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Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer

December 14th, 2008

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.

Brandied Cherries
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?

13 Comments to “Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer”
  1. N. on December 14, 2008 at 8:14 am

    I’m famous for my vanilla cupcakes. The recipe came from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and I follow it to the letter. But since it uses a bunch of different ingredients and is fairly time intensive I don’t make them that often and most people don’t even want to bother. The really are amazing though with a simple buttercream frosting- yum!

    Reply to N.'s comment

  2. Judy on December 14, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Drool….
    Oh, what am I famous for- actually, my lasagna- homemade whole wheat noodles, spinach and 5 different cheeses.

    Reply to Judy's comment

  3. Susan/Wild Yeast on December 14, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Wow! I never thought of making chocolate-covered cherries at home. Each like a little jewel waiting to be discovered. Such a wonderful holiday treat!

    Reply to Susan/Wild Yeast's comment

  4. Susy on December 14, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Vanilla cupcakes sound delicious, Mr Chiots would sure like those.

    The lasagna sounds good as well. I make my own homemade noodles (not whole wheat though, I’ll have to give that a try).

    I must say Susan, homemade chocolate covered cherries are the best, so much better than store bought (like bread I suppose, always better made fresh at home).

    Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Joe on December 14, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Mmm…those cherries look awesome and tasty!!! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply to Joe's comment

  6. kristin on December 14, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Biscuits. The easy baking powder kind. I’m not a baker, but I do make really good biscuits. And I think everyone is overly impressed with them because most people don’t bother making biscuits.

    Reply to kristin's comment

  7. Susy on December 14, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    I like biscuits, I don’t make them very often, but they are tasty with some honey & butter! You’re right most people Kristin, are probably used to those canned ones in the grocery store.

    Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Lee on December 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Ay caramba me muero por esos cherries. I’m drooling.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  9. Susy on December 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Pues claro, son muy deliciosas estas cerezas (bet you didn’t know I was fluent in Spanish, I was born and grew up in Colombia, South America).

    Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Jesse on December 15, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    What a gorgeous bread!

    Reply to Jesse's comment

  11. Nick on December 17, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I’m famous for being one of those people coming out of the woodwork to demand more cherries!! (5 hour away woodwork too!) Those little things are seriously little drops of heaven!

    Reply to Nick's comment

  12. Frederika Mirtshe on December 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Hey!. I am going to check it, since I saw a comment in another site regarding \”ding a Little Christmas Cheer at Chiot’s Run\”. Someone related to dog shaped chocolates. Thanks anyway.

    Reply to Frederika Mirtshe's comment

  13. Gearing Up for Christmas Shopping? on November 24, 2009 at 4:15 am

    [...] Chiot’s Run is making beautiful seeded bread and stunning chocolate covered cherries. [...]

    Reply to Gearing Up for Christmas Shopping?'s comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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