18 December 2014

Of Gingerbread & Jelly @hartleysjelly #JollyJelly [by @NLi10]

Hartley's Jelly have a festive promotion going on at the moment.  They want people to make jelly and then put things in it - both ordinary objects for comedy purposes (like stationary in TV sitcom The Office) and edible things to make Christmas tables more exciting.

I was up for the challenge and ordered the kit. Duchess was more than happy to investigate the contents (there was also a large bag of raisins which I gave to my partner as soon as they arrived).

The jelly itself also looks seasonal.

and comes both in the wobbly blocks from my childhood and the newer sugar-free sachets which are a bit easier to make.

As I wanted my jelly to be completely edible I decided to forgo the ingredients provided (except for the jelly - that wouldn't make much sense) and make my own items.

Our work Christmas competition is to make and decorate gingerbread items, so I decided to do my best to combine the two.  It went a bit wrong in places, but overall I was happy.

Here we see the two halves of the mixture.  After I'd mixed the sugar into the flour I realised that the recipe was badly written and I was supposed to have melted it in the pan. oops!  It still tasted alright, but the bottoms were a bit caramel heavy.

I made a second batch afterwards with the new version and got these little fellows.  Again, a bit crispy but close enough to my original ideas that I went with these.  As you can probably tell they are all hand cut as I needed them to be quite small and rough around the edges.

As I work in a laboratory I decided to lay the gingerbread men out on the jelly as if we'd just grown them from a sample.

These are the best pictures due to the lighting, but as they'd been in/on the jelly overnight at this point and taken on a bus to work they had been shook about a bit.

I like the way that they are floating on the surface and didn't sink in - I used the old ice cube in the jelly trick to make it set a bit faster for this.

But for the Jelly contest I used a knife to slice down the partially set jelly and put one of the 'hands up' gingerbread men down into the hole.  It set invisibly and looks pretty good!

I think if you wanted to do this for a party you'd be best coating the gingerbread with some kind of varnish-like sugar coating so that they keep better and don't suck all the moisture out of the jelly.  The effect is pretty cool and I even took a video of a full rotation of the cup.

The social media campaign is running all over the festive period so dig that jelly out of the cupboard (or go buy the lovely festive packs) and have a go.  It's a good way to freak out guests who are expecting a boring packet of mince pies!

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