In this picture you see one of the very few things I will make out of a box.
While I scorn Hamburger Helper, KD, and other things from a box, I will devour almond jelly from powder anytime I get a chance.
What exactly is almond jelly, you may ask? It’s a traditional Chinese dessert that is made from almond extract, milk/cream, sometimes some gelatin, and the most important ingredient, AGAR-AGAR. No, no, that’s not the sound made by Bigfoot’s cousin. Agar is a vegetable gelatin derived from seaweed, and is commonly used in Asian desserts, jellies, puddings, and the like. It has a different texture than normal gelatin – it seems to have a stiffer surface tension and it kind of bursts under your bite. Hard to describe, you just have to try it sometime.
You can think of almond jelly as a kind of Asian panna cotta, but the texture is really quite different.
I’m sure it’s quite easy to make almond agar from scratch with agar flakes, almond extract, and milk, and it’s probably far more delicious, but I’ve always made it from the box. So far, my favorite brand is “Golden Coins Almond Flavor Agar Mix”. I happen to love the taste of almond extract, so this saccharine pouch of jelly powder does it for me! Just don’t read the ingredient list.
Someday I’ll make a dolled-up version of Almond Agar Jelly for the site, with from-scratch ingredients and some fancy topping like ginger-infused simple syrup and poached pears or something…but for the time being, I’m happy with my agar from a box and a scoop of canned mandarin oranges. With syrup.
Hey, I did say it was a guilty pleasure, didn’t I?