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Mint Julep Jell-O: Cocktails Meet Dessert


Though I consider myself a New Yorker, I was born and raised in the South, and this berry-filled twist on the classic Southern cocktail takes me back to my roots. Like the traditional cocktail often served at the Kentucky Derby, this Jell-O mold is made with sweet mint and bourbon. Tart blackberries balance out the dish and create a surprisingly cool and refreshing treat — perfect for relaxing all day on the front porch of your Southern farmhouse. Or if you’re like me, on the roof of your apartment building.

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Pretzel Peach Pie: The Salty-Sweet Side of Summer

Salty-sweet desserts are all the rage (much to our taste buds’ delight), so I always find it fun coming up with new (and seasonal) ways to experiment with these flavors. To celebrate peak peach season, I’m pairing the stone fruit with pretzels in a pie that has the perfect amount of crunch. In addition to adding texture, the salted pretzels really bring out that sweet peach flavor. My favorite thing about this pie is its layers (peach nectar- and cinnamon-spiked gelatin, tangy cream cheese and those salty, crunchy pretzels), which makes digging into it kind of like unwrapping a delicious dessert present.

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Spiked Watermelon Jell-O — Drink and Dessert in One

When summer rolls around, I always look forward to sinking my teeth into a wedge of watermelon — its sweet juices cooling my throat and dripping down my chin in equal measure. And when it gets super hot outside, I think about those watermelon Italian ices from the ice cream truck or pool snack bar, eaten very carefully with a small wooden spoon. For me, watermelon equals summertime.

So for my next Jell-O recipe, I decided to captured that sweet watermelon flavor and added a tart, adult twist. Made with watermelon cubes, freshly squeezed lime juice and a splash of vodka, this Jell-O is perfect for serving at a backyard pool party or other outdoor affair. The pureed watermelon gives the mold more substantial texture — similar to that of a frozen treat — which just may force some impromptu childhood reminiscing.

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Retro Red, White & Boozy Jell-O Dessert

There’s something about Jell-O — chilled, jiggly gelatin in an array of fruity flavors and colors — that screams summertime. The easy, from-a-box dessert is perfect for hot summer days, transforming from spoonable treat to cool liquid once it hits the tongue. Set the gelatin in some shapely molds, mix in a few surprising ingredients and — voila! You’ve got yourself a perfect warm-weather party dessert with a wow factor.

To kick off my series of posts for Cooking Channel, and to celebrate July 4th, I’ve created a Jell-O mold with an elegant, adult twist (think: Jell-O shot meets dinner party dessert). Strawberries and blueberries are suspended in boozy, effervescent, ginger ale-laced gelatin, and topped with whipped cream for that full red, white and blue effect.

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