Chocolate Cherries

Maraschino cherries are coated in milk chocolate. For gifts, surprise 20 friends with these decadent treats. Place five chocolate cherries in a cellophane bag and tie with a gold bow. Peter's Chocolate, the gold foil cups and cellophane bags are available through Sweet Celebrations Inc.

    1 (2 ½-pound) bar Nestle® Peter's Milk Chocolate
    5 (8-ounce) jars maraschino cherries
    1 cup water
    ⅓ cup maraschino cherry syrup from drained cherries
    ⅓ cup light corn syrup
    ¼ cup butter
    4 cups granulated sugar
    ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    ⅛ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon almond extract
    2 ½ to 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    2 (6-ounce) white chocolate baking bars
    20 clear cellophane bags and 2 rolls thin gold ribbon

1.  Break chocolate into smaller pieces using a chocolate chipper      
     available through The Baker’s Catalogue
Ò. Place in a 6-quart
          crockery cooker on low heat.

2.  Drain cherries, reserving ⅓ cup syrup. Make fondant by placing
     water, reserved syrup, corn syrup, butter, sugar, cream of tartar,
     and salt in 3-quart saucepan over low heat.

3.  When sugar has melted, cook fondant on medium heat until it
     reaches 240°. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.         
     Place on top of ice packs. This will speed up the cooling.

4.  Stir in almond extract. Stir fondant occasionally and lift the    
     spoon high above dish to cool it more quickly. Remove cold  
     packs and start adding the confectioners' sugar as soon as the
     fondant starts taking on a creamy texture and is no longer          
     transparent. When you can no longer stir, transfer to a
     breadboard. Knead in confectioners' sugar to make a dough.

5.  Powder hands with cornstarch and keep a supply handy. Make a
     little ball the same size as the cherry. If the fondant starts to harden
     you can cover it and reheat a handful at a time in the microwave
     for less than a minute. Be careful as will be very hot!

6. To cover cherry, flatten the ball and set cherry on fondant.      
    Wrap around and roll the whole cherry in your hand, leaving       
    the stem exposed. Place on 2 waxed paper lined baking        
    sheets. Freeze for 15 minutes.

7.  When chocolate is melted, hold each cherry by stem and    
     move quickly through chocolate. Hold a spoon one inch below
     cherry to catch any drips; drop gently into foil cup. Place 1 section
     of white chocolate in plastic bag, heat at half powder in microwave
     just until melted. Drizzle Squiggly Christmas trees or personalized
     symbol on chocolates.

     Hint: If you like stamping, buy a cute cherry stamp; color
     and cut out, then attach to a white round key tag and tie bag.

     Makes 100 chocolate cherries