Cherry Chocolates

Cherry Chocolates
1 recipe fondant (see below)
3 bottles (10 oz) Maraschino cherries (about 90 cherries)
1 1/2 pounds dipping chocolate (approximate)

Break fondant into smaller pieces, place in top of double boiler and slowly melt fondant, stirring occasionally. Drain cherries well. Using a fork, dip cherries in melted fondant and place on wax paper to cool and harden. (Note: if fondant becomes too thick or stiff to dip cherries, thin it by stirring in a little cherry juice.)

Break chocolate into pieces and place in top of double boiler. Bottom of double boiler should have approximately 1 inch of water (be sure water does not touch bottom of top pan). Do not allow water to boil. Slowly melt chocolate. When all but a few lumps of chocolate remain, remove pan from heat and stir until all chocolate is melted.

Dip fondant covered cherries in chocolate, place on wax paper to cool. Allow cherries to stand at room temperature for 1-2 weeks to allow fondant to dissolve or “melt” inside the chocolate shell.

3 cups sugar
1 cup half and half, milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons butter
1/2-1 teaspoon almond extract, optional

Combine sugar, cream or water, and corn syrup in heavy sauce pan. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Place a lid on pan for a few minutes to “wash” sugar crystals down from sides of pan. Remove lid, place candy thermometer in boiling syrup. Without stirring, cook to softball stage (between 230-238 degrees F) or until a small amount of candy dropped into cold water may be shaped with fingers into a soft ball and picked up.

Pour out on a buttered marble slab or large baking pan with sides. Do not scrape candy from pan. Pour almond extract on candy and allow to partially cool. Beat fondant until it sets up. Scrape fondant from marble or pan surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in air tight container and allow to ‘ripen’ at room temperature for 24-72 hours.

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