Homemade Chocolate-Covered Cherries

Chocolate-covered maraschino cherries
Elizabeth LaRau
  • Total: 24 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 24 hrs
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Resting Time: 72 hrs
  • Servings: 20 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
245 Calories
12g Fat
34g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 245
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 2g
Calcium 23mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chocolate-covered cherries are a classic candy recipe. Juicy cherries, sweet fondant, and dark chocolate combine in this confection. To get the traditional liquid center in these cherries, you will need two things: an ingredient called invertase, and time—it takes about a week for the filling to fully liquify.

Invertase is an enzyme that liquefies sugar. It can be omitted without affecting the taste, but your centers will not liquefy. As an invertase alternative, soaking the cherries in an alcohol like brandy before making the candy will also produce a liquid center after a week or so.

Ingredients

  • 40 maraschino cherries (with stems, about one 20-oz. jar)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoon reserved cherry liquid (or cherry liqueur)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid invertase
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate candy melts
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. The day before you want to make the chocolate-covered cherries, drain the cherries from their soaking liquid and reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid. Pat the cherries dry between sheets of paper towel and let them sit on a wire rack overnight to dry.

  3. The next day, prepare the fondant filling. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, corn syrup, reserved cherry liquid, almond extract, and liquid invertase, and beat until combined. It is okay if the butter separates at this point—it will all come together soon.

  4. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar to the bowl, then mix on low speed until the candy comes together in a ball around the mixing paddle.

  5. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated, and check the texture of the candy: it should be quite soft, but not so sticky that you cannot handle it.

  6. If necessary, add a little more powdered sugar to make it workable, but remember: the softer it is, to begin with, the sooner it will liquefy!

  7. Use a small candy scoop or a teaspoon to form a quarter-sized ball of fondant, and roll it in your hands to get it round. Flatten the ball between your palms, and place a cherry in the center of the fondant.

  8. Bring together the outer edges and pinch the fondant together at the top where the stem extends from the cherry. Make sure the cherry is covered completely, then roll it between your palms to smooth out any seams or wrinkles and get it round.

  9. Place the cherry on a waxed paper-covered baking sheet, then repeat with the remaining cherries until they are all covered with fondant. Refrigerate the tray until the fondant feels firm, at least 30 minutes.

  10. While you are waiting for the fondant to firm up, melt the chocolate candy melts over medium heat in a double boiler.

  11. When the fondant is firm, begin the dipping process. Holding a cherry by the stem, dip just the bottom in the chocolate, coming about 1/4-inch up the sides of the cherry. Place the cherry back on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining cherries.

  12. By the time you have finished dipping the bottom of the last cherry, the first cherry is probably set and ready to be fully dipped. (If not, refrigerate the tray briefly to set the chocolate bottoms.) Hold a cherry by the stem and drag it through the chocolate, coating it completely. Be sure that there is absolutely no fondant showing through anywhere. It's better to coat a little of the stem with chocolate, as well, just to be sure liquid fondant doesn't bubble through the top where the stem extends from the chocolate. When it is fully covered with chocolate, let the excess drip over the bowl, then gently drag the bottom edge over the lip of the bowl to remove any excess. Replace the cherry on the baking sheet and repeat until all of the cherries are covered with chocolate.

  13. Set cherries aside at room temperature for 2 to 3 days to allow the centers to begin to liquify. Cold temperatures will slow the working of the invertase. Start testing the liquid centers of the cherries after 2 to 3 days, and continue to monitor their progress via the occasional taste test until the centers are completely liquid.

Variations

  • You can find candy melts in a variety of colors. These cherries can also be dipped in white chocolate candy melts or colored. To make colored candy melts with white chocolate melts or bark, melt as directed on the package. Add food coloring—preferably gel food coloring—to the melted chocolate until you have the desired shade.
  • Rather than using chocolate candy melts, you can use regular semi-sweet chocolate. However, you will either need to temper the chocolate or turn it into homemade dipping chocolate, by melting 3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons of vegetable shortening in a double boiler over very warm water. Stir to blend. Make sure you do not get even a drop of water or liquid in the chocolate. Then dip the cherry candy as instructed. By either tempering the regular chocolate or adding shortening, it will ensure that the chocolate coating stays firm, rather than sticky, even at room temperature.