Last week was all country-bumpkin and hearty, full of grains and fruit, and although we’re still dealing with some of summer’s best fruit, things are much more glamorous and sophisticated today. I’ve been wanting to do jello shots with cherries for awhile now, and figured I’d better hurry before the summer was over! I guess this week is the last official week of summer before Labor Day, but thankfully the warm weather and fresh cherries should still be around for a bit longer. But to covet them while they’re still affordable, I’ve glammed up some of summer’s last cherries with touches of gold, Diet Coke, and some vodka of course too. Cheers to Labor Day Weekend!
Although I’m firmly against the purchase of kitchen tools that serve only one purpose, owning a cherry pitter would have made my life much, much easier when making these cherry jello shots. I didn’t want to leave pits in the cherries since the shots are intended to be a one bite deal, so I had to use my little paring knife and some patience to cut out the pits without destroying the delicate cherries. It was a somewhat arduous task, but so worth it. Especially because the intact cherries are the best part since each one provides its own handle. No awkwardly scooping out jello from a plastic cup or licking out the remnants – just grab and bite! I chose to do one layer of Coke-flavored jello and one layer of dark cherry jello to add some artistic flair. Of course you could just mix the 2 flavors together, but that’s just not as fun. Granted the Coke-flavored layer isn’t the prettiest of colors, but it gets the point across visually as to the flavor variety. And I just love the look of the sunken cherries and their stems – so elegant and fun!
To make these circle-shaped without a mold (avoiding another single-use kitchen item thankyouverymuch), I just assembled the jello in a baking sheet and then used a small round cookie cutter to cut circles around each of the cherries. The bottom of the cherries are cut slightly to make them flat so they’ll sit nicely as your pour the next layer on top. This requires some balance, and some organizing in your fridge beforehand so that you have a completely flat area to chill these on! Is that a major issue for anyone else?? I’m constantly running out of space in our tiny city-sized fridge and sometimes I take over the whole thing with just one baking project. Who needs room for milk and eggs anyway when you have cherry jello shots to live off of? But seriously, if you have some fridge space to spare this weekend try out these jello shots if you really want to impress your Labor Day party friends. They’re summery, they’re fruity, and there’s vodka involved – come on now, time to finally get that cherry pitter!
Cherry Cola Jello Shots
30 fresh cherries, pitted
for the cola jello layer:
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1-1/3 cup cola (coke, diet-coke, pepsi, whatever)
2/3 cup vodka
for the dark cherry jello layer:
1 box black cherry Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup vodka (I used cherry flavored)
Rinse and pit the cherries carefully. Slice a small part off the bottom of each one to make them flat and set aside. Spray a 9x13" pan with nonstick cooking spray and use a paper towel to wipe up the excess.
For the cola jello, pour the cola into a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow the gelatin to soak for 2-3 minutes, then begin to heat on low, stirring constantly until gelatin is fully dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in the vodka and pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
First, arranged the pitted and flattened cherries on top of the chilled cola jello so the cherries are all evenly spaced out. Set side.
For the dark cherry layer, in a medium bowl add 1 cup of boiling water to the black cherry jello powder, and stir for 2 minutes until fully dissolved. Stir in the vodka and set aside for a few minutes to come to room temperature (you don't want to pour it over the cola jello while it's too hot or it will melt the other jello). Once cooled, carefully pour cherry jello mixture over the lined up cherries and cola jello layer, then transfer to the fridge to chill for another 2 hours.
Once fully chilled, use a small circle cookie cutter to cut out a round jello shot around each cherry and transfer to a serving plate or into mini cupcake liners for presentation. Store in the fridge until ready to sreve.
For a great visual of this process - check out Michelle's blog post here