Thursday, January 2, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Covered Cherries

With the holidays just past, paleo desserts have been on my mind.  I miss chocolate covered cherries, but don't dare eat the commercial ones. Processed sugars make my joints hurt something awful!  I modified a traditional recipe but have not really figured out precise measurements yet for the paleo version - just did my typical "throw stuff together". 

Original version: 60 maraschino cherries, 3 Tbsp of butter, 3 Tbsp of light corn syrup, 2c of powdered sugar, and 1 lb dipping chocolate.

My version: a package of frozen dark sweet cherries (approx. 30 cherries), and what I'm guessing amounted to 1/4 c (unrefined) coconut oil, 1/4 c maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 c arrowroot powder, 1/4 tsp xanthan gum, and a 10 oz package of Enjoy Life Chocolate Mega Chunks.  I'm pretty good at eyeballing measurements. :)

I melted the coconut oil with the maple syrup and vanilla extract, then added a little arrowroot powder not only to thicken, but to give that slightly powdery texture that powdered sugar would give.  It blended up nicely and I thought about putting it in the fridge to cool so it would be easier to apply to the cherries . . . but I am impatient.  So I added xanthan gum.  Now, I did not mean to use that much xanthan gum - the bag spilled.  It gelled the mixture a little more (okay, a lot more) than I wanted!  I will note that some of the coconut oil, I estimate about 1 Tbsp, refused to mix in no matter how much I stirred.  Actually it wasn't a bad thing that the mixture gelled that much - it was fairly easy to apply it to the cherries, which were still frozen. With the coldness of the cherries, the coconut oil hardened back up quickly and the mixture stayed on the cherries nicely.  Then I melted the chocolate and dipped the coated cherries, and placed them in mini-muffin paper cups.  The chocolate began to cool and the frozen cherries began to melt, so while the first half of the finished batch looked great, the second half was not particularly appetizing-looking!

If I had been thinking, I would have used either a double boiler or a heating pad to keep the chocolate all melty, and kept the coated cherries in the freezer or at least on cold packs to keep them frozen for easy dipping. But at least they tasted great!  They were even better the second day.

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