Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Buttercream Cherries.

Remember when I teased you all a few weeks back about something I'd made that wouldn't be ready for another two weeks? 

Something involving lots and lots of melted chocolate... and Christmas? 

Chocolate-covered cherries! 
Bite-size chocolate bombs filled with juicy maraschino cherries and a sugary-sweet buttercream center. Really it's a wonder any of these made it to the "officially done" two-week mark. I haven't been sneaking these every night for two weeks. I have patience. Totally


To me, chocolate-covered cherries are right up there with candy canes and thumbprint cookies when it comes to Christmas. Every year, my dad gets a shiny gold box tied with a red ribbon, filled with fancy handmade milk and dark chocolate cherry cordials which, he doesn't know, we're gonna end up sharing. We just are.
Relax. I only steal the dark chocolate ones.

(And he totally knows. Why else would he hide them in his closet? At the very top? Hello. I'm 5'4.)
But this year, that's not happening. 

For the same reason I won't be shopping at Borders for awesometown stocking stuffers. 

Or picking out fancy, expensive, hand-blown Christmas tree ornaments from the little hardware store downtown. 

In fact, it's the very same reason I spend all day plastering the Internet with chocolate and sugar instead of working a respectable job the requires me to get out of pajama pants. 

The economy. 
It's okay... I cringed too. That word is practically profanity to me now.

My favorite little family-owned candy store closed! I don't even want to think about where I'm gonna find chocolate-covered honeycombs now.

And while I like those $1 boxes of cherry cordials that all the stores sell in December, they're really only good for mindlessly shoving in your face on Christmas Eve, while you blast the Nsync Christmas CD (real life.) and finish wrapping all those awkward-shaped Christmas presents that you kind of hoped would wrap themselves. They're good? <--- question mark. But they're just not the same.

So I made my own!
Hi. I love you.

They're rich and creamy and taste just like the ones I've been paying $15 a dozen for all these years. And bonus! They look super fancy, if you're the Christmas-party-throwing type.

Even though they take a little bit of time to make- between the buttercream and letting it chill, rolling it into dozens of cherry-sized balls, flattening it, wrapping the cherries, dipping them in chocolate, and, oh yeah, waiting two weeks for the centers to get perfectly soft and gooey- they're so worth it. So. Worth. It.

And, besides the whole patience thing, super easy! The centers may not be as creamy as the store-bought kind, but they taste a thousand times better. Three guesses what I'll be doing come December. 
Alright. Back to pumpkins and apple pies. 

Chocolate-Covered Buttercream Cherries

60 maraschino cherries with stems (About  2 10-ounce jars)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Pat cherries dry with paper towels; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt; mix well. Turn onto counter and knead until smooth. Don't worry if it seems crumbly at first; it'll come together after a few kneads. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll dough into 1/2 inch balls (about the size of a cherry); flatten each into a 2-inch circle with your hand. Wrap each circle around a cherry and lightly roll in hands to cover. Place cherries with stems up on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 1 hour.

 In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chip and shortening; stir until smooth. Holding onto the stem, dip each cherry into the chocolate; set on waxed paper. Refrigerate until hardened. Store in a covered container and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks before serving.

Best if served at room temperature.

Source: Taste of Home Best Holiday Recipes, 2008.