Friday, January 23, 2015

Jello Shot Cupcakes

Hello. Remember me? It’s been a while, but the Super Bowl is coming up. While I am not really a sporty sort, I always enjoy getting together with friends. And never is one more warmly welcomed than when one arrives with a plate of cupcakes.

Jello Poke Cake is a pretty staple Midwestern dessert. It's pretty, easy and tastes great. It's also a vehicle for team spirit. 

I like to make this recipe over two days – preparing the cupcakes the evening before the event, and allowing them, and the layered jello shot mixtures to chill overnight. A few hours before the event, I frost the cupcakes, cut the jello shots into cubes and pop one on top of each cupcake.

Any white cupcake will work for this recipe – so make from a mix, or buy from the store. I like to use Duncan Hines white cake mix, and I add one extra egg white, which makes it somehow more dense AND more fluffy. It is a great mix for this recipe because it is a very basic cake – and it will be loaded up with lots of flavorful gelatin goodness!

Regarding saturation with the jello mixture, I like a consistent batch of cupcakes - so I have a bit of a method. For the first color of gelatin mix, I poke a 4-cornered square with one in the center. And with the second color, I poke 4 holes, kind of in-between each of the corners. Yeah, I know - pretty kooky - however, this way everything has a pretty consistent look, and is generally evenly saturated. 

The stabilized whipped frosting is an old farm recipe I found in an old cookbook. I use it for everything. It is easier to prepare than the traditional gelatin version, holds for days in the fridge, won’t budge on a serving tray, and is sturdy enough to be fluffy base for a gelatin cube. 

Jello Shot Cupcakes are a great opportunity to use up flavored rums and vodkas that could potentially be bursting out of the cupboard. Or maybe that is just me. Goes without saying that these can be made non-alcoholic by subbing more water for the booze. Hope you enjoy! More soon!

XO Michelle

Jello Shot Cupcakes
Serves 24, serving size 1 Cupcake

BBQ skewer or chopstick for poking the cupcakes
Squeeze bottle
1 lb loaf pan (for setting up the jello shots)
Saucepan, and spatula or spoon for stirring
Sharp knife to cut jello shots
Electric mixer
Optional: frosting bag and tips (for icing), sprinkles for top

24 plain white cupcakes, unfrosted, baked in paper cupcake wrappers

Jello Shot Mixture - Color #1
1 cup water
1 envelope Knox gelatin (or other, 2.5 tsp of gelatin powder)
1 box blue powdered gelatin mix (or color of your choice)
1 cup flavored vodka

Jello Shot Mixture - Color #2
1 cup water
1 envelope Knox gelatin (or other, 2.5 tsp of gelatin powder)
1 box red powdered gelatin mix (or color of your choice)
1 cup flavored vodka

Whipped Cream Icing
1 pint whipping cream
2 tbsp dry vanilla instant pudding mix
2 tbsp sugar

1. Prepare your cupcakes. If baking your own cupcakes, just make sure to use a cupcake liner (helps contain the jello mixture) and cool the cupcakes completely before proceeding. To begin, poke 5 holes on top of the cupcake with skewer. Each hole should permeate the cupcake, i.e. poke until the top of the skewer touches, but does not puncture, the paper wrapper. Set cupcakes aside.

2. Prepare Jello Shot Mixture #1. Pour one cup of water into saucepan, and sprinkle with one envelope of plain gelatin.  Allow gelatin to soak for a minute or two, until softened. Heat over medium low heat for a couple minutes, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolved. Add the flavored gelatin, stirring until it is fully combined. When the mixture is perfectly smooth, with no grains of gelatin or sugar, remove from heat, and stir in 1 cup of cold vodka. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. (approximately 10 to 20 minutes)

3. Pour 1 cup of Jello Shot Mixture #1 into loaf pan, and place in refrigerator to set. 

4. Add Jello Shot Mixture #1 to cupcakes. The remaining Jello Shot Mixture #1 into squeeze bottle. Invert cupcake and place one of the holes over the bottle nozzle. Flip cupcake, and give the bottle a very tiny squeeze. Repeat with other 4 holes. Continue process with remaining cupcakes. Place cupcakes into refrigerator.  Refrigerate for an hour or until jello inside the cupcake firms up. 

5. Prepare Jello Shot Mixture #2. Repeat steps in #2, using the second gelatin color. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature (approximately 10 to 20 minutes).

6. Check chilled jelly shot mixture. Is it set? It should be firm, but slightly tacky to the touch.  If set, carefully pour 1 cup of Jello Shot Mixture #2 on top of the set layer, and return the pan to the refrigerator. 

7. Prepare cupcakes. This time, poke 4 holes into each cupcake, sort of ‘in between’ the previously used holes. 

8. Add Jello Shot Mixture #2 to cupcakes, using procedure outlined in step 4 with each of the new holes. Continue process with remaining cupcakes. Place cupcakes into refrigerator. 

9. Cut the set jelly shots into squares with a sharp knife. On the corners in particular, you might see a bit of separation in the layers when you remove them from the pan. Just proceed carefully - this won't affect the finished jelly shots. (And besides, they are going on a mound of whipped cream and will be gobbled in seconds.)

10.  Prepare whipped cream icing. 

11. Frost each cupcake, making sure to use enough to provide a sturdy home for a jello shot topper. 

12. Add a jello shot to each cupcake and top. 

13. Refrigerate until serving.