Sweet juicy berry paired with a hint of black pepper is always a winning combo...add vodka and the fact that we're talking about gelatin-based shooters into the mix, and you've got one heck of a party on your hands (or at least a seriously delicious reason to throw one).
Black Pepper Strawberries-and-Cream Gelly Shots
Strawberry Layer:Cooking spray12 ounces fresh hulled strawberries1/3 cup sugar2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper2 (1/4-ounce) packets unflavored gelatin3/4 cup vodka1/4 cup strawberry liquor*
Vanilla Cream Layer:1 cup half-and-half1/4 cup sugar2 tablespoons vodka1 vanilla bean, split and scraped1 (1/4-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatinFresh strawberry slices (optional)
- Lightly coat 32 mini muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
- To make strawberry layer, add strawberries to a blender; process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing with back of a spoon, collecting juice in a liquid measuring cup (you should have about 1 cup juice). Combine strawberry juice, sugar, lemon juice, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over juice mixture; allow to stand and soften 1 minute. Increase heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, until gelatin and sugar dissolve completely.
- Remove pan from heat; stir in vodka and strawberry liqueur. Pour mixture evenly into 32 muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon per cup). Place pan in refrigerator; refrigerate 30 to 35 minutes.
- To make cream layer, combine half-and-half, sugar, vodka, vanilla seeds, and pod in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pod; discard. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over liquid; allow to stand and soften 1 minute. Increase heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar and gelatin dissolve completely. Set aside to cool 3 minutes. Pour cream mixture evenly over strawberry mixture in cups. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Run a sharp paring knife around the edges of cups to loosen jello. Place jelly roll pan on top of each muffin pan; carefully invert jello shots onto pan. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices, if desired.
*If you have trouble finding strawberry liqueur, Chambord (raspberry liqueur, readily available in many package stores) is a great substitute.