Makes about 40.
Homemade chocolate covered cherries make an excellent gift for Christmas and people will be so impressed when you tell them you made them from non-processed ingredients. Unlike the store-bought, highly processed version.
20 ounces or 40 maraschino cherries or sweet cherries with the stems on.
About 15 ounces of Fondant (or make your own, recipe follows)
6 ounces milk chocolate chips or a chocolate candy bar
1/2 tablespoon butter
Clean cherries if using fresh sweet ones. Drain them or maraschino cherries very well. Dry them on paper towels. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, foil or parchment paper
If using pre-packaged fondant, wrap the fondant around the cherries and allow a few minutes for it to dry. They need to be dry to the touch. Or dip them in your homemade fondant from the recipe below and let them dry.
Meanwhile melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over warm water or in a saucepan over very low heat. Let cool to room temp or it will melt your fondant coating. Taking the fondant cherries by the stems, dip in chocolate, let drip over the bowl and place on wax paper. Let stand till the coating is firm. Stored in the refrigerator they will keep for up to 1 month. The longer you keep them the more the mixture around the cherries will soften and liquefy.
Tips: If you use pre-packaged fondant to wrap the cherries, take about ¾ teaspoon of fondant, flatten it with your fingers till thin enough to wrap around the cherry. Just wrap it up making sure that you are around the stem if using long stemmed cherries. Then they have to dry till the fondant is dry to the touch. This only takes a few minutes with fondant.
2 cups Sucant or Rapadura evaporated cane juice.
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/4 cups water
Combine cane juice or Stevia, honey and water in a heavy saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until sweeteners dissolve and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook without stirring to 240º on a candy thermometer or soft ball stage.
Pour syrup onto a large platter dampened with water. Do not scrape the pan because you don’t want the crystals that form on the sides. Cool to 110º or until lukewarm to the touch.
Beat mixture with a broad bladed butter knife or spatula until it is white and creamy by scraping and lifting the mixture with the knife or spatula from the edge toward the center to fold it back on itself occasionally.
Knead fondant this way until it softens and is smooth but do not over-knead it.
Refrigerate for 2 days to ripen. (Now you know why most people buy the prepackaged fondant. It’s a lot less work, but usually made with refined white sugars and packaged in plastic.)