liquor. Anything you’d normally put in coffee should work. Amaretto, Frangelico, etc.)

Whisk to combine.

Now, I goofed here, I think. I whisked a little too vigorously, which created a lot of froth on the surface of the mixture. As the gelatin sets in the fridge, those bubbles will set on the surface. To avoid bubbly gelatin, mix gently.

Pour it into your glass pan. (No need to grease or line the pan. Jello won’t stick to glass.)

Refrigerate until set

Pop it into the fridge and refrigerate for a few hours, until set firmly. (If you do wind up with those bubbles on the surface, let it sit for about 20 minutes in the fridge, then yank it out and skim the top layer off.)

Slice, inhale, enjoy!

When your Drunken Coffee Jello Squares have set up, they should look about like this:

Slice them into squares (or cut them into shapes with little cookie cutters) and serve. The Food Librarian served them in little paper muffin cups, which sounds like a great idea to me.

Now that I have the basic method down, I think I’m going to try these next with tea! I’ll let you guys know how it goes…

Hope you guys are having a nice summer!

We’ve been spending a lot of time chasing after Miss. Penelope. I’ve also been puttering around in my herb garden, which seems to be very happy on our back porch.

Drunken Coffee Jello Squares

Yields 8 x 8 baking pan

This is coffee. In solid form. Sweetened with condensed milk and booze-ified with a healthy dose of Kahlua—then rubberized into a blissful, cocktail-hour finger food thanks to the magic of gelatin.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup cold water
1 3/4 cups strong coffee, hot (I brewed 8 Tbls. French Roast with 2 cups water)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
3 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin
3 Tbls. Kahlua or other coffee liquor

Instructions

  1. Make the coffee the way you normally would at home. The goal is to wind up with 1 3/4 cups of strong coffee. For me, I used 8 Tbls. French Roast to 2 cups of water. Set aside.
  2. Grab your gelatin. I used regular old, unflavored Knox gelatin. You can find this in the baking aisle of most major U.S. grocery stores.
  3. Put the water in a large bowl. Toss in the gelatin. Give it a stir to mix. It should immediately start to thicken and suck up the water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. (This process is called “blooming” the gelatin. Basically, you’re rehydrating it.)
  4. After 10 minutes, it should be rubbery but still fairly soft.
  5. Add the hot, brewed coffee to the gelatin.
  6. Whisk it gently (gently!!! see below…) to break up the gelatin and incorporate it with the coffee.
  7. Pour in the condensed milk. Whisk gently to combine.
  8. Add the Kahlua. Whisk to combine.
  9. Pour it into your glass pan. (No need to grease or line the pan. Jello won’t stick to glass.)
  10. Pop it into the fridge and refrigerate for a few hours, until set firmly.
  11. Slice them into squares (or cut them into shapes with little cookie cutters) and serve. Enjoy!
http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2010/08/04/drunken-coffee-jello-squares/


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

71 COMMENTS

  1. This one caught my eye!! As I’m more a coffeeholic and not a choco freak..so this one i’m sure will be a dream recipe for me…I’m new to your blog..but glad I found it through fb..x

  2. Any thought on how this might work with a gelatin substitute, like pectin? Sounds amazing but I’m in a non-gelatin consuming household.

  3. Friend of mine used to boil cans of condensed milk, and it would turn into the most wicked caramel sticky topping. This sound s great, but too many cals to burn off for me!

    • Its called Dulce de leche. Its an Argentinian thing. My grandmother used to make is all the time we would spread it on elephant ear cookies. Its one of the many great Argentinian foods I grew up with.

      Anyway I made this godiva yum yum

  4. Jessie,
    This is really inspiring!
    Especially your idea of using tea next time.
    I imagine spiced Christmas tea, or maybe some exotic jasmin flavoured green tea.
    Let us know when you try my dear.
    Hugs xoxox

  5. hi, just wanted to say thanks for this recipe! i skipped the coffee liquor since i didn’t have any at home and was too lazy to get some, it still turned out awesome. a quick thing i’d like to point out though – the ingredient quantity was a little confusing – 3 packages of Knox unflavored gelatin should really say “3 packets/envelopes” instead, since there are 4 packets/envelopes in 1 package. i now have a lot of gelatin left to use (yay)!

  6. Not a big coffee guy, but I like the overall concept. Maybe I’ll try it with hot chocolate in place of the coffee. Kahlua could still work, or maybe some type of chocolate liquor.

    • OK, tried my chocolate idea last night. Instead of coffee, I just heated up some water on the stove, poured it into my measuring cup to just under 1 3/4 and then added a few healthy squirts of chocolate syrup to bring it to the full amount of liquid, and stirred it up. Feaux hot chocolate, if you will.

      Also, instead of the Kahlua I used 2 tbsp of Godiva chocolate liqueur and 1 tbsp of espresso liqueur.

      Otherwise I went with the recipe and instructions as described.

      Overall, it came out really well. The color was a wonderful-looking milk chocolatey brown, and thanks to gentle stirring/whisking, I didn’t get any froth or bubbles on top. The flavor was great. My only problem was the texture. I think the best way I can describe how it came out was like chocolate flan. It had a thick, gelatenous, firm, custardy kind of vibe going. I’m no big fan of flan, so this one won’t be for me at the end of the day. But if you like chocolate over coffee and the general idea of the recipe, then you may wanna try this method.

  7. What if I wanted to add more Kahlua, to give it more of a kick? Looking at the recipe, 1 shot would give it some flavor, but not much kick…

  8. nomnom use agar-agar a seaweed that acts very similar to gelatin and op hit the tray with a brulee torch really quickly before you bake it to get rid of all the unsightly bubbles at the top…

    • Great tip on the brulee torch Anthony – worked like a charm! Unfortunately, we bought pectin at the grocery store instead of gelatin (a lucky mistake since our friend is vegetarian and won’t touch gelatin products – they contain animal protein – learn something new every day!). Anyway, its in the fridge now, but I really wish we’d mistakenly gotten agar agar…I don’t think pectin is going to thicken up like we’d like it to. We’ll see…

  9. Made this today. Was easy and absolutely delicious – followed the directions exactly, except I made individual servings in custard cups. I think it would be fantastic topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. 🙂 Easy, sweet and absolutely yummy. The alcohol flavor is really pronounced and adds another dimension to the flavor. Thanks for the tantalizing treat. Will definitely be adding this to the keepers list.

  10. I followed the directions carefully and did not have any problem with the foaming bubbles. However, I didn’t find them as flavorful as I had expected. They were a bit too rubber-y for my taste.

  11. awesome recipe…in the future if you want a simpler way to avoid bubbly gelatin, try using a blow torch or kitchen torch after pouring the gelatin in the glass pan. no more skimming!

  12. Thank you so much for your delicious and simple recepies!
    Specially for taking the time to explain it to newbies to dessert making like myself.

    I tried this yesterday (was all exited about it) and wasn’t disappointed in the least, it was in fact, a complete success with my wife, her sister and my nephew!

    We are from Costa Rica, but I as able to get exactly the same brand of jello you’re using.
    For coffee, well… it’s Costa Rica after all (wink), so I went with the brand we have here: Britt.
    Made it in one of my french presses, and for coffee liquor I went with a local brand called Cafe Rica (it’s not as creamy as Kahlua).

    No bubbles at all.

    When I served it today, I tried sprinkling some Britt cocoa on it and went all out pleasing my sweet tooth and added some oreo crumbs as well 😀

    Anyway, I wanted to share a pic as well (it looks as good as it tastes! highly recommended to anyone who wants to try this quick and oh-so-easy and cheap recipe):

    http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/9634/postredecafe.jpg

  13. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it is very delicious. I made a few minor additions that ended up working very well. I Followed the coffee Jello part to the letter except I used O’Casey’s Irish cream (like bailey’s caramel), but I filled a muffin tin each with a Oreo Crumb crust, and then poured the mixture to set on top of that. It works very well for individual servings and looks cool with the layers.

    thanks,
    Brendan

  14. You could slice it up prior to people and put some whipped cream on – hide the bubbles. Of course, the delightfulness will shine without polish – this looks terrific!

  15. Hi, I found this amazing recipe and really fancy giving it a go but am not sure about the actual quantity of gelatine. In England our packet sizes are all different, I know your recipe says 3 packs but could you give me an idea of roughly how much this would be? Many thanks. Love the website! :0)

    • Hi, I just made these…they’re fantastic! I also sprinkled the top with cinnamon/chocolate powder.

      As for the gelatin, I bought a box with 4 packages and the total weight was 1oz (.25oz each?) Also, the nutrition facts state that 1/4 of each package is 1.8 grams, so one package would be 7.2 grams. Hope that’s helpful!

  16. Made this last night, but I think I did not use enough gelatine 🙂 In Norway we get gelatine mostly in “sheets” weighing 1 gram each, I used 6. Also used Tia Maria instead of the Kahlua. Tasted great, but had to eat it with a spoon! 😀 Next time I´ll try to mix in some whipped cream to make a mousse.

    • Gah, yeah…gelatin measures can be tricky. Especially from granulated to sheet. Definitely mess around with it next time. Add more gelatin until it sets up properly for you. Definitely worth it. And love the idea of adding whipped cream to make a mousse!

      +Jessie

  17. Whisking slow definitely helps. Once I poured in to the mold, I pulled most of the bubbles to the rim with a fork and they popped on their own.

  18. I made these for our now annual New Year’s Eve trip from Sacramento to Reno. They were a big hit – I loved the texture because you can just pick them up without a utensil!! I found your website through researching a potential purchase of a dutch oven. Love your site! I wish I would have known of you when I went to Boston and meandered to Maine. We stopped in Salem to do the tourist thing and we drove through the wonderful neighborhoods. You live in a beautiful area of this country!

  19. If you are a tea-totaler or have a pre-teen who likes coffee: you can sub flavored syrups, like the ones they use in coffee. I’ve tried toffee, but intend to investigate others! (Butter Rum!)

  20. This has given me an idea for coffee fudge,I know this is gelatin,but man , wouldn’t coffee
    fudge during the holidays be great <3

  21. Just attempted this recipe. It smells great! I added 1/2 cup coffee liqueur I got from a distillery in Portland OR while recently on vacation. Will be serving these as a dessert for my husband and I after a romantic dinner. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Amazing 😀 , thanks for this sharing tips to make that.. in our country called that coffee jelly 🙂 that is my favorite deserts after meal. and always my girlfriend make coffee jelly , she always love making deserts to satisfy my crave LMAO.. Anyway thanks a lot 😀 🙂

  23. This sounds so good! I used to get an Orange Cappuccino at the Mall and I was thinking of trading some of the hot water for Orange and some Whipped Cream Vodka. I just discovered the Whipped Cream Vodka and it is Glorious! I can’t wait to go try this NOW!! I’ll let you know if it works out. I’d hate to waste the ingredients if it doesn’t. Also can you use regular Jell-O? I was thinking Orange Jell-O would be really good in it.

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