Homemade Chocolate Syrup

For most people who know me, they know that I have a big sweet tooth.  I was craving jelly beans this weekend but I knew that I was going to be making some chocolate goodies so I had to stay away.  The Dairy Queen is also my addiction.  I honestly believe that I am addicted to sugar.  For one or two weeks this spring I decided to go on a low sugar diet.  I didn’t want anything with refined sugar like cupcakes, doughnuts or candy.  I was very good during this time frame, but I still just craved the goodies.  I knew that if I was to break down I would go on a chocolate/candy binge. This was right before vacation, so let me tell you it didn’t last long.  I haven’t tried the low sugar diet since then, but I do know that it will require lots of determination.

One of the chocolate treats I made this weekend was chocolate syrup.  There is nothing like a good chocolate drizzle on your favorite fruit, or ice cream.  This was quite easy for the amount that it made.  And pretty cheap.  This is also a great gift for all of your foodie friends.

Ingredients

1 + 1/2 C water

1 C sugar

1/3 C cocoa powder

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Directions

1.  In a saucepan on medium low heat, add cocoa powder to water and whisk together.

2.  Stir in sugar and mix until dissolved.

3.  Add chocolate chips and salt and stir until chocolate chips are melted.  Add in vanilla extract.

4.  Bring mixture to low boil and stir frequently.  Boil down for approximately 30 minutes.

5.  Store in the fridge.

If you store it in a cute glass container like in the photo, you have an instant gift.  Just attach a gift card to the metal clasp and you are done.

DIY Cherry Cordials

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!