Cherries are a seasonal fruit and they’re used in many kinds of dishes, used as aroma for cosmetics, room sprays, car scents and so on. We love the smell of cherry. It’s one of those scents that the world immediately knows when they get a whiff of it.
Cherries, like strawberries, have a signature and particular aroma that draws us to them but its taste isn’t actually what we expect it to be. Although cherries could get sweeter than strawberries, it still has that tartness to it. It’s not the full and vanilla-esque flavor that we typically have when having cherry candy. It’s the real deal, tart but sweet flavor that melts in our mouths.
Here, we explore the classic cherry with another of our favorite, chocolate.
Using real cherries vs. cherry vinegar
Since cherry has that tartness to it, people have been able to produce vinegar out of it and it is delicious. Vinegar is not only great to be eaten alone but they’re mostly added to food like salad dressings, marinades and sauces.
Since we’re making a chocolate cherry sauce, we want to be able to utilize real cherries if they’re available. There’s nothing better than the real thing, right? However, this doesn’t mean that cherry vinegar should be forgotten. If you don’t have fresh cherries to make chocolate cherry sauce with, you can easily make this chocolate sauce with cherry vinegar as you would with chocolate balsamic sauce.
The sauce will be a little bit more tart but equally delicious.
Tart or sweet cherries
We’re making a chocolate cherry sauce that would go with vanilla cake, butter cake, plain cheesecakes and toppings for ice cream sundaes. If you’re like us who wants to target the dessert menu, using sweet cherries would be good to work with. You won’t have to add extra sugar because the sweet cherries are already sweet.
However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot use tart cherries if that is what’s available. You may use tart cherries for making chocolate cherry sauce. You’ll need to add a little bit more sugar for balance but perhaps not so much if you don’t want it to be too sweet and if you want the tartness to shine.
Regardless, both are fine for making chocolate cherry sauce. It depends on your preference.
- Cherries. We’re using fresh cherries for this recipe. If you don’t have fresh cherries, you may use canned cherries as well.
- Chocolate Chips. We don’t want the chocolate too sweet for this recipe so we’re using semisweet chocolate chips. The smaller the chips, the better.
- Cocoa Powder. We don’t want added sugar through cocoa powder in this recipe. Use unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Pepper / Grains of Paradise. The hint of spice elevates the flavor of cherries. Add ¼ tsp of black pepper or grains of paradise.
- Sugar. Since we’re already using sweet cherries, we won’t be adding too much sugar. The small amount of added sugar is used in the recipe to lightly enhance the natural sweetness of the cherries.
How to make chocolate cherry sauce
Since we’re using fresh cherries for this recipe, first we have to precook the cherries.
In a deep sauce pot with a lid, cover the cherries with water just to slightly cover the bottom layer of the cherries. Simmer the cherries under low heat for 2 minutes then turn off the heat. Set saucepot aside with the lid on to let the cherries sit in the heat for another 2 minutes. Remove the cherries from the saucepot without the juices and set them aside to cool. When the cherries are cool, tear the cherries into halves to remove the pits. Chop the cherry meat into small pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, reduce the cherry liquid over medium heat for 5 minutes until you have roughly 3 tablespoons left of the liquid. Remove from heat. While it’s hot, add the chocolate chips and slowly add the cocoa powder while stirring the chocolate and cherry liquid. Stir in the black pepper or grains of paradise. Combine well. Add the chopped cherries.
Place the saucepot back under low heat and add the extra juices of the cherries from cooling. Lightly simmer and remove from heat.
Allow to cool, chill, then serve cold.
What goes well with chocolate cherry sauce?
The chocolate cherry sauce goes well with a lot of milder flavored desserts. It’s often topped on vanilla ice cream or ice cream flavors that don’t have a striking taste. It is also drizzled on top of plain cheesecakes, vanilla cakes, butter cakes, pound cakes, etc.
Both cherries and chocolates have distinct flavors that mesh well together so you should add this sauce into dishes that we usually call a blank canvas. Flavoring these subtle dishes with chocolate cherry sauce brings life to the dish not only in flavor but in presentation as well.
Fruity Chocolate Cherry Sauce
- 1 lb Fresh Sweet Cherries
- ½ cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 2 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper or Grains of Paradise
- ½ tsp Sugar
In a deep sauce pot with a lid, cover the cherries with water just to slightly cover the bottom layer of the cherries. Simmer the cherries under low heat for 2 minutes then turn off the heat. Set saucepot aside with the lid on to let the cherries sit in the heat for another 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon or a small strainer, scoop the cherries out and set them aside to cool.
When the cherries are cool, tear them to remove the pits and chop the cherry meat into small bits. Set aside.
Reduce the remaining cherry juices under medium heat for 4-5 minutes until it reaches 3 TBSP. Remove from heat.
Add the chocolate chips to the hot cherry syrup and stir to melt. Gradually add the cocoa powder and the black pepper or grains of paradise. Stir well to combine.
Place the saucepot under low heat again and add the chopped cherry. Allow to simmer for 1 minute under low heat. Remove from heat then cool.