I love chocolate and cherries - I think they are a fantastic combination, but I've never tried my hand at making chocolate covered cherries. It always seemed too time-consuming. But the recipe was calling my name this year and I figured "why not?". Alas, I cannot tell you how they taste yet because they are supposed to sit for a week or two after they are made. I cannot wait to try them out just in time for our family Christmas/Boise State game get together on Saturday. These are a labor of love, I think, because they are very (literally) hands-on. They'd make a lovely gift - you could even put them in individual foil truffle cups to make them extra fancy.
Chocolate Covered Cherries
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups marshmallow creme
1 tsp almond extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 jar (16oz) maraschino cherries, well drained
2 cups (12oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp shortening
In a mixing bowl, creme butter. Add marshmallow creme, salt, extract and sugar. Mix well. Knead into a large ball and chill for 1 hour.
Roll into 1 inch balls and flatten into two inch circles. Wrap circle around cherries, pinch edges and reshape into balls. As you can see, I did the bulk of this on my hand - it was the least sticky place and I could work quickly. I actually flattened the dough in one hand with the heel of my other hand. Speed is good in this step and it's very important that your cherries by as dry as possible. The longer the dough stays out, the harder it becomes to work with. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler (or microwave, but for the time it takes, I think a double boiler is your best choice). Dip cherries chocolate mixture. This actually got pretty hot on my hands, so I think if I make them again I'll wear gloves for a bit of protection.
Place on waxed paper to harden.
Refrigerate in a covered container 1-2 weeks before serving. Yield: about 3 dozen