1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup Red Hots candies
1 large (6-ounce) package JELL-O Lemon or Cherry-flavored gelatin*
2 cups applesauce (either purchased or homemade), sweetened or unsweetened
1 cup chilled 7-Up or Lemon-Lime Soda (do not use flat soda - you want the carbonation)
Whipped Cream Topping (see recipe below)
Extra Red Hots for garnish (optional)
* You could use Lemon or Cherry/Raspberry JELL-O, if desired. I personally prefer the lemon flavor as it compliments the cinnamon-apple flavors better. The cherry/raspberry JELL-O will make a deeper red color, but the fruit flavors seem to overpower the cinnamon. If you desire a deeper red color, you can add a few drops of red food coloring.
In a small pan, bring water to a boil. Add the Red Hots candies. Reduce heat to low and stir until the candies are dissolved and become cinnamon water. Add the JELL-O, stirring until dissolved, approximately 2 minutes.
Stir in the applesauce and chilled 7-Up into the JELL-O mixture.
Pour the gelatin mixture into a glass serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight to gel up. Final product will be light set gelatin (not a hard set gelatin)
Prepare Whipped Cream Topping.
About an hour before ready to serve, spoon the Whipped Cream mixture (see instructions below) over the gelatin until spread evenly all over the Jell-O. Sprinkle with the extra Red Hots or any garnishments of your choice. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until serving time. Always store gelatin dishes in a covered container to avoid the formation of a thick rubbery skin on the surface.
Variation Idea: Add half of the prepared JELL-O mixture to a glass serving dish and chill for 4 hours to soft set. After 4 hours, spread the top with approximately 4 ounces whipped topping mix. Gently spoon the remainder of the JELL-O mixture on top and refrigerate.
Makes many servings.
Whipped Cream Topping Recipe:
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature and chopped into blocks
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup whipping cream
In large bowl, combine cream cheese, marshmallows, and whipping cream, stirring together until marshmallows are submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in refrigerator until the above Jell-O mixture is set. The topping can also be made right before you are ready to serve JELL-O.
Remove the whipping cream mixture from the refrigerator. With electric mixer on medium speed. beat together the mixture until stiff peaks form. It is OK for the mixture to be lumpy in appearance because of marshmallows. Do not over whip.