Food Gift Idea: Chocolate Covered Cherries

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Chocolate covered cherries are so easy, they’re basically an introduction to candy making.  No stove required.  They are fancy, yet quite simple to make.

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Of all the things that I create in the kitchen, making candy is probably my favorite thing.  It’s also the thing I do the least often.  Many people are a little nervous about making candy, and understandably so.  Your chocolate can seize at the slightest drop of water, your caramel can go from golden brown to smoking black in an instant.  And don’t get me started on grainy ganache! 

But these chocolate covered cherries are like an easy dip into candy making.  No stove required.  They are fancy, yet quite simple.  The perfect something sweet to give your loved ones. The hardest part? Waiting a week for the cherry to soften the dough.

What do you need to make chocolate covered cherries:

  • 1 jar maraschino cherries-with stems-they’re easier to dip and easier to eat. Plus the contrast of the red cherry stem with the milk chocolate is so pretty. You can use ones without the stem if you prefer.
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar-we’re not going to bake this dough (or fondant as it’s called in candy making terms) so we want to use powdered sugar so it’s not gritty
  • 4 tablespoons butter-at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup-to make our dough more elastic.
  • 2-2 1/2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice-for flavor and a little bit of pink color
  • 1 bag milk chocolate Candy Melts or your favorite melting chocolate. Need a refresher on how to melt chocolate? Check out this post on how to melt chocolate in the microwave.

How to make chocolate covered cherries

  1. Drain cherries, reserving liquid, and pat dry with a paper towel.  In a large bowl beat together butter, sugar and corn syrup.  Add in cherry juice 1 tablespoon at a time until a smooth dough forms.
  2. Divide dough into the same number of portions as the number of cherries you have.  Wrap the dough around the cherries and roll into a smooth ball.
  3. In a large, microwave safe bowl melt the Candy Melts according to package directions.  I found the candy melts an acceptable consistency, however if the candy melts seem to thick for dipping, I sometimes melt a teaspoon of vegetable shortening in with the candy melts to thin it out a bit.  Take the dough wrapped cherries and dip them in the chocolate.  Place on waxed paper to dry. 
  4. Once dry, put into a sealed container for about a week.  It takes about a week for the dough to liquefy around the cherry.  Enjoy!

Can I use chocolate chips to dip?

No. Why? Candy melts and other melting chocolate do not have to be tempered. They have vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter and are designed to harden on their own.

Using chocolate chips or regular chocolate instead will leave you with a soft, greasy finished product that will have to remain refrigerated. If you’re looking for it in the store, melting chocolate is sometimes called compound chocolate.

Do chocolate covered cherries need to be refrigerated?

No they do not. The cherries are preserved and shelf stable and the candy surrounding them is shelf stable. You should be able to keep chocolate covered cherries in an airtight container at room temperature for 6-8 weeks.

Why don’t you need to refrigerate them? Because products with a high sugar content don’t grow bacteria like products without a high sugar content. And chocolate covered cherries are very sweet indeed!

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Resting tme 7 days

Ingredients

  • 1 jar maraschino cherries with stems
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered suga
  • 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2-2 1/2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 bag milk chocolate Wilton Candy Melts

Instructions

  • Drain cherries, reserving liquid, and pat dry with a paper towel.  In a large bowl beat together butter, sugar and corn syrup.  Add in cherry juice 1 tablespoon at a time until a smooth dough forms.
  • Divide dough into the same number of portions as the number of cherries you have.  Wrap the dough around the cherries.
  • In a large, microwave safe bowl melt the Candy Melts according to package directions.  I found the candy melts an acceptable consistency, however if the candy melts seem to thick for dipping, I sometimes melt a teaspoon of vegetable shortening in with the candy melts to thin it out a bit. 
  • Take the dough wrapped cherries and dip them in the chocolate.  Place on waxed paper to dry.  Once dry, put into a sealed container for about a week.  It takes about a week for the dough to liquefy around the cherry.  Enjoy!

Notes

slightly adapted from The Field Guide to Candy

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Sources:

The Field Guide To Candy