The Queen Anne® Chocolate company describes these candies on their website as “The perfect combination of sophisticated dark chocolate and premium cherries for an ideal Dark Chocolate Covered Cordial Cherry.” My grandmother LOVED these and thus these were a perfect Christmas gift for her every year. I abhor Maraschino cherries anyway. (What’s the deal with brined artificially colored fruit?) I especially don’t like biting into a chocolate and having it squirt liquid into my mouth. I like the idea of it even less after reading this article on chocolate covered cherries. Apparently the cherries are coated in an enzyme then covered in fondant before being covered in chocolate. This enzyme over time breaks down the sugar in the fondant into sugar syrup. So…if you ate a chocolate covered cherry that hadn’t been aged properly, you’d end up with no liquid inside. I might like that better. I like Chukar® Cherries’ chocolate covered cherries; they consist of a dried cherry dipped in chocolate.
I started off my cupcakes by making dark chocolate ganache for the icing. I used 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate which I melted into 1/2 cup of heavy cream
Instead of fondant, I thought I would use a cherry white chocolate ganache, which I made using a little cherry schnapps, 8 ounces of white chocolate and 1/4 cup heavy cream. I ended up with the wrong proportions because the ganache never really thickened up.
Since cherries aren’t in season, I used cherries canned in heavy syrup. They were a little soft. Frozen might have been firmer, but I didn’t want a bunch of leftover cherries. As it was, I ended up with only 3 cherries left over. If I had to do it over again…I would make these during cherry season!
I found a new Cook’s Illustrated chocolate cupcake recipe that uses BREAD flour instead of AP or cake flour. Their logic (confirmed through extensive testing) is that since cupcakes are eaten out of hand, you don’t want them to be as tender as cake. Too tender results in crumbs which results in a mess. Bread flour has a higher gluten content which would make them less tender, but would hold the cakes together better. I didn’t want to invest in a whole bag of bread flour, so I used regular whole wheat flour. I will use the recipe again and will use bread flour next time. I used a tiny cookie scoop to put the batter in the mini cupcake liners, then dipped a cherry into the ganache and placed it on top. I cooked the cupcakes for 15 minutes.
After the cakes were cooled, I dipped them in softened ganache. They weren’t the most beautiful cupcakes in the world, but I think they turned out very tasty! The cake and ganache weren’t overly sweet and the cherry inside made them very moist.