Colorful Cookies With Gelatin – A Mid-Century Recipe Re-Run

Posted on Jul 31 2013 - 6:10am by RetroRuth

Hey there, guys! I have been busy this week with baby things, so I thought I would bring this post out from the archives to share it again with you. This recipe won third place in the Glistening And Jiggly gelatin contest that Tom and I had last year, but it is a really unique recipe in its use of gelatin! Since I recently made another batch of these cookies (and had them disappear just as fast as the original batch) I thought it would be a good one to run again. Enjoy!

Guess what? It’s time for cookies!


Fun, bright cookies made with a package of Jell-O. Yep, that’s right. Jell-O. It turns out that not all gelatin dishes are meant to be put into a mold.

This was sent into us by P’Gell, who also sent us an interesting looking recipe for a pie that I am still planning on making when I find some spare time. But these cookies just called to us. I mean, come on. Cookies made with gelatin??? We are totally in.

P’Gell writes:

This recipe was from an old pamphlet cookbook I found from sometime in the 1960s, I believe. I’ve made these so often they are committed to memory. They are great when you don’t have any eggs in the house and want to bake cookies now. Making several batches in different colors and flavors is best. These don’t wiggle or jiggle, but they are good and easy to make.

From, P’Gell

5.0 from 1 reviews
Colorful Cookies With Gelatin
  • 1 (3oz) pkg. Jello
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2¼ Cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Heat oven to 350. Reserve 1 TB dry gelatin for glaze if desired. Mix remaining gelatin, powdered sugar & butter. Stir in salt and flour. Shape into 1" balls.
  2. Place about 2" apart on cookie sheets lined with Silpat or parchment paper. Bake until set, but not brown. 8-10 min. (Don’t let them get brown, it ruins the pretty colors.) Remove from cookie sheet when slightly cool.
  3. Colorful Glaze: Mix reserved gelatin & 3 TB hot water. Let stand 5 min. Stir in 2 C powdered sugar & 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Dip top of cookies into glaze. Or simply skip the glaze (as these are pretty sweet) use left over Jello to sprinkle on warm cookies.
  4. You can make several batches in different colors. You can also make up two batches in different colors and fit two small balls from each together to made different colors and flavors in one cookie.



These were dead easy to mix up. The only issue I had was that my dough was fairly dry so I had to use some pressure to get them to stick together. But I think that might have been operator error, since I was trying to mutli-task while making these and may have left them mixing for a bit longer than I should have.


Also, when I was baking my cookies they took about 15 minutes to bake rather than 8, but that may have also been related to the dry dough issue. Or maybe I made them larger than they were supposed to be. Either way, I considered the cookies baked when the “ball” of dough had melted into a disk and had puffed slightly.

The glaze was easy to mix up and I just dipped the tops of my cookies straight in. The glaze sets up fast and I had to keep whisking mine to prevent it from forming a skin, so move quickly when glazing your cookies.


But even though they looked really cute, Tom was still suspicious.

“So, what’s the story with these?”

“Nothing, they are just cookies.”

“Uh-huh. And what’s in them?”

“Just cherry Jell-O.”




“Sugar. Flour. You know, regular cookie things.”

“So, no cheese?”

“No, no cheese.”




“No! Just cookie things! They are just cookies!”

“Well, okay then.”


“And nothing else is in them?”

“For God’s sake, no!”


“You know, these are pretty good. I mean, for just being cookies.”

“You’re impossible.”

Tasting notes:

Shortbread texture. Very sweet, but not in a bad way. Glaze was good. Strong fruit flavor.

The Verdict: Good!

Thanks for sending this our way, P’Gell! They were fast, easy and tasted fun. Although these cookies are very sweet, they were still good. Tom ate the whole batch in about 36 hours even while I was stuffing him full of other gelatin dishes, so he liked them. I wish I would have had more time to try other flavors/colors to see what they tasted like. But just so everyone knows, the cherry version is yummy!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Cheryl 166 July 31, 2013 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Maybe they are supposed to be really small because they are so sweet–might explain the difference in your baking time and the recipe.

  2. Amy July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    I am SO going to make these – kids will love them.

  3. Jen August 1, 2013 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Well, these sound good and LOOK very pretty! Imagine the fun you could have…also, I agree with Cheryl; perhaps they’re meant to be so small because of the intense sweetness.

  4. Barb December 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    I am so glas I came across this. I have been searching for this recipe. I lost mine and wanted to make these again for Christmas. They are to be small and they are very rich, but, soooooo good.

  5. P'Gell April 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    When I make them, Ruth, I make them a bit smaller than yours. Humidity in the air may effect how dry the dough is, too.

    The other day I did a dramatic reading of your blog page of my recipe for my kids. They thought it was hilarious. They love Tom’s expressions. One of them said, “Cheese and fish in a cookie?” I just said, “You don’t want to know.” 😉

    Oh, and congratulations on the baby. She’s adorable! 😀

  6. P'Gell April 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    I know the recipe says “one inch balls” but mine look smaller for some reason. Try a smaller server/scooper next time or just grab the dough with your hands and roll until it feels right. 🙂

  7. Tereana D March 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    I made these. Didn’t have parchment paper but a little bit of Pam worked fine. Also noticed that the glaze called for vanilla when I was half done with making it. I decided to try out using a bit of flavoring. So I opened up a little thing of piña colada flavoring and added a tiny bit in. It gave the glaze a wonderful orange/piña colada flavor.

    These are so good.

  8. Lori Young December 24, 2015 at 9:02 am - Reply

    I have been making these for years. They are my daughters favorite cookie. We love the cheery and lemon. Great cookie to make with your kids.

    • RetroRuth December 24, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      They ARE a great cookie to make with kids! Alex loves them! 🙂

  9. Darla Gibbons January 15, 2017 at 2:47 am - Reply

    I have looked for this cookie recipe for years. I made them with my mother when I was a girl. Shortly after I lost my parents I thought about these cookies. But could never find a recipe. Thank you for sharing. There still the best cookies I’ve tasted. Have a blessed day.

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