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Halloween Lychee Eyeball Jell-o Shots

Time 20 minutes
Yields Makes about 18
Halloween Lychee Eyeball Jell-o Shots
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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Lychee eyes with blueberry pupils are suspended in a vodka gelée shot. Unlike classic college Jell-O shots soft enough to slurp, these are firm enough to pick up. Feeling that slick jiggly texture while staring into an eye you’re about to eat? It’ll definitely freak you out ... in the best possible way.

This makes enough cocktail mix for 24 mini muffin cups, but a can of lychees comes with 16 to 18 pieces of fruit. You can either open another can to make more eyeballs or fill the cups with just the liquid. If you do the latter, you can slurp them as shots or use them to decorate the platter as indicated below. A shot of cranberry juice, pomegranate juice or blood orange juice will tint them a plasma-blood color.

1

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup and pour the lychees into it. Shake the sieve gently to drain all the liquid. You should have about 1 cup liquid. If not, add enough water to make 1 cup and stir well.

2

Pour ¼ cup lychee syrup into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the liquid. It should moisten evenly then soften as it sits for 5 minutes. Microwave the remaining lychee syrup until bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the softened gelatin into the bubbling syrup and stir until it dissolves. Stir in the vodka until well mixed.

3

Arrange the lychees in mini muffin cups so that the open sides are upright. Pour the syrup into the lychee cavities and around the lychees to fill each muffin cup nearly to the rim. Place a blueberry in each lychee cavity, stem side down, to form the pupils of the eyeballs. Pour the remaining lychee liquid into muffin cups. Refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

4

When ready to serve, slide an offset spatula or thin butter knife around the edge of a muffin cup and pop out the Jell-O shot. Arrange on a serving platter. Pop out the shots without lychees and break them into bits with your fingers to scatter around the shots.

5

If the jam is seeded or chunky, press through a fine-mesh sieve. Put the strained jam into a piping bag or resealable plastic zip-top bag. Snip a very small hole in one corner. Pipe the jam around the berries on the lychees to make the eyes look bloodshot. Pipe any remaining jam around the platter to resemble drips of blood.

Make Ahead:
The Jell-O shots can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.