Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcake Recipe-Part I
I'll introduce the CCCC concept in a later post (not that chocolate and cherries need much in the way of introduction), but I do want to preface with this post with an explanation. I love to sit down with an girlie movie and snarf an entire jar of the tiny, fluorescent maraschino cherries all by myself, just like anyone else. Even better if I can dip them in Dove Chocolate sauce, and spray whipped cream into my mouth at the same time. (See later recipe for a "deconstructed ice cream sundae." Kidding.) However, certain culinary creations may require a little...something more. I'm thinking about cherry blossom cocktails common to D.C. this time of year, or a big, dense, chewy chocolate cupcake slathered in chocolate ganache--even your famous buttermilk pancake recipe may need something more substantial.
Homemade maraschino cherries give you that substantial size and color, while still offering a flavor that is reminiscent of your childhood (um, or booze, if you love Manhattans but were never into banana splits). And they are super easy to make!
Homemade Maraschino Cherries
8 oz. whole frozen sweet black cherries
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Red food coloring
1/4 cup brandy
Thaw cherries in a medium-sized bowl of hot water. Drain and return to the bowl. Stir sugar, water, lemon juice, almond extract, and 2 drops food coloring in a small sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. If kiddos will be partaking, add the brandy at this time as well. Simmer for approx. 10 minutes. Allow the liquid to cool slightly, and pour over the cherries. If you haven't already done so, add the brandy at this time. Once the mixture is completely cool, place it in an airtight container and store overnight in the fridge.NOTE: A typical maraschino cherry is brined, which helps preserve the fruit. Particularly if you simmer off the alcohol in the brandy, you should treat these as any other prepared fruit in your fridge and use or throw it out after a week or so. The alcohol will help preserve the cherries otherwise, but unless you use a glass jar with a rubber gasket, use or throw out after 2 to 2 1/2 weeks.
You can certainly find a more authentic recipe, using fresh fruit and maraschino liquor and involving brining and canning--I was just eager to get to Part II. :)