The Kitchn: Making chocolate-covered cherries was easier than I anticipated. And you can do it too!
Growing up in suburbia meant that mall culture was a huge part of my life. I spent my childhood walking up and down the mall, stopping at my favorite shops along the way: the bookstore, Charlotte Russe, Orange Julius, and, most notably, See’s Candies. The chocolatey scent always spilled out of the store and permeated into the corridor, drawing me in and bringing me right up to the chocolate case.
I had many loves at See’s Candies, but my greatest love was the chocolate-covered cherries. I rarely had my own money back then, but when I did, I would happily buy two or three. The clerk would wrap up the confections in a small white paper bag, and I would eat them in two bites, making sure to savor every part. The sweet maraschino cherry wrapped in fondant and covered in a melty chocolate shell was the perfect treat.
To this day, chocolate-covered cherries (also called cherry cordials) remain my top confection — so I set out on a quest to make them. I was surprised to find that it was much easier than I anticipated. Now, I can have chocolate-covered cherries whenever I want, with just a handful of ingredients and a little bit of time. And you can too!
What do chocolate-covered cherries consist of?
Chocolate-covered cherries are made up of three components: cherries, fondant and chocolate. Here’s everything you need to know about each.
- The cherries: You’ll have the best results using stem-on maraschino cherries. The stem acts as a handle, making it easy to dip or pour the chocolate over. If you do use a stemless variety (such as Luxardo), I recommend using chopsticks to move the cherry around in the chocolate. It’s also worth noting that not every jar of cherries contains the same amount. This recipe is written for 38 cherries, which may require you to buy two jars.
- The fondant: The fondant is a thick paste made of powdered sugar, softened butter, cherry syrup from the jar, and a little bit of almond extract, which enhances the cherry flavors. The fondant should be firm enough to roll into small balls and wrap around the cherries, but soft enough to be malleable. This is the component that requires the most effort and time, as you’ll need to let the mixture firm before assembling the cherries.
- The chocolate: Everybody has their own favorite type of chocolate, and you can use whatever you prefer! This component is simple: All you have to do is melt it. After the fondant firms on the cherries in the fridge, you’ll dip the cherries into the chocolate and set them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Return the cherries to the fridge, where the chocolate will cool and firm.
3 tips for wrapping the cherries in fondant
The trickiest step in this recipe is wrapping the fondant around the cherries. These tips will set you up for success.
1. Pat the cherries dry: Patting the cherries dry with paper towels will help the fondant stick.
2. Spray your hands with cooking spray: This will prevent the fondant from sticking to your hands.
3. Use parchment paper: To help mold the fondant around the cherry, I like to place it on a parchment paper square, flatten into an oval, place the cherry on top, then use the paper to bring the fondant up and over the cherry.
Whether you want to treat yourself, treat someone else, or treat a crowd, this recipe is for you. It’s a great recipe to bring to a party, or attach to classroom Valentines.
Makes 26 to 38 cherries
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 (13.5-ounce) jar stem-on maraschino cherries in syrup
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Cooking spray
- 12 ounces chocolate or chocolate chips, any kind except unsweetened
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Place 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, transfer 2 tablespoons cherry syrup from 1 (13.5-ounce) jar maraschino cherries to the bowl of butter. Drain the cherries, then transfer them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Gently pat the cherries completely dry with more paper towels.
2. Make the fondant: Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to the bowl of softened butter. Fold and mix together with a rubber spatula until a thick paste that can hold its shape forms. Fold the paste a few more times until evenly combined. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cut out 2 (6-inch) square sheets of wax or parchment paper. Line a second baking sheet with more wax or parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
3. Remove the fondant from the refrigerator. Spray your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
4. Working quickly, wrap 1 cherry at a time: Scoop out 1 teaspoon of the fondant and roll into a ball with your hands. Place on the paper square and press and flatten with a greased fingertip into a rough 2-inch-long oval. Place 1 cherry in the center of the oval. Use the paper to bring up one section of the fondant up and over the cherry. Peel back the paper to release the fondant onto the cherry. Repeat folding up sections of the fondant over the cherry until it is completely covered, gently pressing and molding as needed. Place the wrapped cherry on the baking sheet.
5. Repeat wrapping the remaining cherries, spraying your hands or the paper square with more cooking spray as needed to keep the fondant from sticking. If the fondant gets too soft to work with, refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up again. If the paper square gets too sticky and messy, use the second square. After all the cherries are wrapped, refrigerate them until the fondant is firm, about 20 minutes.
6. Coarsely chop 12 ounces chocolate (no need to chop chocolate chips). Place the chocolate and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a dry, medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is mostly melted, about 90 seconds total. Stir until the residual heat melts the remaining chocolate.
7. Remove the wrapped cherries from the refrigerator. Dip the cherries in the chocolate 1 at a time: Pick up a cherry by the stem with one hand and hold a spoon in the other hand. Dip the cherry into the chocolate and spoon more chocolate over the stem end until the cherry is completely coated. Pick the cherry up out of the chocolate and let the excess chocolate drip off. Return to the baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.
Recipe notes: Store chocolate covered cherries in the refrigerator in an airtight container for one week. Do not freeze.
(Amelia Rampe is a studio food editor for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to email@example.com.)