Delicious homemade Chocolate Marzipan Cherries. Perfect for Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, gifting or ‘just because’… Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Optional Nut Free.
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Chocolate Marzipan Cherries… Inspired by Christmas leftovers
I wasn’t sure whether to post my Chocolate Marzipan Cherries on the blog. But then I realised that I may need the ‘recipe’ another time and I’m notoriously bad at remembering how I made stuff unless I write it down. It’s the whole reason Gluten Free Alchemist came to be in the first place! It’s my family recipe book.
These divine little bites of marzipan-wrapped Maraschino Cherries dipped in dark chocolate are to die for. And were inspired by the need to use up Christmas leftovers… Specifically, marzipan from seasonal Christmas Cake Decorating and making gluten free Stollen… And the remains of a jar of Maraschino Cherries that I’d bought to make Cherry Bakewell Cocktails on Christmas Day.
Why I’ve never made them before I have no idea. But they are so good, I will definitely be making them again and again… leftovers or not. And with that realisation, I’ve decided it would be rude not to share my recipe (or rather ‘how to make’ instructions) for Chocolate Marzipan Cherries with you too.
Ingredients needed to make Chocolate Marzipan Cherries
There are just 3 ingredients you need to make Chocolate Marzipan Cherries…
- Preserved Cherries
- Dark Chocolate
They are really that simple!
Do I have to use Maraschino Cherries?
You’ll notice that in the ingredient list above, I state ‘preserved’ cherries. That’s because although I used Maraschino Cherries (it’s what I had), there are plenty of other options when making these balls of deliciousness. Options include:
- Standard candied/glacé cherries – no alcohol. (Why not make your own candied cherries using my Glacé Cherries Recipe? They are way nicer than shop ones)
- Maraschino Cherries (obviously) preserved in Maraschino Liqueur… It’s worth spending a little more for the classiest of cherry marzipan chocolates as they do vary wildly from jar to jar. I used Hotel Starlino Italian Maraschino Cherries which are the best I’ve tasted. But Luxardo Cherries are also excellent. Alternatively, you could make your own.
- An alternative alcohol-preserved cherry, such as Opies Black Cherries with Kirsch (widely available in good supermarkets)… Or cherries preserved in Amaretto or Brandy.
- If (and only if) the cherries are to be eaten within a couple of days… They could also be made using fresh pitted cherries. Although I personally think the enhancement from booze preservation takes these chocolates to better heights. (If making with fresh cherries, be sure to store them in the fridge).
What’s the best marzipan to make Marzipan Chocolate Cherries?
ANY marzipan is perfect for making my chocolate cherries… whether homemade or shop-bought. I use homemade Easy 4-Ingredient Marzipan. To be honest, I haven’t bought marzipan in years… Because using my recipe, it can literally be made in 10 minutes and tastes way better than anything you’ll find in the shops.
If you’re nut-free, I have that covered too… Because I have the most INCREDIBLE nut-free gluten free marzipan on the blog. And with just 5 ingredients, it tastes as good and is as versatile as the standard almond version. Here’s the link: Nut Free Marzipan.
What Chocolate is used to make Chocolate Marzipan Cherries?
Again, this is flexible. But as the chocolate needs to be tempered, I would aim to use dark chocolate that is of better quality. (Don’t worry if ‘tempering’ sounds scary. I have a super-easy method for us non-confectioners!)
Personally, I always use Callebaut chocolate Callets for cooking and baking. I buy them in a big bag on Amazon (which has a great shelf-life) and they work out no more expensive than a reasonable chocolate bar weight for weight. They are gluten free and have no dairy ingredients listed (although do have a ‘may contain milk’ warning).
Whatever you use, make sure the chocolate is appropriately allergen-friendly and check for any hidden allergens or ‘may contain’ warnings.
What equipment do you need to make these chocolates?
There are a few essential basics needed to make chocolates of any kind. But skill is not a prerequisite! As far as equipment goes, you’ll need…
- A heat source (either microwave or hob and saucepan)
- A heat-proof glass (Pyrex) bowl to melt the chocolate.
- A silicone spoon (or very clean (no onion smell) wooden spoon) for stirring the chocolate. I use a Silicone Spoon Spatula which is perfect for stirring and scraping the sides of the bowl at the same time.
- An accurate digital food thermometer (essential!).
- Something to scoop the chocolates from the bowl once dipped… I have a set of Chocolate Decorating Tools, but a fork will suffice. The important thing is that the excess chocolate can drain as it is lifted.
- Some good quality non-stick baking parchment (to cool and set the chocolates once made).
How to make Chocolate Marzipan Cherries
Once you have your 3 ingredients and equipment ready, the process is pretty simple…
- Drain the cherries well and dry them on kitchen paper if they still seem very wet.
- Taken walnut-sized balls of marzipan and use to completely encase the cherries, sealing each well.
- Dip in tempered dark chocolate (see below for instructions and tips).
- Set each of the chocolates on a sheet of baking paper and allow to cool and set at room temperature.
Super-easy ‘tempering’ method for enrobing with dark chocolate
Whether making Marzipan Chocolate Cherries, other Homemade Marzipan Chocolates or dark chocolate shapes for cake decorating, I always use this very simple method for ‘tempering’:
- Weigh 250g chopped dark chocolate (or Callets).
- Place 160g of the weighed chocolate into a Pyrex (heat-proof) bowl.
- Very gently heat the chocolate bowl (either in the microwave (set at low to medium – 10 to 30-second bursts (maximum)), or over a steaming/very gently simmering pan of water).
- When the chocolate reaches a melted temperature of 40 C (104 F), remove from the heat immediately and add the remaining weighed chocolate (90g), gently stirring through until smooth.
- Scoop out any chocolate lumps that won’t melt, or pop back over the steam/in the microwave at a LOW temperature for 5 seconds only and re-stir. Repeat only if necessary. It is essential that the chocolate doesn’t heat up… but it may need a little residual warmth to encourage the last melt.
- Use immediately for dipping and enrobing.
Extra tips for melting the chocolate…
- Always chop the chocolate finely or use Callets/drops for easiest melting.
- Melt chocolate very slowly at a low heat (it must never be rushed). Too hot and the chocolate will burn and ‘seize’ into a solid mess.
- NEVER let melting chocolate come into contact with any moisture… The tiniest drop will also cause the chocolate to ‘seize’ and become unusable.
- When melting chocolate over a pan of simmering water, be sure the water level is BELOW the bowl. It must not touch the base. And the water should only be ‘just simmering’ or steaming.
- Stay patient! Never make chocolates if you’re in a hurry.
- Stir melting/melted chocolate gently. Too vigorous and you risk it separating or ‘seizing’.
- Cool and set the dipped Chocolate Marzipan Cherries at room temperature. If they are placed in the fridge, they are more likely to crack due to the rapid retraction of the cooling, hardening chocolate
How to store Marzipan Cherry Chocolates
Providing Marzipan Cherry Chocolates have been made using preserved cherries, they can be stored at room temperature. Kept in an airtight container, they should last for 2 to 3 weeks.
If made with fresh cherries, they must be stored (once cooled and set) in the fridge and eaten within a couple of days.
Made my Chocolate Marzipan Cherries?
If you make my Chocolate Marzipan Cherries, let me know how you got on. You can leave a comment at the bottom and rate the recipe too (using the ⭐️ button). It would also be fantastic to see your chocolate creations… So if you’d like to share, simply tag me in using either Instagram or Facebook (@glutenfreealchemist).
For lots more amazing recipe inspiration, we also have a wonderful photographed Gluten Free Recipe Index. All our recipes are shared for free and with my love to the gluten free community.
Other delicious homemade sweets you’ll love
Chocolate Marzipan Cherries – 3 Ingredient Recipe
- small sieve
- small bowl
- wooden or silicone spoon
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- chocolate decorating tools (optional) or fork
- 18 Maraschino cherries or cherries preserved in alternative alcohol or glacé cherries.
- 200 g marzipan approx weight. See notes for links to homemade marzipan and nut free marzipan.
- 250 g good quality dark chocolate approx weight. Callets or chopped finely (certified dairy free as required)
Drain the cherries
- Place the cherries in a sieve over a bowl and allow to drain any excess syrup.
- Once drained, pat dry with kitchen paper if there is any remaining excess liquid.
Wrap the cherries in marzipan
- While the cherries are draining, divide the marzipan into walnut-sized balls.
- When the cherries are ready, take a piece of the marzipan and flatten into a disc in the hand.
- Place a cherry in the centre of the disc and wrap the marzipan around it, pinching well to seal.
- Gently roll the marzipan-cherry into an even ball and set aside.
- Repeat the marzipan-wrapping for all the cherries.
Melt and 'temper' the chocolate
- Transfer 160g of the dark chocolate to a heat proof glass bowl ready for melting. It helps to use a deep bowl with a smaller diameter to provide a greater depth of melted chocolate for easy dipping.
- Gently heat the chocolate either in the microwave (set at low to medium – 10 to 30 second bursts (max)), or over a steaming/gently simmering pan of water (Bain Marie).
- When the chocolate reaches a melted temperature of 40 C (104 F) (check with an accurate digital food thermometer), remove from the heat immediately and add the rest of the weighed chocolate (90g), gently stirring through until smooth.
- If there are lumps that won’t melt, either scoop them out, or pop the bowl back over the steam/in the microwave at a LOW temperature for 5 seconds only and re-stir. Repeat only if necessary. The chocolate must not heat up, but may need a little warmth to encourage the last melts!
- Use immediately for dipping and enrobing.
To dip and enrobe the marzipan-cherries in chocolate
- While the chocolate is melting, prepare your tools and lay down a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray ready for dipping and cooling.
- Working quickly and using a suitable implement (chocolate dipping tools/spoon; fork; etc), take each marzipan ball and dip completely in the melted chocolate.
- Lift the chocolate-coated marzipan and allow the majority of excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, before quickly transferring to the baking paper to cool and set (at room temperature).
- Quickly repeat for the next marzipan cherry ball and so on, until all have been dipped.
- Once complete, set the tray of chocolates aside at room temperature and allow to naturally cool and harden. Placing them in the fridge to set is more likely to cause cracking due to the rapid retraction of the cooling, hardening chocolate.
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