I’m still around coffee drinking family members so this afternoon I decided to make Coffee Jelly. The recipe was contributed by Mrs. Caldbeck of Woodstock for the1898 New Galt Cook Book. The recipe is one of the eleven recipes in the Jellies section of the cook book.
The first step was to determine the amount of gelatine I needed. The recipe calls for “one-half six cent package Cox’s gelatine”. Cox is a brand of gelatine but how big was a six cent package? I decided to base my decision on the amount of liquid that I needed to set with the gelatine. The Knox brand of gelatine box says one of their envelopes will set two cups of liquid so I decided to use 2 envelopes of gelatine dissolved in 1/2 cup of cold water.
I left the gelatine and water to sit for the required 1/2 hour while I made the coffee. As a non coffee drinker I avoid making it most of the time since I’m never sure how it will turn out. However, I thought I’d done a good job this time since it smelled like coffee and looked like coffee instead of beige water like the time I forgot to add any coffee grounds. I made sure I had 1 quart (4 cups) of hot coffee. I think I made it quite strong and then I added 4 teaspoons of sugar to sweeten it. I put the gelatine in a larger bowl and poured the hot coffee over stirring to make sure everything was well mixed and the gelatine was dissolved. I put it in the fridge to set. A few hours later it was set and I was ready to taste my coffee jelly. The rest of the family tried it after I returned home but I had a full tasting report by phone tonight.
Unfortunately I still don’t have a clear idea about the identity and story of Mrs. Caldbeck and that’s too bad as the woman shared some interesting recipes. Her beet salad and chicken salad recipes were very good.
My tasters had mixed reviews of Coffee Jelly. Imagine a coffee flavoured Jello instead of citrus or berry flavoured. If you don’t like the texture gelatine then I doubt this will appeal to you but if you are adventurous you just might have something new to try. I sampled it with some whipped cream and liked it despite not being a coffee drinker. My father had it plain and enjoyed it too. He noticed that it wasn’t very sweet which was fine with him. My father enjoys strong coffee — the kind where you can stand up the spoon– so perhaps that’s why it passed his taste test. My sister and mother did not like this dessert at all. They thought the coffee flavour was too strong, something that surprised even them since they enjoy a good cup of coffee. . My mother’s comment was that Coffee Jelly would be great at an adult Halloween party since it dark coloured and looks strange! Clearly the type and strength of the coffee makes a difference. The sweetness can also be altered when you make it. I think this is well worth trying again. It is quick, simple and unique.
Mrs. Caldbeck, Woodstock
One-half six cent package Cox’s gelatine soaked one-half hour in one-half cupful cold water, add one quart good boiling hot sweetened coffee, stir well and strain into a quart mould well rinsed in cold water. Serve with whipped cream.