An Old Favorite Gets a Makeover & Plays a Key Role!

My grandmother used to make a coffee flavored gelatin, top it with whipped cream and serve it for dessert. She’d make red gelatin as well, so her grandkids could have an option in case the coffee wasn’t sweet enough for young tastebuds. It was always a fun and refreshing dessert after one of her delicious meals, but of course was filled with loads of sugar!

I was recently scheduled for a routine colonoscopy screening. As part of the prep, I wasn’t allowed any solid food the day prior. Although it’s something no one really looks forward to or enjoys, it’s a necessary way to catch any potential issues.


I try to make the best of whatever situation I’m in, and have as much fun as possible; so as crazy as it sounds, this held true for my prep day!

I truly enjoy eating. I give a lot of thoughtful planning to what I eat; food is a pretty big part of my day, as it really does affect how I feel and function. As part of the prep, I would have to follow a clear liquid diet for the 24 hours prior to the procedure. No solid foods allowed! Although my menu would be limited, I still wanted it to be as healthy and a tasty as possible, and add a fun treat!

Chicken broth, coconut water, tea and coffee where all things I could have. I stocked up on a delicious chocolate mint flavored coconut water that made me feel like I was drinking something rich and filling, despite it actually being just a clear liquid. It would be especially helpful in balancing my electrolytes and replenishing potassium that would be lost during the prep process. Chicken broth would be warm and flavorful, and would be an acceptable stand-in for an actual meal.

I really wanted a treat that was solid, something I could (kind of) sink my teeth into! Gelatin was on the list of “okay foods” as long as it wasn’t red or purple. I like gelatin well enough, but I really didn’t want to have a whole lot of processed sugar without a lot of nutritional value. I remembered my grandmother’s coffee gelatin and thought, why not try to tweak it?

My mom had told me that my Grandma used to use lemon gelatin as a base to mix with the coffee. That would work; I was allowed both coffee and lemon gelatin, but I really didn’t want a ton of highly processed granulated sugar that’s in commercially packaged, flavored gelatin desserts. For me, lots of sugar makes me feel lousy, I even feel it in my joints when I eat too much of it. It really is very inflammatory!

I decided to experiment and use unflavored gelatin and sweeten it with coconut palm sugar instead of granulated white sugar so there’d be no processed sweeteners in it. I also thought I’d try making it with cold brew coffee to make it less acidic since I’d likely be eating a good amount of it! It would also give it a nice, smooth taste. Unflavored gelatin has some protein in it, which would be an added bonus. After some taste testing during the mixing process, here’s what I came up with. It tasted so delicious, I’ll actually be making it for a refreshing dessert, but of course I’ll top it with coconut milk whipped cream!


Cold-Brew Coffee Gelatin

This dessert is light and refreshing with a nice burst of lightly sweetened coffee flavor.  The cold brewed coffee makes the coffee less acidic. The gelatin also adds a healthy little burst of protein. Top with fresh coconut milk whipped cream for a light and delicious ending to a meal! Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup cold water, plus 1 cup boiling water
4 individual packets unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 cups homemade or store-bought cold-brew coffee
Coconut milk whipped cream for topping (recipe on website)

In a large bowl (I used an 8 cup glass bowl with a cover), pour 1 cup of cold water and sprinkle unflavored gelatin evenly over it. Let sit until the gelatin begins to get firm (about 5-10 minutes)
Slowly pour the coconut palm sugar into the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Be careful, it’s very hot and may bubble over when the sugar is added (It’s easiest to do this in a large, 2 cup glass measuring cup).
Pour the sugar mixture into the pan; using a fork, mix well to incorporate into the gelatin, stirring to get rid of any lumps. Add the cold brew coffee and mix well.
Cover bowl either with a lid, if it has one, or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until firm.
Once completely firm, spoon into dessert dishes. Top with coconut milk whipped cream and enjoy!

Prep Notes: This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free and paleo


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