Not just any chocolate. Chocolate-covered cherries. Want the secret? I don't care, I'm gonna tell you anyway! And I'm gonna use two and a half boatloads of photos to do it!
If you're not, you can just read this and look at the pretty pictures and tell yourself you'll make it later. I'd keep that promise, though, these are super delish.
You start with maraschino cherries that still have stems. I'm particularly fond of the Tillen Farms maraschino cherries with stems—they don't have any artificial coloring or preservatives. Also, they are freaking delicious and I may or may not eat them plain when no one is looking. And I may or may not make boozy drinks just so that I have an excuse to eat moar cherries.
|I may have started with two dozen cherries.|
Just dry them out on some paper towels, probably for about a half hour.
While the cherries are drying, chop up some good quality chocolate (I prefer Trader Joe's Pound Plus, I do a combo of the 72% and dark chocolate) and plop it into a bowl.
|Dark chocolate is better.|
Then slowly melt those mofos down (using your double-boiler or microwave, your choice) to a slick, thick sauce. Bang the bowl on the counter a couple of times to force out those rebellious bubbles that sneak in when you stir. It should be smooth, glossy, and irresistibly chocolately smelling.
|And don't slam your face into the hot chocolate. It hurts.|
Next, you take some vanilla sugar—you have vanilla sugar, right?
|This doesn't look like bugs or something, right?|
If you don't have it, it's really easy. It just takes a while. When you have leftover vanilla beans stripped of the delicious black caviar within, toss the scraps into a jar. Fill jar with sugar. Replenish with sugar and vanilla scraps as necessary. Boom, baby. There are probably far more helpful guides to vanilla sugar on the interwebs, but my way is for the lazy.
So, you take your somewhat-dryer maraschino cherries and dip them into the vanilla sugar.
|and try not to eat it|
Really roll the cherry around, to ensure that it is completely coated in vanilla sugar.
|try really, really hard.|
Then you dip that flirtatious cherry into the luscious chocolate, ensuring that it is covered all the way up to the stem.
|Dip the cherry, not face or fingers.|
When it's completely coated, just plop that little nugget down on some parchment paper to cool off and harden.
|I can see me in the cherry...|
If the cherries are having some trouble staying upright, lean them against something about two to three inches tall. It's inconvenient to have the cherries completely upright, so I usually aim to have the stems at about a 45 degree angle.
|My little blue bowls are slightly too short, but I like them so much I use them anyway.|
Sometimes the stem falls off completely and you are left with a horrible stemless mess. Do not despair. These are the ones you get to save for secret eating, I mean testing, later.
|Plus, they usually have more chocolate on them.|
Eventually, the vanilla sugar is going to start falling off the cherries and build up in the chocolate. It will look kinda gross.
It's totally fine. If you want a completely smooth look, melt some more chocolate. My experience has been that no one notices it, so I just keep on truckin'. If you want new chocolate, but feel guilty wasting the sugary chocolate, I highly suggest making mendiants. They're pretty easy, basically just dried fruits and nuts jammed into chocolate piles. (If you're a pro you probably care about making sure it's the specifically correct dried fruits and nuts, but I like to use whatever is on hand.)
|And since it has fruit, you can pretend it's healthy.|
And that is really it! They are pretty easy to make, just messy. They make a great Valentine's Day gift for someone you care about, and you can toss in some chocolate-covered strawberries for funsies, if you feel like it!
|And the mendiants, since they're there or whatever.|
The bonus is that you win love forever, or something like that. I'm not really sure; my source is kinda biased.
|I have no idea why he'd be biased, though.|
The end. Go eat some chocolate.