Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Jello Packet, A Sad Face, And A Conundrum

You know the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words?! That is the first thing that came to mind when I saw this submission by Sara...and while I am no Jello expert, I am reaching out to you Pinstrosipeeps to help us out on this one...I don't have any Jello in the house, ( I'm not a Jello lover either...sorry), and this being the day before Thanksgiving I would rather be swimming in gasoline at a match factory than be at Wal-Mart today. Going all the way over there to buy Jello, come home and try this out just wasn't in the stars for today. So I reach out to our readers to help us on this one, I will be the first to say when I am not in a position to give advice on something, and that something would be this Pinstrositiy. Check it out:

The Original
http://coleensrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/11/kid-friendly-jello-frosting.html

The original is a recipe for Jello frosting, with an option for sugar free, all the reviews were through the roof, and our submitter Sara didn't know what to make of it...she also says she followed to the recipe to a T, and still to no avail...let's here what she had to say about it all!

 (Another shot of the original)




The Pinstrosity


Sara bless your heart for letting us use this picture :) You are a doll :)

Here is what she had to say:

"My mom made some oat bran cookies this morning that were all right, but they needed a little something-something to give them real umph. I remembered a pin I had run across recently for fat-free frosting made from Jello, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to give it a shot... I try to really limit sugar, so I was excited to find the sugar-free option that had good reviews. I followed the directions to the letter. It called for 3 ounces of Jello, which is an extremely large quantity of Jello (10 of the small packets), so I decided to make the executive decision to interpret that as 0.3 oz, which is 1 individual packet. I'm glad I did, because the flavor was overpoweringly strong just with that small amount.
**The original site states that for the sugar free option you need a box that yields 4 servings, or one box**

Attached is a during-shot of the substance in the stand mixer, and an after shot. Instead of an icing consistency, it formed a weirdly jiggly foam... Ok, odd consistency but still worth a try. I have also attached a picture that I think expresses the taste. It was absolutely horrible. I'm a Jello fan, I drink hot Jello camping all the time so I'm definitely not averse to the flavor (I used Black Cherry -- my absolute favorite!), but this was simply the most awful, horrendous concoction that has ever come out of my kitchen. My dog wouldn't even eat it. For this reason, I would rate it as an "up in flames" failure.

The comments on the blog post are glowing, so I don't know what went wrong. I will say that my frosting looked pretty much exactly like the sugar free version, but within a few minutes it had settled to the squishy consistency of poorly-frothed milk. It even smelled gross. I feel that the best utilization might be for a high school film class shooting a zombie movie that calls for homemade guts... I won't be giving this one a shot again when there are so many other amazing frosting recipes in the world that don't smell like a frat house bathroom on Sunday morning."

Here are her attached photos...







What I can gather, perhaps the sugar free has something to do with it, or the amount of Jello she used, I really can't tell! And even if I made it I wouldn't be able to give a helpful opionon because I really am not a Jello fan (go ahead hate me) ,so my opinion would be biased and therefore useless.
Based on the reviews I see on the original site there were A LOT of people who really liked this recipe, so I am really at a loss here. It is now up to you Pinstrosipeeps! How can we help this kitchen disaster turn out right?! Anyone have awesome Jello frosting advice?! 
Jello Gods please speak to us!!
Happy Wednesday Pinstrosipeeps! I hope you all have a Happy Festivities this week!

23 comments:

  1. First - where does she live and what is the weather like, the original site says humidity effects consistency.

    Second, she didn't state what she mixed w/ the sugar free jello. I think splenda makes stuff taste funny, and generic is even worse.

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  2. If you read through the comments on the original recipe, there are actually quite a few people who had problems with this, especially the sugar-free version. One commenter called it "an epic flop". Coleen, the original poster, said that if you use a plastic bowl or utensil (apparently they may have even the tiniest bit of grease on them from previous cookings) it will ruin your frosting. She says over and over to only use metal or glass bowls and spoons with this recipe.
    She also says over and over that humidity will ruin this frosting. I don't know where Sara lives but that could be a contributing factor.

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  3. While I've never tried this, a co-worker brings a pistachio cake to work events on a regular basis and she uses this recipe for her icing on that cake. It's been wonderful every time - I will ask her if there are any tricks to getting it to turn out right.

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  4. And the original website specifically says the sugar-free version was foamy and they didn't like it as much as the regular version.

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  5. Another thought is that over-whipping may have been a problem too. Maybe I'll have to give this one a try just to see what happens...

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  6. I am the Sara responsible for this Pinstrosity. In response to your comment, I used the exact recipe on the original site for the sugar-free Jello frosting with the small, 4-serving size of Jello, 2/3 c granulated Splenda, 1 egg white, and 1 tsp vanilla. I live in the South, but it was a beautiful cool sunny day with very low humidity. After beating in my stand mixer on high for the requisite 5 minutes, it looked exactly right, but the experience (as you have read) went downhill from there. I should note that I did use sugar-free Jello powder, as the recipe calls for, which could be part of the issue. I am willing to give the sugar version a shot for the sake of culinary science; I'll let you know how it turns out!

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  7. I know on other recipes (I'm thinking of a royal icing one), you need to use the mixing paddle attachment, not the wisk attachment. The results pretty similar looking, even though it's a different product...

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  8. I'm confused - the Jello that I have in the pantry comes in 3 oz. boxes - not 0.3 oz. packets. The entire quantity inside the box is in one envelope, not several small envelopes, and it's definitely 3 ounces. Perhaps there was too little Jello to stabilize the frosting?

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    Replies
    1. I'm here randomly from StumbleUpon, and jus' wanted to say that sugar free and sugared Jell-o are different sizes for the same amount of finished product. Artificial sweetener has less volume for the same amount of sweetness, usually.

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    2. True, but 0.3 oz? The sugar-free Jello pudding I have weighs 1 full ounce. The quantity, even adjusted for sugar-free, still seems off to me.

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  9. I make this frosting regularly and have never had it fail.

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  10. I made the regular (not sugar-free) recipe last night to frost cupcakes for my daughter to bring to preschool this morning. I was a little worried that it wouldn't hold up overnight, and I'd have to end up running to the store to buy cupcakes before school, but it worked out perfectly. I frosted and left the cupcakes at room temperature overnight, and other than the frosting getting a little tacky, it still held its shape and looked just fine. The extra frosting that I put in the fridge, however, did start to separate by this morning.

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  11. I make this icing all the time with sugar free jello or whatever brand is on sale. I use one packet to one tub of fat free cool whip. I've never used a mixer, though. I just fold the gelatin packet directly into the tub and stir it with a rubber spatula. It's also easier to spread right after you mix it, but it tastes best after it sits for a couple of hours. It allows the gelatin to set slightly & the flavor is richer and the texture less grainy.

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  12. I'm a baker and a food-science nerd, and I have a few things to add:
    1. Egg whites will whip up best if they are room temp and FREE of yolk. Any fat- any, any any fat or oil- on the bowl or beaters will ruin the results.
    2. I'm unfamiliar with this recipe, but I do.know that meringues like this must be mixed in the right order. You need to whip the white until it's pretty good and foamy first, then Gradually add the sugar/jello and whip to stiff peaks but not beyond, or else it will break.
    3. Not sure what happened with the amounts of jello mixup. Gelatin comes in tiny packets, but flavored jello is not the same deal. Small box=3oz, even adjusted for sugarfree-the gelatin content is the same.
    4. The whisk attachment is correct, but the 5 minutes may not be. Mixers vary even if they are similar ages and same brands. Plus if your egg was cold it woukd have taken longer etc.

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  13. Okay so made this today. For both sugar and what should be said as sugar light, you need 0ne package of 3oz regular flavored jello. Because you whip eggs for the stiffening just like mousse you have to use metal or ceramic equipment. Also, to make sure that the sugar melts try the trick of pouring only the sugar into the water and reheat in the microwave, then desolve the jello powder, into the sugar water.
    You will have to whip each the eggs and the jello mixture separate till they each peak then fold the eggs into the jello.
    If you need a quick fix because it won;t stiffen, use powdered 10x sugar till frosting holds a peak.

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  14. 10 of the "small packets"? I've never seen packets that small that you've had to use 10 of them to make one frosting recipe. Therein lies the mistake, it has to do with that.

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  15. I've never seen Jello packets that small, but it sounds a lot like a Kool-Aid packet.

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  16. Sara Sad-Face here again. I have an update to impart. I gave it another shot, this time with sugar and regular (not sugar-free) Jello. When I bought the Jello, I carefully examined the size of packets in the grocery store, and I noticed what I believe to be an important disparity: conventional, not sugar-free, Jello packets are sold in the 3 oz (85 g) size, whereas the sugar-free are sold in 0.3 oz (8.5 g) packets. The box is exactly the same size, and according to the ingredients label the reason for this is the sugar accounts for much more weight than the artificial sweetener. The amount of gelatin in each should have been the same, but I digress. I think this distinction is key, because I don't think the recipe specifically called for sugar-free Jello in the "sugar-free" version made with Splenda that I tried above. It may have been more successful using regular Jello with Splenda instead of trying to go sugar-free all the way.

    I gave it another shot with a 3 oz packet of conventional blue raspberry Jello and sugar instead of Splenda, and it turned out fantastic. Texture, color, and taste were all just great. I feel like this is an instance where we've just got to bite the bullet and use sugar instead of artificial sweetener, and it was a complete success.

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  17. My chef husband taught me to wrap a warm towel around your mixing bowl when beating egg whites to help them mix faster. :) works like a charm!

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  18. If it were me, I would just mix jello and half a container of cool whip and see what happens. Seems like that would be good as long as it was kept refrigerated.

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  19. You know "bless your heart" is an insult, right?

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm...that's interesting. Where we came from and grew up, that's something to say to make someone feel better. It's more of "That's okay, don't worry about it" term.

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  20. "bless your heart" is only an insult in the south and usually only an insult when said directly to someone you think is a moron or said referring to someone you think is a moron. it's also worsened with the inclusion of the word "little". usages would be situations such as, if you're having a disagreement with a "lady" in the south and you'd like end the argument but have the last word and convey that you think she's an idiot you'd saying something like "well i wouldn't personally call cutting down from 4 packs of cigarettes to 3 quitting, but bless your little heart for trying!" or if a group of "ladies" are "talking" *ahem ripping those who aren't there to shreds* it's would be something like "i hear brenda is due to have her 7th baby soon! bless her little heart for finding a way to fit all those little angels in a single wide trailer!"
    up here in the north, it's really just a phrase used literally..as in "what a great sport!"

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