Sunday, October 02, 2016

"I just do eyes." (Hannibal Chew, Blade Runner)

First we make the irises. Bloom 1 packet (1 oz) gelatin over 1/4 c of water. Separately, thoroughly mix 22 g flavored jello mix (that's 1/8 of a standard box—I used Berry Blue flavor) with 1/4 c of boiling water. Combine and mix, and then use an eye-dropper to put approximately 1.5 ml into each depression in an ice tray for making small ice spheres (this tray makes 24 spheres, each a bit over an inch in diameter). Let set in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. (You will only use about a third of the jello you made. Let the rest set in small tupperwares for a finger jello treat.)

Next we make the pupils. Place a small dot of decorative gel in the center of each iris. The pupils will spread slightly later, so make them very small. I find that if I touch the iris with the gel, I get a nice dot. When I forget to do this, the pupil is not symmetrical. Put back in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to let the pupils harden a bit.

Now for the whites of the eyes. Bloom 2 packets (2 oz) of gelatin over 1/2 c milk (I used 2%, and let this sit in the fridge while the pupils hardened). Once the pupils have hardened, take the milk and the tray out. Mix the bloomed gelatin into the milk, and add 1/2 c boiling water, 1 tablespoon of vanilla pudding mix, 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar, about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a measuring cup with a spout, and pour over the irises and pupils in the tray. Place the other piece of the ice tray on top, gently press down, and secure with rubber bands or large clips (I used one of each, but the clip works much better). Some liquid will ooze out of holes in the top of the tray, which is fine.

Release the eyeballs! Return to the fridge, and let set. I left them in for an hour or so. Remove the tray from the fridge, gently separate the two pieces, and carefully pop the eyeballs out. (Some of the pupils moved, creating double pupils; I think I didn't let the pupils set for long enough before adding the whites of the eyes.)

The clip held the tray pieces together more tightly than the rubber band. If I had used two clips, I probably could have avoided the bits of white you see sticking out of the side, but they actually are sort of realistic.

A close up of my best eyeball.

This recipe is adapted from a Cooking with Karma YouTube video, but I've modified the recipe a fair amount both to reduce the quantities made to fit the tray better, and to up the gelatin level (because my first attempt at these eyeballs didn't work very well). My first attempt, below, might have used a bit less gelatin than suggested in the video, but I decided to up the amounts for my second try, just to be safe.

Now that I've perfected the methodology, I'll have to make them again with the boys when Halloween gets closer.

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