Friday, July 24, 2015

Spiked Cherry Cheesecake Bonbons with Dark Morello Cherries and Toasted Pecan Coating

You all know how much my son loves desserts with cherries!  Naturally, I was inspired when I saw Dan at Mantitlement's recipe for Moonshine Cherry Cheesecake Bites.  Using his recipe as a guide, I did my twist on it using amaretto liqueur, firming and making the batter more workable with cake mix (which also added more texture and even more flavor) and completing with a coating of crushed toasted pecans.  I imported the idea of the cake mix from my recipe for Marbled Candy Barks with Cake Batter.  I also substituted the maraschino cherries with dark morello cherries.

We enjoyed these divine coated spiked cherries as a prelude to other desserts at a recent "After-The-Fact" family birthday party, and they were gobbled up in no time!   The party was to celebrate several birthdays for which we'd all been unable to gather at the same time.

I can't give Mantitlement enough accolades!  Dan, in collaboration with his wife Christie, offers such unique recipes with fabulous photos!  Their creations include delicious family-friendly recipes, along with marvelous appetizers and beverages.  Do check them'll love the site!

By the way, accidents sometimes do actually become wonderful creations.  I forgot not to completely cover the cherries with the batter, so I added an uncoated spiked cherry on top of each coated spiked cherry; and Ta-Dah...

                                               A Wow Presentation...
                                      Offering A Little Bit Of Heaven!

As adapted from Mantitlement's Moonshine Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Approx. 55 bonbons

  • 24 oz. jar dark morello (pitted sour cherries) in syrup
  • 1/4 c. amaretto liqueur
  • 12 oz. (1 1/2 pkgs.) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. + 2 TB yellow cake mix (I used cake mix w/pudding), sifted and divided*
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1 TB spiked cherry juice
  • 1 3/4 c. finely chopped, toasted pecans (use your food processor)
  1. Drain the cherries (reserving the juice) and place in a large wide-mouth jar.
  2. Add the amaretto liqueur and 1/4 c. of the reserved cherry juice, then seal the jar.  (You can save for another purpose, or discard, the leftover unspiked cherry juice.)  Shake gently, refrigerate and let the cherries steep in the liqueur at least 48 hours, ideally a week...occasionally gently shake the jar.  (They will keep in the refrigerator a couple of months.)
  3. Drain the cherries on paper towels and reserve the spiked juice.
  4. Line a couple of jelly roll pans (or sheet cake pans) with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. For the cheesecake mixture:  Beat the cream cheese with 2 TB* of the cake mix, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts and 1TB of the reserved spiked cherry juice.  Refrigerate this mixture at least 1/2 hr. to make more workable.
  6. Place the remaining 1/2 c. cake mix* into a small bowl.  With a toothpick, roll one cherry at a time in the cake mix and shake off excess.
  7. To coat each cherry:  Scoop up a spoonful of the cheesecake mixture with a plastic spoon...lay a cake mix-coated cherry (toothpick removed) on this.  Using your other hand, take another plastic spoonful of the cheesecake mixture and place on top of the cherry in the first spoonful of mixture, then coat the cherry well with the mixture.  (Don't worry about the cherries being perfectly shaped with the mixture, because you will be able to shape them after rolling in the chopped pecans.)  Place the cheesecake-coated cherry onto the parchment-lined pan.
  8. Repeat this method of coating for each cherry.  When you have a full pan, place in the refrigerator at least 1/2 hr. to set.
  9. Place the pecan crumbs in a shallow pan or dish.  Remove the coated cherries from the refrigerator; and with a plastic spoon (working one at a time), drop into the pecan crumbs.  Using your fingers, lightly roll each cheesecake-coated cherry in the pecan crumbs.  Place in one layer (separating additional layers by wax or parchment paper if necessary) in a covered plastic container and store in the refrigerator (up to 4 or 5 days) until ready to use.
  10. Add toothpicks to each bonbon right before you serve.  For effect, add an uncoated-spiked cherry on top of each coated cherry, if you like.  
Enjoy the grand entrance these delectable spiked cherry cheesecake bonbons will make and the raves they'll receive at your next party or get-together!

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