I think there are two camps out there when it comes to chocolate covered cherries: the lovers and the haters. Personally, I love them. I love the fact that if you've got yourself $.99 on December 27th, you can get yourself a big ol’ box of chocolate covered cherries. Cheap AND sweet. How can that be bad?
This next DIY tutorial is how to make your own and make them WAY better than the kind you can get at Walgreens after Christmas. WAY better. This recipe comes from my friend Chicago Lori (not to be confused with Charlotte Laurie or Baltimore Laurie). Lori’s mom taught her and then Lori taught me how to make these suckers back when I lived in Chicago, like 800 years ago. I’ve been making them ever since. I usually skip a year when I make them because I will be 100% honest here: they are a pain in the ass. Not hard, it just takes a little practice and a little patience.
I generally break the process up into two days: first I make the dough and prep the cherries, the next day I cover them all in chocolate. You can totally do them all in one day, I was just a kitchen-fiend this weekend (four batches of cookies and the cherries) and needed to break it up.
So let’s get started, eh?
1/3 cup butter
2 cups marshmallow fluff (annoyingly, it’s like one container plus a smidge of a second)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
36 cherries (annoyingly again, this is like one large jar plus a smidge of another)
2 12-oz. bags of chocolate (baker’s choice of semi-sweet or dark)
Several cookie sheets
- When you measure out the fluff, spray your measuring cup and spatula with non-stick spray first. You can thank me later.
- Drain your cherries early, the drier they are, the easier they are to work with.
- Cream the butter using an electric mixer.
- Beat in marshmallow fluff, salt and vanilla extract.
- Add powdered sugar gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time), mixing well after each addition.
- Liberally dust your counter with powdered sugar.
- Turn out the sugar dough and knead, adding in more sugar if the mixture is too sticky (it will be) until it forms a nice firm dough.
- Refrigerate 1 hour (I like to use a metal bowl here to retain the cold when I take it in and out of the frig)
These next steps are how I do this. I’m sure you can modify based on what works for you.
- Wrap each cherry in the sugar dough, making sure they are fully covered.(See photos/steps below)
- Place on a plastic lined cookie sheet.
Roll the dough into a walnut sized ball and made a depression in it with your thumb. Drop the cherry in the depression and stretch the dough gently around it, like a wonton or an empanada, keeping extra air out. Pinch the seams closed and then roll into a ball again.
Helpful Hint: The key to doing this is COLD DOUGH. The more you handle the dough, the stickier and suckier this step gets. I generally keep the dough in the frig, grab a chunk and cover, go back to the frig, grab a chunk and cover. Repeat. Repeat again. You get it, right?
- Melt the chocolate in either a double boiler or in a bowl in the microwave (here are some easy steps if you’re not familiar with doing this). I like to use a double boiler.
- Dip cherry in melted chocolate and place on plastic lined cookie sheet.
Helpful Hint: This is where things gets tricky and take some practice. The first couple of chocolate covered cherries will look a hot mess. FEAR NOT. These taste just as good as the pretty ones. Once again, the key is COLD DOUGH and working with a little speed. Once you dip the cherries in the warm chocolate, it will start to make the sugar dough soft and melty. You gotta get them covered before they get too melty. To do this, drop the ball into the chocolate and immediately pick it up with a small spoon and twist it in the chocolate to get it covered. I’ll use another spoon to cover any spots I’ve missed and to transfer to the plastic lined cookie sheet. DO NOT use a skewer to try to accomplish this. If you puncture the dough, all I can say is this: CHERRY GOO IS A FUCKING HOT MESS.
Also, read this about tempering chocolate and keeping water away from it and all that. It sounds harder than it really is.
- Let the cherries rest and cool at room temperature before putting them in the frig to harden completely.
These aren’t as shiny as they should be, but fuck it. They taste AH-mazing.
Helpful Hint: You don’t want to “shock” the chocolate by immediately putting the cherries into the frig. This can turn the chocolate grainy and discolor them. Boo.
You can keep these in the frig after they harden. Or not. I have no idea how long they will keep outside of the fridge, at least a week or two. I’ve never had them last that long, so I can't really say.
Wrap them up and give them to your friends and family. They will totally be impressed (even the people who say they don’t like chocolate covered cherries) and love you forever. Promise.