Combine gelatin, sugar, baking soda and milk in a heavy 3-quart saucepan.
Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking over
medium heat, without stirring, to a soft ball stage.
Remove from heat.
Add butter and food color paste, if desired.
Cool until mixture is lukewarm.
Beat until mixture loses its gloss.
Quickly stir in cherries and walnuts.
Pour into 8-inch square pan.
When firm, spread or drizzle melted chocolate over the top.