Homemade Gelatin Hearts

I typically avoid Jell-O. There is pretty much nothing natural about it from it's color (obtained by dyes) to the artificial flavors. Not to mention the fact that the first ingredient is the dreaded sugar. Now, before you think I'm getting on a soapbox, let me just say that my children consume PLENTY of sugar. I also have about 4 boxes of Jell-O in my pantry at this very moment. It's just that I'm not a huge fan of the wiggly stuff and I can probably count on one hand how many times I've made it since my son has been born. Jigglers look fun and around Halloween I even tried to make pumpkin shaped molds out of orange Jell-O, but I couldn't get the little jack-o-lantern faces out of the molds without breaking them into a million pieces. Therefore, I proclaim that Jell-O and I are not friends.

However, while flipping through the February 2015 issue of Parents Magazine, I came across a recipe for "Jellie Hearts" made of fruit juice, gelatin, and vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt. My first thought was, what, you can make Jell-O without a box of Jell-O? Yes, I know, duh, of course you can. What rock have I been living under? Then I thought, wow, I bet my kids would love this. And I was completely right!

Making Homemade Gelatin Hearts is really easy! That's the best kind of recipe right? Three ingredients, a few simple steps and smiling kiddos. All you need is fruit juice, gelatin packets and vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt.

I also used, olive oil, a heart shaped cookie cutter, a saucepan, a glass dish, one large measuring cup and one small measuring cup.

First, I used a paper towel to put a thin coating of olive oil on the glass baking dish. The recipe actually called for a quick coating of cooking spray, but I no longer use cooking spray for reasons that could take up another whole post. Plus what did people do before cooking spray was invented? When I was a little girl, I remember greasing pans with Crisco on a paper towel. So trust me when I say, cooking spray is really not necessary. But use it if you must.

Then stir two gelatin packets into 1 cup of fruit juice. The recipe didn't specify a type of juice, so I picked a red colored juice and I knew my almost three year old daughter wouldn't touch the tartness of cranberry juice. I used Cherry juice, but if you read the label it's actually a blend of apple, pear and cherry, so I thought it would be sweet enough.

In a small saucepan, heat 2 more cups of juice on low heat until it is hot.

Next, turn off the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture. If you don't want to add the Greek yogurt, you can then pour your mixture straight into your lightly greased 8 x 8 glass dish, but I wanted a little more protein in my snack. I transferred my juice/gelatin mixture back to my large measuring cup and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

Next, measure out 1/2 cup of Vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt.

After your mixture cools slightly, then whisk in yogurt.

It changed the color of juice to a not-so-pretty shade of pink, but I think I was the only one who really noticed or cared about that. Then I poured the gelatin mixture into my glass dish.

After placing the glass dish in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, they are ready to cut! (You can also leave them overnight if you want to prep them at night for a lunchtime snack). We had ours as an after dinner dessert.

Next, I rubbed my heart-shaped cookie cutter with olive oil and cut out the gelatin hearts.

Lastly, I carefully removed the gelatin hearts from the dish using a spatula. My cookie cutter was rather large so we only made 4, but my son and daughter enjoyed eating the scraps just as much as the hearts.

I will definitely be using this recipe for other holidays and fun treats using different colored juices and other shaped cookie cutters. Homemade gelatin is a fun, easy, different kind of snack!