Yield: 40 candies
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar, or as needed
- 2 tablespoons tart cherry puree (from about 1/4 cup fresh or frozen Montmorency tart cherries)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
- 1 pound finely chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate candy coating, for dipping
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, corn syrup, and salt until smooth. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well until incorporated.
- Add 2 tablespoons cherry puree and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to be sure no white filling remains. Mix in vanilla and food coloring, if desired (note that while the food coloring is optional, your filling will be more of a pale mauve without it).
- Add remaining powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until filling is thick and pastelike. Depending on the temperature/weather/alignment of the planets, you may only need 3 cups of powdered sugar, or up to 4. Less sugar will result in a softer filling; more sugar will be easier to dip but also quite a bit sweeter, so use your judgement to find a balance.
- Dump filling out onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
- Unwrap filling and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Sandwich between two layers of plastic wrap and roll into a 1/2-inch thick sheet, flipping over part way through the process and dusting with more powdered sugar as needed so filling doesn’t stick too much.
- Cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds using a cookie cutter and arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Alternatively, instead of rolling/cutting the candy centers, you can also simply roll into 1-inch balls, or even press into silicone candy molds for fancier shapes.
- Chill shaped filling for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible. If it is really warm in your kitchen you may even want to pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes just prior to dipping.
- Melt your chocolate or chocolate candy coating. If using straight chocolate, try to melt this very gently. I love my little chocolate melter, but you can also use a double boiler or the microwave, heating your chocolate in short bursts at half power. If you can melt the chocolate without allowing the temperature to exceed 88 degrees F, it should hold its temper and produce a nice shiny, snappy shell. Otherwise, your candies will need to be refrigerated for the chocolate to stay set.
- Remove half of the candy centers from the fridge/freezer. Using a fork or dipping tool, dip each center in the melted chocolate until fully coated (try not to let it sit too long in the warm chocolate or it will start to soften). Tap off excess chocolate, then transfer to a new parchment-lined baking sheet, using a toothpick if necessary to help remove the candy from the fork. Repeat with remaining candy centers, keeping centers chilled until you are ready to work with them.
- Refrigerate dipped chocolates for 10 to 15 minutes or until set. If you have leftover chocolate, feel free to transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag and pipe squiggles on top of your candies for a decorative touch.
- Candies will keep in an airtight container (refrigerated if it’s too warm or your chocolate isn’t properly tempered) for up to 1 week.
Recipe courtesy of Lindsay Landis, LoveandOliveOil.com, via Montmorency US Tart Cherries