These wee confections are the favourite treat of both my brother Ando and my father-in-law Papa John so finding a recipe on the internet was a small step towards making a really cool home-made Christmas present for the both of them. Thanks to Veronica at Recipe Rhapsody for the idea.
These are pretty easy but they are quite time-consuming and you have to be vigilant about your chocolate coating. You can make your cordials more alcoholic by soaking your cherries overnight in kirsch or amaretto or other liqueur but I prefer my chocolates to be teetotallers.
You will need about 2 10oz jars maraschino cherries in syrup (about 30-40 cherries), which you will need to drain (make sure to reserve some of the cherry syrup while you’re at it, a couple tablespoons’ worth just to be on the safe side). Plop the drained cherries on a paper towel and pat them dry.
Stir in a further 1 1/4 cups icing sugar. You will end up with a nice pale pink dough. If the dough sticks to your fingers too much you can add more icing sugar. You need it to stick to itself but not to you.
Lay out a sheet of waxed paper and take a pinch (about 1-2 teaspoons) of your pink dough (fondant) in your hand. Roll it into a ball and then clap your hands together to make a flattened patty. Plop a cherry in the centre and pinch the dough all around the cherry.
Roll the cherry and fondant between your palms to create a nice sphere and set on the waxed paper. Repeat with the rest of the fondant and cherries. I found I had to make extra fondant to do all my cherries, but that’s fine. Chill your fondant cherries in the freezer (overnight is good) while you melt your chocolate.
You can store the chocolates in the refrigerator until they are set, but you will want to store them elsewhere so that they can liquefy like they are supposed to (this takes about two weeks). Once they are ready, feel free to enjoy!
I think next time I would dip the cherries and put them on a wire rack (to avoid that unfortunate puddle at the bottom) and then, when dry, I would just dip them in their entirety again. I would probably also be less vigilant in patting my cherries dry, as I think they would liquefy better if they had some liquid in them to begin with.