Raspberry Cream Gels
These cloud-like gels are infused with fresh raspberries and a touch of "cream" from a dollop of dairy-free yogurt. Made with unflavored gelatin these healthy treats melt in your mouth, and supply a dose of skin, hair, nail, and gut-nourishing collagen. But it's the fresh raspberries that really steal the show.
In this post and episode of Thyroid-healthy Bites, we’re heading to the kitchen for a special Valentine’s Day-worthy treat that happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, and 100% thyroid-healthy.
I'll also be sharing some chef's tips and secrets for cooking with gelatin. There are so many possibilities and ways to use this thyroid-healthy food, and this recipe gives us a great opportunity to learn a little bit more about it.
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Show Notes / Podcast Links:
- FREE Thyroid Thrivers' Grocery Guide
- Anti-inflammatory Tart Cherry Gels
- MORE Thyroid-healthy Sweets & Treats
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You may have seen or tried my similar recipe for Anti-inflammatory Tart Cherry Gels. They take a more quick and casual approach, using just juice, gelatin, and a touch of honey. They're yummy, easy, and can be turned into countless variations. But these are something special.
They take just a wee bit more effort, cooking down fresh raspberries into a concentrated puree, pumping up the flavor with vanilla and lemon, and finally stirring in a swirl of tartly-flavored "cream" in the form of plain dairy-free yogurt. You could make them any time of year but I created these with Valentine's Day in mind. Think of them as my Valentine to you.
(Just having fun with photoshop here! I didn't actually print text on them.)
The inspiration for these came from a favorite dessert from my pre-thyroid life, Raspberries & Russian Cream.
Imagine a sweetened fluff of sour cream, whipped with a touch of gelatin for body, and then topped simply with frozen-thawed raspberries, creating their own razzle-dazzle, ruby-red sauce. It taught me that sometimes you don't need anything more than the proper touch and simple accoutrements for Mother Nature's masterwork.
Confession: This is actually my second dessert inspired by Raspberries and Russian Cream. The first was Blueberries and Lemon Cream which follows the original idea more closely.
I used Harmless Harvest plain coconut yogurt alternative for these Raspberry Cream Gels because it has a silky texture and a light sour cream-like taste. There are too many good dairy-free yogurt alternatives out there to list (and a few not-so-good ones). Just make sure that whatever you use it's smooth (not grainy), delicious, and free of any ingredients you may be currently avoiding (such as thickeners, sugar, or soy).
Health Benefits of Gelatin
The key healing ingredient in this recipe is gelatin, which is derived from the cartilage, bones, and connective tissue of cows or pigs. That might sound scary, gross, or super-processed, but it's actually one of the oldest and most nourishing recipes there is. I personally feel it's also a great way to honor the animal by using as much of it as possible, including the tough and chewy bits that aren't necessarily palatable but have so much nourishment in the form of gelatin.
In fact, if you've ever made bone broth, you've rendered your own gelatin! When stock is rich and concentrated from being made with plenty of bones, cartilage, and connective tissue, it will gel upon cooling because of the high gelatin content. That can skeeve people out when they don't understand why, but that is actually a sign of a very good, and good-for-you bone broth!
Gelatin is primarily composed of amino acids/proteins, which are beneficial to skin, teeth, nails, hair, joints, bones, muscles, the liver, the adrenals, and, in particular, the intestinal walls. Glycine, the primary amino acid in bone broth, has been shown to be particularly beneficial to health, including mental health and brain function. Glutamine, another amino acid found in gelatin, has been shown to help repair fissures in the intestinal walls (aka leaky gut).
It lubricates our joints, keeps our hair and nails healthy and strong, heals our guts and beautifies our skin. Some studies have shown it can even support memory and weight loss! Especially as we age, gelatin is something we stand to reap several benefits from, and it comes with little to no negative side effects, except for those with a histamine intolerance. It's no wonder they serve so much Jello in hospitals and nursing homes!
While gelatin does supply health-supporting proteins like collagen and glycine, keep in mind that it is not a complete protein because it lacks some of the essential amino acids, namely tryptophan. If you would like to ensure you are getting complete protein, accompany this snack with a whole source of animal protein like meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
Tips for Cooking with Gelatin
Gelatin is a wonderful way to create delicious desserts, or ready-to-eat snacks for those of us who are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, Paleo, and/or AIP. These are common diets for Thyroid and Autoimmune Thrivers looking to combat inflammation and support gut health.
Gelatin typically comes in powder or sheets, which can then be dissolved and used to create a liquid mixture that "gels" when chilled.
You can purchase beef or pork gelatin. For this recipe, I used Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin, which comes in a convenient canister of easy-to-measure powder.
Powdered gelatin is very easy to use, but there are a couple of details to keep in mind:
- "Bloom" the gelatin first. This simply requires sprinkling the gelatin powder atop cool or cold liquid and letting it sit and absorb the liquid. This takes just a few minutes, but prevents clumping. Don't worry, this step is clearly outlined in the recipe instructions.
- Don't boil gelatin. When gelatin is over-heated, it can lose its gelling power. After blooming the gelatin powder, it's typically added to a warm liquid to dissolve the gelatin granules. When dissolving the gelatin, it's okay to place it over low heat, but try to avoid getting it hotter than 140 F (the upper end of drinking temperature).
- Chill for at least 4 hours or until completely set. This is especially important if you're preparing a large dish of gelatin. These little hearts were ready in less time, but depending on the size of your mold or dish, leave ample time for the gelatin mixture to chill completely, as this is what changes it from liquid to solid form.
Alright, let's make some Raspberry Cream Gels!