25 Oct

Hello, JELL-O

When the Clever Girls Collective put out a call for members to create a cute Halloween treat out of JELL-O, the spirits of my Utah ancestors rose up and compelled me to click, because JELL-O is our official State Snack Food. (You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. In 2001 the Utah State Legislature passed a resolution “urging JELL-O recognition.” Read all the whereases; it’s a kick.) So it’s true, then, that you can take the girl out of Utah, but you’ll have to pry the JELL-O out of her cold, dead hands.

Click through for the recipe for these jiggly witches. Cool trick worth mentioning: THEY GLOW UNDER BLACK LIGHT.




It’s common knowledge that I’m a disaster in the kitchen, so my food posts are always guaranteed to be filled with danger and excitement, but what makes this particular recipe even more interesting is that my own mother, who’s quite good in the kitchen, has a history of gelatin-related failures. Given our ancestry, this is like an Italian matriarch not being able to make spaghetti. It’s pretty bad.

I, on the other hand, have had great success with JELL-O, and that’s why I dared leave the safe path of someone else’s recipe and attempted to make up my own. What we’re dealing with here is not just a fun holiday treat but a cultural rite of passage. Spoiler: It totally worked and I’m very proud of myself. If I ever move back to Utah, I’m putting this on my résumé.

(Lime is my favorite.)

I used the Frankenstein’s MMMMonster JIGGLERS recipe on Jello.com as inspiration.


–12 plastic shot glasses
–cooking spray
–1 c water
–2/3 c tonic water (this is what makes them glow!)
–1 1/4 c of JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin (from a 6 oz. package)
–red string licorice
–fudge stripe cookies (or anything that looks similar)
–chocolate kisses
–black decorating gel
–brightly colored decorating gel (for hat ribbon)

1. Spray 12 plastic shot glasses with cooking spray. I put mine in a 9×9 baking dish to keep my mess contained and so I could move everything easily.


2. Boil 1 c water and 2/3 c tonic water and add the liquid to 1 1/4 c Lime JELL-O (about 3/4 of a 6 oz package). Watch your tonic water closely, since it evaporates quickly once it gets boiling. Tonic is what makes your witches glow under a black light and what makes your kids think you’re the best mom ever, but if you don’t have any, go ahead and use regular water here instead.

3. Stir your mixture until the JELL-O is completely dissolved (about 2 minutes). (I set a timer because I tend to get distracted by Twitter.)

4. Transfer your mixture into shot glasses. You might use a spoon; I used a baster.



I put equal amounts of my gelatin mixture in each cup, but if you want to make your witches different heights, adjust your amounts accordingly.


5. Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).

6. You’ll want to decorate and serve your witches while they’re still cold, so now is a good time to assemble your hats. They’re just flat chocolate cookies with chocolate kisses stuck on top with black decorating gel (a little goes a long way, especially if your cookies have holes in the middle).


I used yellow decorating gel to pipe (somewhat shoddily, I see now) a bright ribbon around the center of each hat.

7. Just before you’re ready to serve your witches, unmold your solid JELL-O cups onto a plate. Use black decorating gel to draw eyes, and stick in a string of red licorice for a nose. I cut the licorice into small pieces, stuck them into the JELL-O, and then trimmed any excess.


licorice rope


And there you have it! You are now a Halloween superstar and an honorary Utahn.


(You’ll see I had some trouble getting the black gel eyes to stay in place. Next time I think I’ll use black licorice string so I can stick the eyes in the way I did the nose and then trim them really short so they don’t bug out too far.)




I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

1 Comment

  • Oh these look fun!

    I had NO IDEA that tonic glows under black light. Halloween party punch trick!

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