One of the things I love about summer is fresh produce. The fruit (and vegetables) you get at the stores the rest of the year just kind of pail in comparison to that farm fresh produce that becomes available this time of year. Even better if some of that fruit just happens to be growing in your parents’ backyard, where you just happen to be staying for the next 5 weeks. Although it won’t all be in season while I’m here, my parents’ yard boasts an Italian plum tree, two cherry trees, an apricot tree, a peach tree, and a pear tree that grows 5 different varieties of pears. Yes, that is the sound of me wishing I could live here all summer/fall just to take advantage of all that fresh fruit. Luckily, the cherries have just come into season, and although they seem to be a giant bird magnet (as cherry trees so often our) there’s a giant bumper crop this year and plenty to go around.
So I hope you like cherries, because there will probably be a string of cherry related goodies appearing soon, starting with chocolate cherry fudge!
Chocolate Cherry Fudge
Yields 64 1″x1″ pieces of fudge
What you’ll need:
1 1/4 cup fresh, chopped cherries
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Start by lining an 8×8 inch pan with plastic wrap. In a large pan, combine your cherries with the corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. This takes somewhere around 5-7 minutes of boiling to happen. Once you’ve boiled the majority of the liquid out, remove your pan from the heat and add your chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, then stir in the evaporated milk. Be prepared for a good arm work out! Seriously, with all of the baking I’ve been doing, I’m going to have one beefy right arm (and one teeny tiny left arm)! Once the chocolate and evaporated milk are combined, stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, stirring until the fudge is glossy and smooth(ish). I say smoothish because you’re going to have chunks of cherries in there, but the chocolate should be smooth.
Spread the fudge (evenly) into your 8×8 inch pan, and cover the top with another layer of plastic wrap. Chill until firm (about an hour) before cutting. Be sure to keep your fudge refrigerated (cut or uncut) until you’re ready to serve it.
Recipe adapted from Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.’s Cranberry Fudge