Stained glass Jello gets the patriotic treatment with a combination of red, white and blue, and is cut into the shape of stars. A fun and easy treat for your 4th of July celebration! (Bonus! Use any color combination for other holidays, your favorite sports teams, a school graduation – so many possibilities!)
When I was a kid, there were two types of Jello desserts – there was Jello in a big bowl that was usually prepared by my grandma or great aunt (and it was always a toss up as to whether there would be some type of cut-up fruit floating around in there), and then there was finger Jello, or Jello Jigglers, or Knox blocks… I’ve heard them called all of those names. Basically, it was Jello prepared with less water so it set up denser, then cut into blocks and could be picked up and eaten with your fingers.
I LIVED for finger Jello – it was a summer staple! So when I first learned that I could do the same thing while combining different colors for a super cool effect, I was all-in.
I was so entranced when I first saw a picture of stained glass Jello on The Food Librarian. She had done hers up in purple and yellow to cheer on the Lakers (this was yearssssss ago), and it looked awesome. At the time, I had the idea to make a black and gold variety (for Pittsburgh sports, naturally), however, I’ve never seen black Jello, have you? I thought perhaps they would sell blackberry, but I couldn’t find any. So, I went back to making more batches of the decorated sugar cookies and put the stained glass Jello on the back burner.
Only a few weeks later, I realized that using strawberry and berry blue flavors could make a pretty cool red, white & blue dessert for the 4th of July. And to be even more festive, I used a cookie cutter to cut the Jello into the shape of stars.
These are always so fun to make and I think it’s a great presentation for a holiday picnic. You could switch up colors to reflect school graduation, various sports teams, company logos – anything at all! And if you have some fun cookie cutters in your stash, the possibilities are truly endless. Or simply cut them into squares and dig in!
Line four loaf pans or other small pans with plastic wrap. In four separate bowls, dissolve one box of Jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Stir for 2 full minutes, until it is completely dissolved, then allow to cool to room temperature. Pour each into the prepared pans and chill at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Turn the chilled Jello out onto a cutting board and slice into ½-inch blocks.
Add the blocks to a jelly roll pan or 9x13-inch pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. Gently spread the blocks so they are in an even layer and the colors are evenly mixed.
In a separate large bowl, sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin into ½ cup cold water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. After the gelatin blooms (it will look mostly dissolved and get wrinkly on the surface), add 1½ cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add the can of condensed milk and stir to combine; set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled milk mixture over the red and blue Jello blocks in the pan. Chill overnight, or at least 3 hours until firm.
Cut into blocks or shapes and serve.
I lined my pans with plastic wrap so that I could easily lift the Jello out of the pan and turn it onto a cutting board to slice; you could spray your pans with non-stick cooking spray if you'd prefer.
Use any size pan you would like for the red and blue colors, but I've found the smaller, the better. If your pan is too big (I've done 8-inch squares in the past), the blocks come out looking pretty flat.
I have found that using a jelly roll pan is the perfect thickness if you're planning to cut shapes. If you are simply cutting into blocks, a 9x13-inch pan will give you thicker blocks and would work just fine.