My husband is obsessed with chocolate covered cherries so this Valentine’s Day, I thought to make him some from scratch. Sometimes the ones you get in the box just aren’t that good or the filling is too much like frosting and icky sweet. Homemade is always better so I figured the same would hold true for my chocolate cherry cordials.
I decided to do a little experiment and try a few cherry variations. Some maraschinos were soaked in maple smoked bourbon, others in peach brandy and then I used Luxardo cherries and didn’t soak these at all. If you have never tried a Luxardo cherry, they are absolutely to die for. They are very pricey but the rich syrup they’re in makes for a wonderful cocktail ingredient. The only thing was that they don’t have stems so they were a little bit trickier to coat in fondant and chocolate, but I’m sure the end results will be worth the added hassle.
I had never tried to make something like this before and I must tell you, the original recipe did not work at all for me. When I went to go work with the fondant, it was still warm on my granite countertop but it had hardened to almost hard candy consistency! I had to scrape it off the bench and rewarm it in the microwave in order to even be able to work with it. Maybe you’ll have better luck so I’ll keep the instructions as they are written below, but I’ll add in tips in case you encounter what I did. I’m hopeful that even with the intense modifications I had to make, the cherries will still be delicious and the fondant will dissolve into a syrup after 48 hours of chilling.
After reading the comments on the original recipes, some people suggested not chilling on a slab and using your food processor instead. This will save your arms and probably your sanity too (this is why I should have read the comments BEFORE making the recipe!!) I’ll provide those instructions below too and you’ll have to let us know if this works for you.
Homemade Chocolate Cherry Cordials
Adapted from Serious Eats
- 24 cherries – I used a mix of maraschino cherries with stems (definitely get them with stems) and Luxardo cherries
- 3 tablespoons bourbon or liquor of choice (I used maple smoked bourbon with half of the cherries and peach brandy with the other half)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 tablespoons liquid from maraschino cherry jar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Decide if you want to soak cherries in liquor; I did 10 maraschino cherries with stems in 1 ½ tablespoons maple smoked bourbon and 10 maraschino cherries with stems in 1 ½ tablespoons peach brandy. Let cherries soak in small bowl overnight covered with plastic wrap – stir or swirl them around occasionally.
- Place cherries upright on a paper towel lined plate to dry. If you’re using Luxardo cherries as well, take some out of the jar with as little liquid as possible and add these to the plate as well.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, maraschino cherry liquid and corn syrup cooking over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Stop stirring and let cook until the mixture comes to 240° Fahrenheit. As it cooks, periodically brush the sides of the pan with water to remove any crystals that are forming.
- Fondant steps:
- Original recipe instructions: pour syrup onto large slab of marble or a rimmed baking sheet set over a towel. Let the syrup cool until it’s just barely warm, about 25 minutes. Using a bench scraper, manipulate syrup up and over itself continuously for about 15 minutes or until the fondant turns opaque. Continue working the fondant for about 15 minutes more, or until it’s a thick paste. Transfer the fondant to a saucepan over low heat, stirring until it’s just melted then remove from the heat.
- Food processor method: once the syrup comes to 240°, pour into a food processor with the cutting blade on. Wash your thermometer and place it in the syrup – when it cools to 140° F, turn on the processor. The syrup will first turn yellow, then opaque then thicken. This should only take a minute or two. Then transfer to a saucepan over low heat, stirring until it’s just melted then remove from the heat. **This is the method I would suggest going with.
- My experience: I let the fondant syrup cool for 25 minutes on a slab and it was not pliable in the least. It had turned into a slightly warm hard candy that at least I could pry off the slab, but I had to heat it in the microwave in short 5 second bursts to get it to where it was pliable. Even when I did this, I could not easily work the fondant. I tried to work it as long as possible but eventually I just returned it to the saucepan over low heat to melt it.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Holding each cherry by the stem, dip into the fondant to coat, letting any excess drip off and set on the baking sheet. Remelt the fondant if it thickens too much before the cherries are done being dipped. For the Luxardo cherries, save these until all the stemmed cherries are done and coat them using a spoon. Let the fondant dry onto the cherries – about 10 minutes.
- Place chocolate in a double boiler and stir gently until all the chocolate is melted. Dip each fondant covered cherry into the chocolate, covering them completely and letting any excess drip off. Set back on the parchment lined pan and chill for at least 48 hours before serving.