Welcome to Jiggle All The Way, The Takeout’s holiday celebration of Jell-O, gelatin, and all things wiggly. We’ll be releasing new feature stories and original holiday recipes every day this week, and each of them will have a little bit of wobble.
When you’re developing a week’s worth of gelatin-based recipes, you know that at least one of them needs to be a Jell-O shot. It’s obligatory. Problem with me is that I’m sober, so even though I can write a tasty recipe that can easily be made without the hooch, it lacks the sense of whimsy I feel is warranted for a festive fandango like Jiggle All The Way. I don’t want a Jell-O jiggler—I want a Jell-O shot. And so, I purchased a silicone shot glass mold so I could fill it with gelatin, thus ushering me and my sober brethren into to an exciting new age of Jell-O-based beverage consumption.
It was not as easy as I’d hoped.
I knew it would take a few tries to form a gelatin shot glass strong enough to stand upright. What I didn’t anticipate was just how hard it would be to get the damn glasses out of the mold in one piece. When your mold allows you to only make a few shots at a time, and the gelatin takes many, many hours to set, mangling even one shot glass is a tragic loss. I refused to let “buy more molds” be the solution to the problem, because a silicone shot glass mold is a rather silly thing to own, and nobody should be forced to own more than one. Instead, I developed a convoluted Jell-O shot extraction system that works rather nicely, and have laid it all out in poorly lit photos to help you on your journey.
After that problem was solved, I discovered another: I now had a ton of failed Jell-O shots in my house. I hate throwing food away, and a structural mishap doesn’t change the fact that what you’ve made is damn tasty. So in this recipe, I devised a way to ensure that any disastrous first attempts don’t prevent you from achieving a polished final product.
Gelatin is sort of miraculous in the sense that it allows you to have a “do-over”: if it doesn’t set the way you’d like it to, it can be melted and reset. I took my pile of failed experiments—Jell-O, chocolate, whipped cream, and all—threw it into the food processor, and whirled it into an extremely unappetizing-looking reddish-brown blob. I tossed it into a saucepan, cooked over gentle heat until liquified, then poured it into a 4-cup silicone Bundt pan and let it set as a traditionally shaped chocolate cherry Jell-O mold. (You can see it hanging out in the background of the photo below.) It wasn’t as whimsical as the shot glasses, but it was still unbelievably delicious. It also proved that if you don’t want to buy a silicone shot glass mold at all (seriously, it really is a silly thing to own), you can pretty much just blend the ingredients together and set it in whatever way sparks joy.
Note: Though I originally wrote this recipe to be enjoyed sans alcohol, I’ve added an option for all you people who like your Jell-O frisky.
Makes 8 shots
- 24 very nice cherries, like Luxardo, Morello, or extra-fancy ones like these
- 1/3 cup brandy (optional)
- 2 cups cherry juice
- 1 (6-oz.) package cherry Jell-O
- 1 1/2 packets powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chopped chocolate (and treat yourself to the good stuff!)
- 1/4 cup sanding sugar, optional
- Whipped cream and additional chopped chocolate, for serving
If you’re using booze, mix the cherries with the brandy in a small jar and let them hang out for a few days to get all boozy. (You can do this as little as 24 hours in advance, but the longer, the better.) Otherwise, use cherries straight from the jar.
Mix the cherry Jell-O and plain gelatin with 3/4 cup cold cherry juice. Heat the remaining 1 1/4 cups cherry juice to boiling, then stir in the gelatin mixture until smooth. Pour into a silicone shot glass mold, then freeze overnight.
Pop the “shot glasses” halfway out of the mold, wrap each tightly with a folded-over piece of plastic wrap, and flip so they stand upright on the counter (see photo above). Working one at a time, fill each individual silicone mold with boiling water, use one hand to grasp the shot glass, and use the other to gently pull out the mold. Move the glasses to a plate, put two brandy-soaked cherries in the bottom of each, then return to the freezer while you make the filling.
Combine the heavy cream and chopped chocolate together in a glass measuring cup, and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate begins to melt. Stir vigorously until smooth. Drain the remaining cherries, set them aside for garnish, and stir the reserved brandy into the chocolate. (If not using brandy, you can add milk, or reserved syrup from the cherry jar.) Refrigerate for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cool to the touch. Pour evenly between the shot glasses—if you’re not enjoying the shots immediately, keep them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to enjoy.
To serve, unwrap each shot glass and dip the bottoms in sanding sugar (optional). Top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a brandied cherry. Consume frozen, cold, or at room temperature.
Throw everything you’ve made into a blender and puree. (You can add some heavy cream until smooth if you like, but it’s not necessary.) Pour into a microwave-safe container and cook in 30-second increments until melted, then pour into a prepared 4-cup Jell-O mold and refrigerate overnight. Serve with additional whipped cream and cherries.
Follow the steps to make the brandied cherries, the cherry gelatin, and chocolate filling as instructed, but instead of going through the process of making them into cordial shots, pulse everything together in a blender until smooth and set in a 4-cup Jell-O mold.