Oh baby, do I have a sweet one for you today! I’m admittedly not a huge fan of cherries. But my hubs? Cherry flavored treats are at the top of his list. When we were dating, I discovered his (and his dad’s!) love for chocolate cherry cordials – those boxed candies you see everywhere this time of year.
A couple of years ago, I was determined to make him a batch of homemade cherry cordials (I’ve since incorporated them into his 5 Senses Gifts). Like I do when trying most new recipes, I combined different elements from several tried and true recipes to make my own unique twist.
I’ve got to admit, these are absolutely delicious (even I enjoy them!) and my husband now refuses to eat the storebought ones. Ok, that may be a stretch, but he definitely prefers these!
Tips and Tricks for making Cherry Cordials
Honestly, these cherry cordials are pretty straight forward, but here are a few tips and tricks that will give you the best results:
- For an easy way to dry your cherries, simply line a baking sheet with paper towels, spread your cherries out on top, then add another layer of paper towels on top. Run your hands on top, rolling the cherries around between the paper towels. Easy peasy.
- Only take out a handful of frozen cherries at a time. Set up an assembly line – line up your cherries, then place 1 tsp of fondant dough next to each cherry. Roll the fondant in balls. Then cover that set of cherries and place back into the fridge. Repeat until all of your cherry cordials have a fondant coating.
- Also, only take out a handful of fondant wrapped cherries at a time. This will ensure the cherries stay chilled and firm, making them easier to dip in the melted chocolate.
- If your chocolate starts to firm up before you’ve dipped all your cherries, simply put the bowl in the microwave, zap for 15-30 secs at a time and stir well.
- If you want to make your cherry cordials look extra pretty, drizzle some white chocolate on top after dipping.
- You can honestly eat these the same day. These cherry cordials are delicious immediately. If you want the centers to completely liquify, let them sit in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. I typically go 3-5 days for some liquid in the center, and some white fondant left around the outside. Experiment and see what you like best!
- This last step is really important – turn on some tunes! Ha! This is my favorite Christmas playlist right now.
- Here are some pictures of the process along with a video showing what your chocolate consistency should look like:
Chocolate Cherry Cordials Recipe
- 16 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained with juice reserved
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp cherry juice reserved from maraschino cherries
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 package (10-11 oz) chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet for the cherry cordials, but choose the type you like the best. Semisweet provides a nice contrast to the sweet cherries and fondant. Dark chocolate would be amazing!)
- 1/2 tsp shortening for each oz of chocolate (optional, but I usually add)
- Drain cherries (don’t forget to save the juice!), dry them off, lay on a sheet tray, and place in the freezer to chill while you work on your fondant.
- Combine butter, condensed milk, cherry juice, and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly (I like to use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer works well too). Slowly stir in the powdered sugar. You want this mixture to be a smooth dough, so knead with your hands until it comes together if needed. Place the bowl of fondant in the fridge until it firms up a little bit and becomes less sticky. It will be easier to work with. 20-30 minutes should do the trick.
- After your fondant and cherries have chilled, take about 1 tsp of fondant, roll in a ball, then make a divet for the cherry (kind of making a little disk). Place your cherry in the middle, and shape the fondant around the cherry, rolling it around in the palm of your hand to smooth. If your cherry isn’t completely covered, add patches of fondant where needed (see tips above to make this process easier).
- Melt chocolate chips (and shortening if using) in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Stir in between zaps. You want the chocolate liquidy enough to flow smoothly off the back of a fork.
- Dip chilled, fondant wrapped cherries into the chocolate. The easiest method is to stick a toothpick into the center of the cherry, dip and roll in the chocolate, then carefully shake off onto a Silpat or parchment-lined sheet tray. Then use the toothpick to smooth over the small hole left by the toothpick. You can alternatively use a fork to dip the cherries, but I find the toothpick to be much easier and cleaner. Make sure the cherry cordials are completely coated or the filling will leak out once it starts to liquify. Set in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
- This is really important! After the chocolate has a chance to firm up around the cherry cordials, remove the cherries from the fridge and place them in an airtight container. Store them at room temperature until the center is as liquified as you like. I usually go 3-5 days for liquid in the very center, with a little fondant remaining. Leave for 1-2 weeks for completely liquid centers, or enjoy immediately – they’re delicious however you choose!
- To give as a gift, I line a gift box with tissue paper, then place cherry cordials in mini cupcake liners. You can easily stack them in layers in the box with the cupcake wrappers. Wrap the box lid (so you don’t have to turn the box upside down to wrap) and/or simply add a ribbon and gift tag. Enjoy!
Have you ever made candy before? Is there a traditional family treat that it’s just not the holidays without? Let me know in the comments below!
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