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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

When The Universe Speaks

Every year at Christmas I declare I am going to make chocolate covered cherries like Mom did every Christmas. It was a yearly thing when I was growing up and involved the entire family. Ok it was really a private declaration, but I do tell myself I will, and every year I get busy and don't get around to it util Christmas Eve and then I just don't do it because it is a messy process and who wants a mess then?

This morning I got a phone call at 7 and it was TheHub letting me know he had walked off for work  with my keys in his suit pocket??? He works on the other side of town and even though he said he would bring them back to me later in the day, I know how he works and something always comes up that requires his attention. I figured he would not be here before mid-day at best (but I honestly was not expecting him at all)

If I was going to be stuck at home I figured it was as good of a time as any to get a couple of Christmas goodies baked, then got hit with a lightning bolt idea. "You have all morning and the ingredients. Make the blooming chocolate covered cherries"

Small jar maraschino cherries, drained
 (I prefer the stemmed ones)

1/2 cup butter, softened (I have used margarine in the past)
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon milk (cream or almond milk work as well)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the butter then add the confectioners sugar. Beat well with a mixer or strong arm it with a wooden spoon. I don't care which method you use and the end result is the same. I tend to use a wooden spoon only because I like to have the easiest clean up possible, plus I can be delusional and pretend I am burning enough calories while stirring to offset a finished cherry. Add the milk and vanilla and stir to make a thick buttercream. (Almost the consistency of play dough)








This is where the mess begins. Take an amount of the paste about twice the size of your cherries and roll it into a ball, then flatten it into a patty about the size of a chocolate covered mint. The heat from your hands will cause the paste to soften so work quickly.

















Place the cherry in the center and kind of pinch it to cover as much of the cherry as you can.



















Then roll it into a ball, leaving the stem sticking out of the top of the ball. Place them on a plate but make sure they do not touch. When they are all covered pop them in the refrigerator.



Melt unsweetened*  (Yes, I wrote that correctly) chocolate in a double boiler, or if you are like me put a small coffee mug in a pan of water and put the chocolate in it. This is an imprecise amount. I start with about 3 ounces of unsweetened squares. I use Baker's because that is what I find in the stores regularly. I am sure you can find much better, but since I am just using it for dipping these, the Baker's is perfectly fine. I add a little butter to the chocolate to make it set a little better. My mom used to use paraffin but I try to refrain from ingesting petroleum products. You can use shortening instead of butter but I don't use it so it is something I do not keep.  (The last time I bought any, it stayed in the pantry so long it was rancid)

Now we find the reason I prefer stemmed cherries. I hold the stem and dunk them in the melted chocolate. let the excess drip back into my dipping mug and set them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. That's right! I got on my high horse about not ingesting petroleum products but will use waxed paper. I suppose I could butter parchment paper to create my own, but that is just a step I am not willing to take.

When all have had a chocolate bath and are resting  I stick the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for them to set. When the chocolate is firm I take (peel) them off the waxed paper and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

                                                                      The finished product!



   And because I am a selfless human, I sacrificed and bit into one so y'all could see the interior.
        (Also because of the sacrifice and my aversion to wasting food, I HAD to eat it)

And as long as I am dipping and messy I might as well go ahead and dip the pretzels I found in the pantry along with a package of white chocolate bits. 

26 comments:

  1. I love maraschino cherries....thanks for sharing the recipe, they look amazing

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    1. They are really good but you have to be sure to eat them with some of the filling. The unsweetened chocolate with the super sweet buttercream offset each other and makes a nearly perfect bite.

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  2. They look great. Colour me impressed.
    This year I have made my usual myriad of boozy Christmas cakes for family and friends. I have also made a gluten/lactose/refined sugar free chocolate brownie for a friend. Which was well out of my comfort zone. Shortbread to go, and then I am DONE making Christmas treats.
    Turkey breast for himself and a bathtub full of fruit salad for me yet to go.

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    1. I am impressed you are almost finished. Boozy treats sound pretty darn good right now!

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    2. Those cakes are very boozy. We describe them as the cake you have when you are having a drink.

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  3. Ooh! Chocolate covered cherries! And homemade chocolate covered cherries, at that! I've only had the boxed pre-made ones, but, I am drooling over yours!

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    1. They are very different from the boxed ones but I do love them. I had to bury them in the back of the auxiliary fridge in the laundry room.

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  4. Very nice! If you like maraschino cherries...which I don't. But your comment that you would declare you would make your mom's recipe reminds of my desire to make fudge. Which I've never done because using a candy thermometer is beyond my life skills. :)

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    1. I am not sure if I am going to make fudge today or not, but I usually make chocolate, peanut butter, and praline fudge each Christmas. I scoff at thermometers. You really don't have to use one. Just cook it until a drop of the fudge creates a soft ball in cold water

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    2. Anne is right. I never have used a candy thermometer.

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  5. They're beautiful and they look delicious. I used to make chocolate-covered strawberries (much easier) and chocolate cups to hold a little ice cream, strawberries, or some other treat. For the chocolate cups, take small paper cups and spray the inside with PAM. Pour in melted chocolate and shift the cup around so the chocolate doesn't settle in one place. Put them in the freezer. When the chocolate is hard, peel away the cup and you have a chocolate cup. I think I used semisweet chocolate chips.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I make a delicious chocolate mousse. I need to make your chocolate cups and put the mousse in it.

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    2. Those look delicious!I make a great toffee that you don't have to stir- you do need a candy thermometer though. I've had the same one for over 20 years and use it maybe 3 times a year but it slides right in my 'gadget' drawer. Recipe is melt 2 sticks butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 Tbl corn syrup and 2 Tbls water in a heavy pan over medium high heat. Insert candy thermometer and cook 10-12 minutes until temperature reaches 300. DO NOT STIR. Remove from heat and add 1 cup chopped nuts. Spread onto prepared greased jelly roll pan {15x10x1). I then drop chocolate chips over the top and spread or you can just melt chocolate and spread over top. Once it firms up, you can cut or break into pieces. My sister now makes this every year and gives to her boss- very easy to make.

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    3. That sounds delicious! I own a candy thermometer but never use it for fudge. Is 300 a hard crack?

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  6. I need to try these. I only like Cella because there is no vanilla cream. But, this may be different. I do not like cherries but I choke the Cella ones down and go back for more.

    I kept Crisco/shortening in the refrigerator until it was rancid. I tried buying the sticks and it worked out better since I don't have so much. They were sticks or little containers, forgot which. These look good.

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    1. These are very different from the traditional packaged cherries.

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  7. Add me to the club who does not like maraschino cherries. But the twist of adding the layer of dough around the outside is quite interesting. Now I'm thinking about what else I could cover with this method.

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  8. Thanking you for the nudge--read your post and took youngest to the kitchen to make turtles and peanut butter cups. Certainly nothing as spectacular as your cherries, but we had a blast, and the candies turned out well. The turtles are a cinch--the recipe comes off of the back of the Rollo's package. I buy these at 75% off at Rite Aid after Christmas, and tuck them in the freezer. The peanut butter cups are a bit more involved. I use an old Taste of Home recipe, but we use the stovetop to melt our chocolate and peanut butter mixture, NOT the microwave as directed. Youngest even gave his snort of derision while reading the directions. (We have yet to put a microwave in this kitchen!)
    Merry Christmas. Sorry I missed the card exchange. This year seemed to get away from me.

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    1. Glad you had fun with your candy making!
      I know Christmas is Dec 25 every year but this year I am so far behind it is not funny. Hope you have a great one too.

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  9. Really nice! I've never made these, and now I see the reason why -- it's a bit of work, isn't it. But SO worth it! Thanks. And Happy Holidays!

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    1. It is a tad messy but really good. Now I just wonder if it will be another 5 years before I make them again?

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  10. Here is clueless Sam. How do they keep the stems on and get the pit out? they are really a feast for the eyes-so pretty, and I can imagine the deliciousness. Thanks for sharing Anne, and hope you got out of the house eventually.

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  11. The cherries have no pits. I let the people who bottle them do the magic.

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