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Coffee gelatin is one of those old-timey desserts that was very popular during the Great Depression and the war years – you know, the years when our parents and grandparents were making do with whatever they could so that the soldiers could have the things they needed for the war effort. Those were the years when grandma stood in line for a pound of butter and a bag of sugar and when Hershey’s diverted an entire year’s production to overseas for soldiers’ rations and kits.
All that rationing left precious little in the way of traditional dessert ingredients to satisfy the country’s sweet tooth. Knox Gelatine – yes, it had an e at the end back in the day – stepped into the gap with recipes that could be made without milk, eggs, cream or butter – and often with very little sugar. Coffee gelatin was one of the absolute easiest to make, so it ended up on after dinner menus often.
This is a modern variation of those old-fashioned coffee gelatin recipes. It’s easy enough to make for a quick family dessert, but can be fancied up to make an elegant, impressive showing at company dinners. Best of all, it costs only pennies per serving, even when you add whipped cream. Here’s how to make
Coffee Velvet Parfait
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold coffee
1 cup hot coffee (just below boiling)
2 tablespoons sugar, dissolved in hot coffee
Whipped cream, if desired
Sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the cold coffee in a bowl and allow to stand ten minutes to soften.
Stir sugar into hot coffee to dissolve it. Add hot coffee to cold gelatin mixture and stir well to dissolve gelatin.
Pour one half the coffee gelatin mixture into a flat baking pan OR pour”cup gelatin mixture into wine or dessert glasses.
Pour other half of coffee gelatin mixture into the blender and whirl on high until thick and foamy. Spoon or pour over the coffee gelatin already in pan or glasses.
Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight thicken gelatin.
If you gelled the coffee gelatin in a flat baking pan, cut it into cubes and pile into dessert glasses when it is completely set.
Top with whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate if desired.