Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vegan chocolate covered cherries (two ways)

Here's the second Valentine's post!  These chocolate covered cherries can be made two ways: with a vegan cream cheese base and with a nut butter base.  I've included both because I know not everyone has a local source for commercial vegan cream cheese.   The general opinion among those who tasted both was that the cream cheese version was closer to the original, although both tasted good.

Vegan chocolate covered cherries (two ways)

Makes 12-15 chocolate covered cherries

Cream cheese version:
3-4 Tbsp vegan cream cheese
3-4 Tbsp powdered sugar or equivalent sweetener
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract (imitation is fine)
1/2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
A dash of cinnamon or other flavors if you like

1 can low-sugar cherry pie filling (you will not use the whole thing)
About 1 cup chocolate or carob chips
1 tsp oil or shortening (optional)

Stir together first five ingredients (cream cheese through syrup); set aside. Open the can of pie filling and set it nearby. Melt chocolate chips using microwave or double boiler according to your preference, and add oil or shortenening if using. Line a (12 muffin) mini muffin pan with paper liners.
Empty chocolate shells waiting to be filled

Using your finger or a spoon, smooth a layer of melted chocolate along the insides of the paper liners. The the layer should not be very thick but it should be even with no holes. You should have between a third and half of the chocolate left over at the end.

By the time you're done, the first ones should be hardened and you can start filling. Place 1/2 - 1 tsp cream cheese filling in each chocolate cup. Scoop a cherry out of the pie filling along with some the surrounding cherry liquid and place one in each chocolate cup on top of the cream cheese filling.

Shells with cream filling
Shells with cream filling and cherry layer

When you're done filling all the cups evaluate your remaining melted chocolate and decide if it needs re-heated. Do so if necessary.

Now comes the tricky part. Now you cover the tops with the remaining melted chocolate. It's not easy because the filling is so liquid; you'll see what I mean when you try it. You can either just try and spread it on or you can pipe it on. I piped it on this time using a long narrow ribbon/petal tip. If you choose to pipe you have to work fast with no breaks--chocolate hardens a lot faster than frosting and you'll have a mess if it hardens in the bag. Cover all the tops with no holes, making swirly patterns if you want.

If you like you can decorate the tops with sprinkles or chocolate shavings while the chocolate is still wet. Move fast--it dries quickly.
Chill until completely solid.

Enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge.

For those who can't get a hold of or prefer not to use vegan cream cheese:

Vegan chocolate covered cherries (with nut butter instead of vegan cream cheese)

Nut butter version:
3-4 tbsp nut butter (I used hazelnut)
3-4 Tbsp powdered sugar or equivalent sweetener
1-3 tsbp soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp maple extract or mapelline
1/2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
A dash of cinnamon or other flavors if you like

1 can low-sugar cherry pie filling (you will not use the whoe thing)
About 1 cup chocolate or carob chips
1 tsp oil or shortening (optional)

Heat the nut butter in the microwave so that it incorporates better. Mix in other filling ingredients (sweetener through syrup), adding as much soy milk as is necessary for a smooth spreadable consistency.

Follow the directions for the cream cheese version, using the nut butter filling exactly the same way as the cream cheese filling.


Jam: In place of the cherry pie filling, you could add a layer of jam or similar preserves.  Raspberry would be particularly nice. You could also just stir the jam into the filling instead of layering for a pink-tinted cream filling.

Coconut: You could mix shredded coconut into the cream filling.

Sugar Free/Low Sugar: These candies were actually designed to work well sugar-free. Stevia or splenda will work fine in the cream cheese or nut butter filling.  To make sure the whole candy is as low in sugar as possible, you can use a low sugar chocolate and be sure to use sugar free pie filling (or jam like the variation above). Either omit maple syrup or use sugar free pancake syrup.

Cherryless: To make cream fillied chocolates without the cherries, omit pie filling and double or triple the cream cheese filling or nut butter filling. Various extracts, such as peppermint or fruit, could be added. This recipe makes a fairly liquid cream--you could stiffen it up with more powdered sugar if you like, or reduce the soymilk in the nut butter version.

Fully assembled and ready to chill

1 comment:

  1. I haven't found a creamy-filling chocolate covered cherry for sale in stores -- so now I can make some! Sounds delish.