A Bit of Holiday Cheer! Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups

I really should give up goodies, but I’m no quitter. Actually, I’ve found that saying “yes” to a small, indulgent treat every day satisfies my sweet tooth and keeps my cravings from getting out of control. Instead of making large, gut-busting desserts like cakes and pies that need to be portioned down into reasonable serving sizes, whipping up mouthwatering miniature desserts makes it easier to exercise a reasonable amount of willpower.  Otherwise, if left alone to divvy up a chocolate cheesecake or an apple pie, my slice would weigh in at a couple of pounds!

Keeping this idea of scaled-down sweet treats in mind, I created a recipe for Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups to serve at an upcoming holiday party. Friends and family will be coming over for a Christmas Eve gathering and the menu is an unwavering tradition -- beef tenderloin, Yorkshire pudding, sautéed mushrooms, asparagus and broiled tomatoes. The only dish that changes from year to year is the dessert and this year I’m keeping a tiny but tasty theme with clever chocolate cups filled with Litehouse Food’s  Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Dip and topped with a brandy-soaked cherry.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups Ingredients Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups Ingredients

 

My kids and I have long loved to dip strawberries, grapes and cantaloupe chunks into a yummy Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Dip; we once even make a delicious fruit and granola parfait. This guilt-free fruit dip from Litehouse Foods is fortified with calcium, packs vitamins D & E and is lower in fat and calories than traditional cream cheese-based fruit dips. While polishing off a dunked cherry, it dawned on me that this rich, creamy goodness was very similar to the cordial candies my grandmother used to have at her home during the holidays – only a chocolate coating was missing!

Preparing Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups Using Vanilla Yogurt Dip Preparing Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups Using Vanilla Yogurt Dip

 

Instead of enrobing the cherries in chocolate, I decided it would be much easier and more fun to make little chocolate cups with plastic molds found at the local craft store. You can also use a variety of silicone molds created specifically for mini muffins, brownie bites, cake balls or other mini-desserts. The chocolate cup-making process is actually quite easy and uses dark chocolate chips that have been microwaved with a bit of vegetable oil. The only issue you will want to keep an eye on is “seizing.”  Seizing is when the chocolate sugars become overheated or when even the tiniest bit of water gets into the melting chocolate. But if you melt your chocolate chips in 20 – 30 second increments and double check that your bowl and spatula are dry as a bone, there shouldn’t be any issues – just stay calm and chocolate on!

Litehouse Cherry Yogurt Dip Cordial Litehouse Cherry Yogurt Dip Cordial

 

If you prefer not to soak your cherries in brandy, the recipe is still divine. When serving to both children and adults, consider topping the adults cordial cups with brandy-soaked cherries and the kids’ cups with bright red maraschino cherries. The color difference will make it obvious which treat is tipsy and which treat is tame!  Happy holidays and cheers to chocolate!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups

Serves 30 cups | Finish in 35 minutes
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Visions of Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cups will dance ‘round in your head. Nestled inside a mini chocolate cup, Litehouse Food’s Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Dip makes a creamy, dreamy pillow for a grown-up, brandy-soaked cherry – a special little something sweet for the holidays!

Ingredients

30 thawed from frozen pitted dark cherries (or stemless maraschino cherries for kids),
¼ cup brandy,
1 12-ounce package dark chocolate chips (divided),
6 tsp. vegetable oil,
1 tub Litehouse Food’s Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Dip,
Special equipment: chocolate cup molds,

Directions

1. Add cherries to small bowl and drizzle with brandy. Let soak while preparing the chocolate as described in next step.

2. To melt chocolate, work with three ounces at a time to maintain quality. Place 3 ounces of chocolate chips and 1 ½ teaspoons of the vegetable oil in microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds and stir. Return to microwave for 20 second increments, stirring between, until melted and creamy.

3. Fill cup molds approximately 1/3 full with melted chocolate. Using the back of a spoon, spread chocolate up to the sides to the tops of molds. Set in refrigerator for 10 minutes until set; invert and pop out of molds. Continue melting chocolate with oil and preparing molds until all cups are completed.

4. Drain brandy off cherries. Fill each prepared cup to the top with the yogurt fruit dip. Place a brandy-soaked cherry (or maraschino cherry) in the center of each. May be stored covered in the refrigerator for several days.


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