I loved to cook long before I loved to garden (not sure why I didn’t start a cooking blog). I’m not a huge baker other than breads, probably because I don’t really like cookies and cakes. I make them when requested for gatherings, but my real love is cooking savory dishes and baking beautiful breads.
This is 98.4% Whole Grain Seeded Sourdough from Wild Yeast.
Since I don’t like to make cookies I leave those to my mom this time of year. She does a great job, making the perfect gingerbread people soft and chewy just like I like them and crispy but soft butter cookies with icing. She also makes the most wonderful spritz cookies in all shapes, colors, flavors and sizes. Since my mom is the cookie person of the family, I specialize in a little something different. My contribution to the holiday sweet table is chocolate. Delicious chocolate covered cherries to be exact. I’ve been making these for many years and my request list keeps getting longer every year. Friends come out of the woodwork around Christmas and ask when I’m going to be making them. It’s always nice to have a special thing around the holidays.
Usually I start making my cherries right after Thanksgiving. This year however, we’ve been super busy so I started a week late. I made my first batch on Sunday evening and then another on Monday. These were brandied cherries, so I soak the cherries in brandy for a while in the back of the fridge. Then I make brandy flavored fondant to wrap them in, and then they’re enrobed in delicious semi-sweet chocolate.
On Thursday I made a batch of regular almond flavored cherries (these are my favorite). This year I’ve been playing with my recipe a little, I’m using local organic butter and I’m trying to cut the corn syrup out of the recipe. It was a success! I must say, tempering chocolate isn’t for the faint of heart. If you want to make these quickly, just buy dipping chocolate from the store. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference. But if you’re a chocolate lover like me, a little semi-sweet or dark real chocolate is the way to go. Once you learn the trick to tempering it’s not too bad (it just takes longer).
Here’s the recipe in case anyone wants to make some.
CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES
50 maraschino cherries, well drained
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 pounds dipping chocolate, white or dark
Combine butter, corn syrup and salt; blend until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix well. Knead until smooth and shiny; wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain cherries. Shape a marble-size piece of fondant around each cherry; place on wax paper-lined tray. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Melt chocolate over hot water, stirring constantly. Dip cherries and place on wax paper-lined tray (I find those tiny muffin cups to be perfect). Store in covered container in a cool, dark place for 10 to 14 days to fully ripen and to attain the “liquidy” inside.
Soak cherries in brandy for at least 2 days. Omit almond extract and add 1/2 teaspoon brandy flavoring instead. Follow recipe as stated above.
So what are you famous for? Cookies, chocolates, breads?Filed under Holidays | Comments (13)