When I was kid, my dad’s office had an annual summer picnic, and there was a lady who always brought what she called “finger Jello” and I LOVED it. It was layered Jello that she had layered like a rainbow, with a white layer in between each color. She told me the white layer was made with milk. Gelatinized milk sounds vulgar to me now, but as a kid I had no problem with it. The Jello blocks were cut into cubes and we kids could pick up the cubes with our hands and peel all the layers apart. It was fascinating and delicious.

I went on the hunt for instructions on making this. I imagined red, green, and white layers would be beautiful. I was glad to see that modern recipes use sweetened condensed milk instead of plain white milk. Maybe that’s what the picnic lady used too, and I just don’t remember. But as you might imagine, the layered Jello is still rather time-consuming and I wanted something easier.

This recipe I found on YouTube (below) is perfect. I love a shortbread crust, and when I tested this myself I omitted the nuts. This recipe also works with no crust – you can skip that and just do the Jello layers if you want to. I also love that she uses real whipped cream and not Cool Whip, because I always do the same thing. Anyway, I think layered Jello is perfect for summer. You can add green food coloring if you want a more Christmasy look…that’s what I did. I also used a 9×9 pan instead of a 13×9 pan. I had about 1/2 cup of extra red jello that wouldn’t fit. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes from the time I started preheating the oven, until I poured the red layer and put in the fridge. At least one hour of that time was hands off – I waited 30 minutes for the finished crust to cool while the green jello was cooling at the same time. I waited another 30 minutes for the green layer to set in the fridge after it was poured. Another note on this recipe – if you do the cookie layer, grease the pan!

(Image credit: Ashlee Marie)

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