Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DIY: Chocolate Covered Cherries

Maybe I’m in a state of denial about how quickly January is slipping through my fingers, but I was shocked to see garish red Valentine’s Day hearts in the window of the local office supply store the other day. Already?

Cherries covered in milk chocolate, made by hand at Storey!

But, when you consider that Christmas candy begins appearing in some places before Halloween is over, it makes sense that Valentine’s Day is on people’s minds: we’re only a few short weeks out.

We melted our milk and dark chocolate in separate glass measuring cups in the microwave. 
Yesterday in the office, Ilona gave us a hands-on lesson in making chocolate covered cherries. 

As it turns out, making up a batch of homemade chocolate candies is no more complicated or time consuming than baking up a batch of cookies and the results would make a great treat for any chocolate lover.

After filling the molds with melted chocolate and letting it set slightly, we poured out the centers onto sheets of wax paper. Then, we remelted the excess and used it to put the bottom seal on our candies.
You don’t need a lot of special equipment: some candy molds and fondant sugar were the most specialized things we used. Also: you don’t want to skimp when it comes to using quality chocolate. Ilona found hers, both dark and milk, as well as the candy molds and fondant sugar, at Confectionery House in Troy, NY.

When Ilona made her first batch of chocolates over the Christmas holiday, she used cherries from her glorious North Star cherry tree and soaked them first in rum. Yum. The cherries in the center of our chocolates yesterday were canned (and not Maraschino, though you could certainly use them if you prefer). 

Drizzling the cherries with a mixture of fondant sugar, cherry juice, and a splash of rum extract. Don't fill the cups too full or (as we learned the hard way), the filling will spill out, and you might not get a good bottom seal.
Also minus rum yesterday, we improvised with a splash of rum extract stirred into the cherry juice-fondant sugar mixture. Brandy more your cup of tea? That works, too (and you’ll find instructions in the recipe from Confectionery House).

The more the merrier (and the faster it goes)....
We didn’t clean the edges of our chocolates, so when they came out of the mold, they had some lacy edges. That didn’t stop us from sampling them…repeatedly...but you could create clean edges by using a spatula to scrape the excess chocolate off the mold before the candy sets.

Ilona turns out a batch of finished, fully set candies.
I confess I’ve never been a fan of the chocolate covered cherries I’ve had in the past, but those have never been homemade. Even without those boozy cherries from Ilona’s tree, yesterday’s yield was quite tasty. 

A lonely last chocolate awaits its fate.

Get the recipe:

Chocolate Covered Cherries | Recipes | Confectionery House

Photographs by Mars Vilaubi.

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