Years ago, when I was hip and young, staying home on New Years Eve was "totally not cool". For my more mature self in 2012, however, a nice quite night home with the kids was just what the doctor ordered. Snuggled on the couch with puppies on our laps we rang in the New Year watching the classic It's a Wonderful Life and finding gratitude in the Life we "Liv".
Our last minute change in plans however, left us with a gorgeous batch of Margarita Lime Jell-O shots... a use my dad probably had not envisioned when he brought over a Trader Joe's sized bag of limes from his tree, though a use he is probably wishing he had been a part of.
Tart and potent, these jiggly cubes of margarita go down easy, especially when dipped into a sweet lime sugar that brings a definite "Pow" to the senses when popped into your mouth. Unflavored Knox Original Gelatin allows true margarita flavors to shine through uninhibited by the usual flavored Jell-O.
Combined with fresh squeezed lime and lemon juices, a touch of sugar and a splash of Grand Marnier, these little guys can become somewhat addicting. Note to self: when photo shooting said Margarita Shots in the morning, perhaps one should not eat all the scraps from trying to make perfectly shaped cubes...
Pouring the prepared gelatin into a prepared baking dish and then cutting eases the prep and cost of those little plastic shot cups, and a simple topping of a tiny lime wedge sure catches the eye. Sugar mixed with grated lime peel adds an attractive and sparkly addition to your serving plate with its pretty green flecks contrasting with the golden hues of the cubes as it brings an additional layer of flavor to the shot.
Margarita Lime Jello Cubes (Shots)
A Tequila Girl since my 20's, I have come to enjoy the pure, strong flavors of Margarita... sans sugar. Hence, I personally loved these shots with very little sugar (I used only 2 Tbs). My husband however, found them too tart ("puckery" was his description!) for his tastes and preferred his with about 4 Tbs of sugar. As such, be sure to taste the liquid before chilling and adjust the amount of sugar to your tart/sweet preference. I've seen other recipes using limeade concentrate. Again, I prefer the fresh flavors of a good tart lime, however the concentrate would most likely bring additional sweetness to the mix and I'm guessing it would be a good substitute.
In addition, as the gelatin is flavorless, I would recommend using a good quality tequila as the margarita flavors in these cubes truly shine.
6 oz. good quality tequila (3/4 of a cup)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-4 (or more!) Tbs sugar
2 envelopes Knox Original Gelatin, Unflavored,
6 Tbs Water
1-2 Tbs Grand Marnier
pinch of salt
In a medium bowl add tequila and fresh squeezed juices. Sprinkle geletin over the top. Heat water in a microwave until boiling, add sugar and whisk a few times. Pour hot sugar water into the tequila and add Grand Marnier and a small pinch of salt.
Whisk the mixture until geletin dissolves (I whisked for about 3 minutes). If gelatin is not dissolving, heat briefly (start at 30 seconds) in the microwave, being careful not to allow mixture to boil and continue whisking. The sugar will also dissolve.
Pour into a prepared baking dish (I sprayed a glass 9x6 inch dish with cooking spray) and chill until set, at least 3 hours.
Remove from refrigerator and cut into desired shapes... we did simple squares, but diagonal cuts could create fancier diamonds or triangles. Or how about a cutter for circles?
Place on a serving dish, garnish as desired and serve with Lime Sugar.
Liv Life Note: While I used white granulated sugar in the shots this time, I'm somewhat curious to see how agave would work as a substitute and will give that a go next time. I will report back after our next version!
Liv Live Note 2: While we used a 9x6 inch dish, a smaller dish would create taller shots, etc. Experiment with your favorite shape!
The perfect foil to Margarita Lime Jello Shots, or wonderful used as a sprinkle on Citrus Cookies or in any baked good where lime flavors would be welcomed.
Serving the Margarita Shots, I simply placed small spoonfuls of the sugar around the plate. A small dish or bowl in the center of your serving plate would work as well.
1/3 cup sugar
zest from one lime
Place sugar and zest of a lime into a small food processor or blender. Process for about 10 pulses, or until zest in very fine.