Ryan’s grandma is 94 this year and she is still spunky as ever. This awesome Jello dessert is her signature dish. She would make this for all the family get together, or when she gets invited to dinner somewhere, or just to bring it to her favorite restaurant to treat the staffs there. The flavor is simple and delicate but sooooo addicting!! Just have one bite, and you won’t be able to resist the second, third, fourth…
Whenever grandma made the Jello dessert, she would start the night before. Mind you, she doesn’t have a food processor or a stand mixer, so everything is made the old fashioned way. She chopped all the walnuts by hand, just as well or even better than my food processor. (A couple years ago, one of the family members took over her task to make this Jello dessert, and the crust was full of walnut chunks!) She creamed the butter and the cream cheese with a little hand mixer. She used an old rectangular cake pan that’s been beaten to death. Then she cut out small squares and carefully placed them into cupcake liners to make little individual Jello dessert. But they were too small for my tummy; I could never eat just one piece!
Grandma uses coolwhip in her original recipe, but I’ve modified it here to use heavy whipping cream instead. If you want to use coolwhip, just replace the sugar and the heavy whipping cream in the middle cream layer ingredients list.
I made this recipe in 2 round pie pans, but I prefer using the 9” x 13” cake pan or baking dish. I was faking it so I can categorize it under pie, but I settled on cookies & bars instead… I think the problem with the pie pans was that they were too shallow, so the layers are not as thick. It doesn’t feel as substantial when you bite into it. So do as I say and not as I do, use a rectangular baking dish! Then, cut them up into 1.5” x 1.5” squares, or larger. They are so good as dessert, or as mid afternoon snack with tea… or even breakfast! (Yup, I eat dessert as breakfast, and breakfast as dinner!)
- 8 oz unsalted butter (2 sticks) – soften, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup walnut – finely chopped
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 oz cream cheese (1 package) – soften, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 – 3 oz package of lemon Jello
- 1 – 0.25 oz envelope of plain gelatin
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 – 6 oz package of strawberry Jello
- 1 – 0.25 oz envelope of plain gelatin
- 3 cup of boiling water
- Preheat oven at 350°F. Butter and flour a 9” x 13” baking dish and set aside.
- Finely chop the walnuts in a food processor or by hand.
- Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.
- Add the finely chopped nuts and flour, mix until combined.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and flatten to create a bottom crust layer.
- Bake 30 minutes to get a lightly brown crust.
- Allow to cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Dissolve the lemon Jello and the plain gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Whip the heavy whipping cream on medium-high speed to stiff peak and set aside.
- Cream sugar and cream cheese together with the whisk attachment on medium speed.
- Fold the whipped cream back into the cream cheese mixture using the whisk attachment on low speed, scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure thorough mixing. Leave out on the counter at room temperature.
- Pour the room temperature gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture and mix on low speed until smooth.
- Pour this mixture on top of the cool crust and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until set.
- Dissolve the strawberry Jello and plain gelatin in 3 cups of boiling water.
- Let cool to room temperature and pour over the already set middle cream layer.
- Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until set.
- For the middle cream layer, if you pour the room temperature gelatin mixture in to a cold cream cheese mixture, the gelatin will coagulate too quickly and create chunks, so make sure everything is at room temperature or slightly warm.