I didn’t make as many gifts as I would have liked this Christmas, but I am going to dedicate a large portion of 2012 in making my own gifts for next year. However, I did have difficulty finding gifts for my mom this year but I remembered she used to always have a box of Queen Anne’s cherries in her fridgerator. I decided to give making my own a try this year. I found a recipe that I thought was at my culinary skill level and got busy.
First the recipe; courtesy of veronicascornucopia.com
2 (10-oz) jars maraschino cherries (you’ll need 40-50)
¼ c butter, softened
2 ¼ c powdered sugar
1 T reserved cherry juice
½ t vanilla extract
¼ t almond extract
1 (12-oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cake paraffin wax, shredded OR 2 T vegetable shortening
*I replaced the chocolate chips and shortening with Baker’s Chocolate.
First step is to get the cherries out of the juice. I drained it with a colander and saved the juice. (Do not rinse) I plan on using the cherry juice for something else. Possibly cherry infused vodka or brandy for another gift. I placed the cherries then on a paper towel to rid the excess juice. This helped when wrapping the fondant around them.
In the meantime, cream the butter with 1 cup of the powdered sugar, then add 1 T reserved cherry juice, the extracts, and the remaining sugar; stir until mixed. You may have to knead it with your hands as it will be firm like dough. I ended up adding about another tablespoon of non-butter (the kind in the tubs) to give it a dough like consistency as I kneaded it.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Take small pieces of fondant, about 1 or 2 teaspoons, and press them flat on your palm. Wrap around the cherries, pinching off the excess before rolling them smooth and placing on the wax paper. Repeat until all cherries are covered with the fondant. Set in the freezer until well chilled. I did this step a day in advance and proceeded with the dipping the following day, so they were frozen hard.
Melt the Baker’s chocolate until smooth. Dip each cherry in the chocolate using a fork, drawing fork across rim of pan to remove excess coating. Drop coated cherry upside down onto waxed paper, swirling a thread of coating from fork across top for a decorative touch. Once all are coated, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set; check bottoms and reseal with additional melted coating, if necessary. You want every part of the fondant covered or it will start to leak out as it liquefies. Store in a cool place (do not refrigerate) for 2 weeks to form cordial.
I tried mine about 5-6 days after making them and they were not ready yet. Make sure you give them enough time to liquefy.
Place in a nice tin with tissue paper. No other wrapping needed. You don’t want to use wrapping paper that will just get thrown away, do you? This year I ended up doing all of my wrapping with reused wrapping paper from previous years, bags or tins like for these delicious treats. Everything can be reused or repurposed. Hope you all had a Merry “Green” Christmas!