This one is dedicated to Papa Kompik, a recipe for dairy-free and egg-free chocolate covered cherries, ready to share. Queen Anne chocolate covered cherries were the traditional Christmas gift for my Papa Kompik. The Queen Anne factory used to be located nearby and used local cherries. Seeing the boxes stacked high in the city stores and then reading “Hart, MI” on the label was pretty much as close to fame as a kid could get.
At $1 a box, it was within a piggybank budget, and the best part was knowing he’d share. Papa’s usual routine was to unwrap the box in surprise, open the cellophane with his pocket knife, eat one himself and pass the box around. Queen Anne has since been acquired by a Chicago company, and Papa passed away a few years ago. I created this recipe for the first Christmas without him, knowing the tradition would continue and wanting my kids to join in. I’m sure he would approve of “Queen Meg” and the return of the local cherry cordial factory. Merry Christmas!
Queen Meg’s Chocolate Covered Cherries
- 2 jars of maraschino cherries (with or without stems, depending on how you dip)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 T. shortening, dairy-free margarine or coconut oil
- 3 T. corn syrup
- 2–3 T. maraschino cherry juice
- 1 pound safe chocolate chips (I used Divvies)
- 1–2 T. shortening
- Making the Fondant
- In a mixing bowl, blend the shortening and the corn syrup.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- Add some cherry juice as needed to make a soft dough.
- You want this fondant to be pretty soft, but not liquid or sticky.
- Chill fondant in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Making the Cherry Centers
- Drain the cherries, and set on paper towels.
- Pull off a blob of fondant, about the size of a big gumball. Flatten it out
inyour hands into a disk and wrap the cherry in it. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect in shape, you can fix that later. If your fondant is really soft, you’ll have great cordials later, but it can be hard to wrap the cherries, don’t despair.
- Place on waxed paper. Once all the cherries are done, place in the freezer for a few hours, or a few weeks.
- If your cherries are kinda funny looking after freezing, just remove them, roll around in your hands to reshape and freeze again.
- Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave slowly, add more shortening if the chocolate seems too thick to dip.
- You’ve got a few options as far as how to dip. For cherries with the
stemyou can just use the stem as your dipper. Without the stems, you can use two plastic forks with the middle tines broken out as your dipping tools.
- Allow to dry on waxed paper. You may need to go back and patch any holes with melted chocolate.
- Let these guys sit for a week or so to let the centers liquefy a bit. I found this cool stuff, invertase, at sugarcraft.com. It’s an enzyme that breaks down solid sugar to liquid sugar, I add about 1/2 teaspoon to the fondant and the centers become nice and liquidy after a few days.