Good gift for Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, heck ANY DAY!
They may take a bit of time, but are really super easy. The two hours is about what it takes me to fondant dip and chocolate dip 75 cherries.
I originally made these for a guy I work with that loves them, and he was willing to play guinea pig on the various liquors I decided to soak the cherries in.
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Grab your preferred bottle of liquor, drain your maraschino cherries, and put them into a glass jar that has room for one to two cups of liquor.
Since I can I have the 32 Oz mason jars handy.
Put cherries into jar and cover with your liquor.
Put into the fridge and let soak any where from 24 hours to a year. (yep some people soak them that long)
Sorry, didn't get a picture of this. I make my own fondant, this recipe is a basic nougat which you can add different flavorings to and dip into chocolate, but that is another how to.
Melt your 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, add your can of sweetened condensed milk, add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (this helps the sugar crystals reform smaller crystals resulting in a smoother fondant)then work in your two pounds of powdered sugar.
You end up with a nice ball of fondant. It should be pliable, but not super sticky, if it is, add a bit more powdered sugar. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 24 hours if you are patient enough.
This is enough fondant to make lots of cherries, or some cherries and other goodies.
Ok, it has been a week, look at how nice and red the liquor got!! Drain your cherries.
DON'T THROW AWAY THE LIQUOR, WE WILL USE SOME OF IT!
If I am going to make more of the same type of cherries, I will add a bit more liquor to the jar before adding the next batch of cherries.
Now while your cherries dry, you break off a piece of your fondant, if you are doing about 24 cherries, the piece of fondant should be a bit larger than your fist. You can always melt more, but I always end up melting more than I need. Better safe than sorry.
There are commercial fondants you can buy and add the liquor to, or you can make your own.
The fondant will liquefy over time, or you can help it liquefy quicker if you add a drop or two of invertase to the fondant when you melt it down to dip. Once you add the invertase you have to use the fondant, because it will break down into a syrup.
Dig out your double boiler, or put a metal bowl on top of a pan with simmering water, not boiling, keeping the pan on low heat, put your fondant into the top of your double boiler, break it up and it will melt faster.
Add three to four tablespoons of the reserved liquor you soaked your cherries it. It will help melt the fondant and make it a pretty pink.
You want the fondant melted enough to dip your cherries in.
If take a cherry and dip it, if it coats the cherry and you can see a bit through the fondant you are in business. Sometimes I rush it and it is a bit too thick. But I am impatient somedays.
If you are using invertase, now is the time to put it in, stir well.
DO NOT DIP YOUR CHERRIES ALL THE WAY TO THE STEM IN FONDANT. IF YOU DO YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEAL THE CHERRY TO KEEP THE JUICE FROM LEAKING OUT.
Now that all you cherries are covered in fondant, put them in the fridge and let them set for a good 20 minutes or more.
Now break up your chocolate, at least 24 ounces. again I always tend to melt more than I need, but if I don't use it all I just retemper it and use it next time.
Use simmering NOT boiling water in your double boilers, and gently melt the chocolate, depending on what type you choose, will depends on the tolerance to heat.
White chocolate is very delicate when it comes to heat, then milk, then bittersweet.
I use all three types. People like variety.
Yes, I temper my chocolate, if you want to temper yours, this is a good resource:
Tempered chocolate gives you that nice satiny sheen.
Hold by the stem and dip your cherry.
Make sure there is no moisture on the cherry or stem, if there is, your chocolate will seize and it will be good for making sauce and that is about it.
To keep your chocolate at a good melted temperature, take a flat heat pad and place the pan with the chocolate in it on the heat pad set on low to medium, depending on how hot your pad gets. Be sure to dry off the bottom of the pan first.
Completely submerge your cherry. I like to dip to at least 1/2 way up the stem, to make sure it doesn't leak the juice out when the fondant starts turning liquid.
Again, make sure you dip half way up the stem.
Hold the cherry and let it drip off, gently scrap the bottom of the cherry along the edge of the pan, or the bottom of a spoon.
Don't scrape too much off or you will have no bottom on your cherry.
Keep dipping until you are done. Now ideally you let these sit from 24 hours to a week, but I've "tested" them as soon as they were solid.
But letting them age, give you that nice liquid center.
Ok, it is really easy to do, but can take up a bit of time, but so worth it when you see them charging $25 a pound for them, and they aren't even soaked in liquor!!