Cherry cordial chocolates are the ooey-gooey gift that keeps on giving. But have you ever wondered how the center of those confections get to be so melty and delicious?
In order to transform fresh or maraschino cherries into liquified ones, candy makers use invertase, a digestive enzyme that comes from yeast. When added to sugar, invertase breaks down the sucrose into its two parts, glucose and fructose, creating that liquid center. In boozy cherry cordials, alcohol has a similar breaking-down effect on the cherries.
Traditionally, chocolate cherry cordials are made by wrapping cherries in a sugary fondant — not the cake-decorating kind but a frosting-like version — and then dipping them in tempered chocolate. Alcohol or the liquid or powdered invertase in the fondant slowly works on melting the sugar in the coating and the cherry.
Commercial bakers and candy makers also often use invertase to keep their sweets fresh longer. And though it has a phony-sounding name, invertase is naturally occurring: We have it in our saliva, and bees use it to change nectar into honey.
How To Make Your Own Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cordials
The invertase-fondant-cherry melting process does take a few days, so cherry cordials need to sit a bit after being made. The completed cordials should also be kept out of the fridge until eaten since cooler temperatures slow the melting effects of the invertase. So store any leftover invertase you have on hand in the refrigerator to make it last longer.
Soaking cherries in alcohol and skipping the invertase in your fondant, or using maraschino cherries — which contain small amounts of alcohol — will also give you a gooey cherry center. It’ll just take longer than if you’d used invertase.
When it comes to picking the right alcohol, there are many options in which to soak your plain or candied cherries. Baking Sense’s recipe uses Kirschwasser, or kirsch, a cherry brandy that adds flavor but not much sweetness. Other types of brandy or rum and bourbon also go well with the chocolate pairing.
If you’re trying your hand at making cordials yourself, you’ll want to use real cocoa butter chocolate and temper it for the best taste.
Ann Reardon has a great breakdown video of why you should temper chocolate and how to do it on YouTube. She uses a plastic, microwave-safe bowl to slowly melt real chocolate in the microwave. Tempering allows for the best tasting and structured chocolate. Reardon also explains tabling or seeding your chocolate as another way to melt it.
When it comes to making cherry cordials, you want chocolate for dipping that won’t form air bubbles when cooling. Those air bubbles can cause the liquefying cherry center to leak out!
You only temper real chocolate because chocolate melts don’t have cocoa butter crystals. Tempering avoids completely melting those crystals since it slowly warms the chocolate.
Whether you want to make them yourself or just keep popping them out of a box, you can now consider yourself an expert on the art of making cherry cordials.