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Did you know, that the minute people start trying to eat less sugar and fried foods to get rid of those millions of excess pounds from their bodies, their minds start obsessing about them overtime? Yuuuuup. That happens. It’s happening to me big time. The only recipes coming to mind these days are desserts and my evening walks are spent salivating over the lovely dinner aromas of ghee parathas and what not wafting from other peoples houses. Trauma.
In the last two months, all I’ve dreamed about was chocolate, and cherries, and marzipan and more chocolate, and cake, and hazelnut pastries, and………. All while trying to lose the last five extra kilos that seem to love me so much that my brain refuses to starve them and my body is cradling them like new born babies.
And so I gave in to my obsessive thoughts about these cherry marzipan chocolates and just went ahead and did it. They were just as I had fantasized. The bitterness of the chocolate combined with the sweetness of the cherry almond marzipan and the tang of the tart dried cherry in the middle made it a nicely balanced brain pleaser and I couldn’t have been more chuffed at the result. I used Montmorency Tart Cherries that I bought from Costco on my trip to the U.S. (which I hoard like a miser), but if you don’t have this, you can use any pitted cherry, even from a can. You can even avoid the cherry in the middle if you really don’t have them.
I used less sugar for the almonds because the glace cherries were sweet too, and I kept the marzipan eggless, using water and lemon juice as the binder instead of egg whites. They were all gone in minutes. My family are all sugar junkies. It’s crazy I tell you. We have no control, though I’m really trying to keep the portions down and limit my kids to just two or three days a week at home. How much they’re going at the candy in school is another matter and totally out of my control. Nevertheless, these will be made again soon and a much bigger batch.
One word of caution, keep the chocolate coating relatively thin. I had made some in a square chocolate mould where the chocolate portion became too much and the filling too little and it knocked the balance totally out of whack thanks to the super bitter chocolate. Those didn’t taste so good and I had three people tell me that they were not as good as the round ones. Luckily I had made only six of the squares. The others were fabulous.
Also, working with chocolate, especially 70 percent dark chocolate in hot 95 percent humidity weather is a killer! The chocolates took ages to set and had major condensation around within a minute of their exit from the fridge. I managed to get melted chocolate all over my arms and face and tablecloth and clothes ugh.. But it was all so worth it. Once I had the method figured out (the balls version), it was a breeze. All those who love marzipan and dark chocolate, this is definitely a must try. I used Barry Callebaut dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa) for the chocolate.
150 gms dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
50 gms almond flour or blanched almond meal
30 gms icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp water + 1 tsp lemon juice mixed
50 gms glace cherries diced finely
15 dried tart cherries
Get Started (pictorial steps at the end of post)
- Add the almond flour and the sugar to a food processor or a mixie grinder and pulse five to six times. Then add the water and lemon juice mixture to bind the almonds and sugar and whizz till it all comes together in a dough. This mixture is also called marzipan.
- Add the cherries to the dough and whizz till well mixed. Make about 15 balls with the almond and cherry dough by rolling them between your palms, flatten them out a bit and place a dried tart cherry or any type of pitted cherry in the middle and roll into a ball again.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. If using a microwave, heat it for 1.5 minutes first and see what the consistency is like. If not molten enough, you may need to add it for about 10 or 20 seconds more. Make sure not to dry up the chocolate by heating it for too long in the microwave.
- Drop an almond cherry ball into the melted chocolate, coat it all over and place it in on a tray lined with butter paper or parchment paper. Repeat with the rest individually. Do not put a whole lot in at the same time, else you’ll end up with a mess and misshapen bonbons.
- Pour the left over chocolate over the bonbons with a spoon.
- Chill the bonbons in the refrigerator for at least an hour till set.
Important notes: Make sure the chocolate is melted to a nice molten consistency. It should remain fluid till you finish coating the entire lot. Using a double boiler will be better as you have more control over the consistency here than in a microwave, though those confident enough to use the microwave to melt the chocolate can go right ahead. I did.