Better than Store Bought Chocolate Covered Cherries

Prep time: 3 Hr 30 Min  Serves: 25-30 cherries

Ingredients:

3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c margarine or butter
1/4 c condensed sweetened milk (not evaporated)
4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 pkg high end chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark)
1 jar(s) maraschino cherries, drained and dried, reserve the juice.

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Directions:

1. Start by making a fondant – simply combine the first five ingredients until smooth and not sticky. Chill in fridge for an hour.
2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread cherries out in a single layer – stems on, if possible. Freeze for an hour.
3. When ready to make your chocolate covered cherries, remove fondant and cherries from the fridge/freezer. Since it takes a bit of time to make these, I remove only a few cherries and a bit of fondant at a time so that they don’t get too warm and sticky.
4. Wrap each cherry in 1-2 teaspoons of the fondant, forming a tight ball. Return cherries to tray and freeze again for an hour.
5. Use either the microwave or a double-boiler to melt your chocolate. Thin it down with enough reserved cherry juice to get the proper consistency for dipping.
6. Removing a few fondant-wrapped cherries from the freezer at a time, dip them in the chocolate and coat completely. Since my cherries didn’t have stems, I did follow the tip of using a toothpick to aid in the dipping process. Let the excess chocolate drip off, then put the cherry on wax paper to rest. Dab a bit of extra chocolate on top to cover any hole left from the toothpick.
7. When done, place dipped cherries in the fridge to set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge as well. If you let them be for a few days, the center with be nice and liquidy… but they’re good right away too!

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